St. Louis Cardinals: Battle for the 2013 Starting Rotation

Almost every team in the MLB is going into 2013 unsure about whom their five starting pitchers will be. The Cardinals are among those teams, but their situation is rather unique. Rather than having six or seven players competing for the rotation, the Cardinals may have up to ten guys fighting for the five coveted spots.

The only true locks for the rotation are Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Jake Westbrook so long as they are healthy. Jaime Garcia is most likely part of the rotation as well, although the combination of his delicate psyche and fragile shoulder has a slim chance of keeping him out of the rotation. Therefore, the most likely situation will be that the remaining six guys will be competing for one spot.

Of the six guys who may have a shot at the rotation, there are some familiar faces and some new names as well. Who has the best shot at making it? How about we take a look at all the competitors and try to determine who will be manning the mound in 2013.

Lance LynnLance Lynn

Lynn is the most familiar face and probably the most obvious choice by an outsider. Lynn posted a superb 18-7 record last year, but that also carried a 3.78 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Those numbers are somewhat skewed as well because he had an insanely good first half, but a relatively bad second half that lead to a demotion to the bullpen for a few weeks.

Lynn could earn a rotation spot on most teams with relative ease. However, the Cardinals have a several terrific prospects below him. He is the favorite heading into the spring, but he will have to earn his spot.

Odds of Making Rotation: 3/1

Shelby Miller

Miller went into the 2012 season as one of the best prospects in baseball. His fans were quickly disappointed as he got off to a terrible start in AAA. He posted a mediocre 11-10 record with a sub-par 4.74 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

Miller rebounded late and was called up to the big leagues in September. He looked impressive, posting a 1-0 record 1.32 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in one start and five appearances out of the bullpen. Miller has a good chance of making it to the rotation if he has a good spring.

Odds of Making Rotation: 5/1

Trevor RosenthalTrevor Rosenthal

The Cardinals most impressive young pitcher last year was Rosenthal. After being called up from AA in July, Rosenthal responded by wowing the organization. He posted a 2.78 ERA and 0.93 WHIP working out of the bullpen.

Rosenthal had always been a starter coming into 2012, but he was extremely effective in the long-relief role for the Cardinals. That could possibly hinder him from getting a starting job. If the Cardinals like him out of the bullpen over other options, he may have to stay there for a bit.

Odds of Making Rotation: 5/1

Joe Kelly

When Kelly was called up and promoted into the rotation, I thought he was very mediocre. His 5-7 record, 3.53 ERA, and 1.38 WHIP would help to prove my point. However, he seemed to be a completely different pitcher out of the bullpen.

Kelly’s stuff was electric once he was taken out of the rotation. He was one of the Cardinal’s most reliable arms down the stretch. Due to his excellence out of the bullpen, that may hurt his chance of being a starter.

Odds of Making Rotation: 8/1

Carlos Martinez

Martinez is another young stud in the Cardinals farm system. He possesses a lightning-like fastball to complement a changeup that could make Babe Ruth look silly.  Between High-A and AA in 2012, he posted a 6-5 record to go along with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.

The thing that is working against Martinez is his rawness. Martinez still has a lot to learn, and with the Cardinals being perennial contenders, he probably will not make the 2013 rotation. However, Martinez should be a big part of the Cardinals rotation down the road.

Odds of Making Rotation: 25/1

John Gast

Gast actually has a great chance of making the big league team. However, it would probably be as a left-handed reliever. Gast has primarily been a starter throughout his minor league career, despite being drafted as a reliever.

Between AA and AAA in 2012, Gast posted a 13-7 record with a 4.09 ERA and 1.35 ERA. Gast is somewhat similar to Jake Westbrook in his ground ball mentality. Gast has looked superb at times, but mediocre at others. He may make it to the big leagues, but it would be shocking to see him in the rotation.

Odds of Making Rotation: 100/1

To wrap things up, it is Lynn’s job to lose. If Miller or Rosenthal put on a show in spring training, then we will truly have a battle for the last spot. Martinez would need to put up an amazing spring and get some help from others, while Gast would need insane numbers and for the others to falter terribly to take the last spot.

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