The St. Louis Cardinals are making a habit of turning first round picks into productive starters in record pace. Last year Michael Wacha was called up in late May of 2013, less than a year after being drafted 19th overall in 2012. So it only makes sense that the Cardinals would replace him with a 2013 draft pick after he was sent to the DL on Monday.
The St. Louis Cardinals have named Marco Gonzales the probable starter for their game on Wednesday, making him one of the first 2013 picks to make his debut. He will have to break a prior engagement, appearing in the Double A All-Star Game, to make his Major League debut, but I think they might understand.
The performance that earned Gonzales a spot on the Double A All-Star team also helped him earn his turn in the NL’s best rotation. After breezing through the Single A Florida State League Gonzales has made seven starts for the Springfield Redbirds. In those seven starts Gonzales posted a 2.33 ERA with a 4.6/1 K/BB ratio which was helped by his ten strikeout no walk performance on June 13.
The most important factor of this call up is performance, but it is not the only thing.
Wednesday’s start will come at Coors Field in Colorado, the most notorious hitters park in baseball. Although this would normally be an issue for a young starter, Gonzales might be the best equipped to make a start a mile above sea level. Gonzales grew up in Colorado and won Class 5A championship games in all four of his years at Rocky Mountain High School. And it was certainly a factor according to Mike Matheny in a story by Nick Groke of the Denver Post.
“A lot of guys come in here (to Colorado) not knowing what to expect,” Matheny said of pitching at altitude. “But this is something he grew up with.”
And his new rotation-mates will hear no excuses about the altitude as Lance Lynn threw eight scoreless innings as the Rockies were shut out for the first time at home this season.
The Cardinals are making a habit of churning out big league talent, so if I were Luke Weaver, the Florida State pitcher drafted in the first round by the Cardinals in 2014, I would make my travel arrangements to the Gateway City now.