Reporting Kevin Wheeler
After yesterday’s win against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Yadier Molina told reporters that Michael Wacha could pitch in the Majors “right now.” That’s pretty high praise for a kid in his first Spring Training but it is also consistent with what everyone here has seen with their own eyes.
Wacha is really good.
Nothing is certain in sports, we all know that, but Wacha has both the physical talent and the mindset to be a Major Leaguer for a very long time. And a good one at that, perhaps a top of the rotation starter.
But that’s likely to be a little further down the road. Wacha only has 21 innings of professional baseball under his belt and the Cardinals appear to be all set when it comes to candidates for the rotation and/or bullpen. Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal provide a buffer that would likely earn Wacha some time in the minors to build up innings and gain experience.
Make no mistake about it, though. Wacha could get Major League hitters out this season. If injuries or unexpected poor performances were to pop up I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have great success, particularly if he were to come out of the bullpen. His fastball-change up combination is Major League ready.
That said, most Major League starters have more than two pitches they can rely on. Wacha told me earlier in camp that he’s still trying to find the feel for his curve ball. When he gets that there will be nothing keep him from being a danger to batting averages at the Major League level.
As for Matt Adams, well, he just keeps on crushing the ball.
He homered to deep CF two days ago, hit two ropes to RF for singles yesterday and that was after sitting out a couple days because of a sore knee. There is no doubting his power and Adams’ has shown the ability to hit for average in the minors the last couple of years as well.
All he needs is an opportunity at the big league level. Unfortunately for him, that opportunity doesn’t exist with the Cardinals right now.
Adams is only suited for first base and Allen Craig is an established middle of the order hitter. Now, Craig can play the corner outfield spots as well so if something were to happen to Matt Holliday or Carlos Beltran then Adams might have a chance to contribute regularly.
That is if Oscar Taveras doesn’t get the call first.
At this point it seems near certain that Adams will begin the season at Triple-A Memphis but he’s the kind of player who could really provide some help on the bench late in the season, perhaps after logging 450-500 at-bats in the minors, or he could be a valuable trade commodity come July.
Tonight during Sports Open Line you’ll hear some thoughts from Mike Matheny about Wacha and Taveras…pretty good stuff.
The Cardinals held a B-game this morning on the backfields here in Jupiter. Here are few brief notes:
* Rafael Furcal served as the DH in the B-game, batting left handed in a game situation for the first time this Spring. He faced Marlins’ top prospect Jose Fernandez the first time around and grounded into a double-play.
* 2012 draft picks Stephen Piscotty (RF), Patrick Wisdom (3B) and James Ramsey (CF) all played. Farm Director John Vuch told me earlier this week that Piscotty, drafted as a 3B last year, has been moved to the outfield and will play RF this season.
* Seth Maness, who was impressive in a Grapefruit League game appearance over the weekend, started the B-game and looked good. Fastball isn’t overpowering but it’s around 90 MPH and he locates it, plus he changes speeds well. Changing speeds and throwing strikes works.
The Cardinals and the Marlins get things going at 12:05 today and we have all the action for you right here on KMOX. Jake Westbrook makes the start today with Trevor Rosenthal to follow. I’ll have updates on Twitter (@KMOXWheeler) when appropriate throughout the day.