Both prospects had a good showing with the Cardinals and now that Kyle Lohse is on the free agent market, one of them is expected to take his spot in the rotation. Both could have good fantasy value next year and are worthy of a late round flier because of their upside.
The case for Shelby Miller
Miller came into the season as St. Louis’ number one prospect and for good reason. He was select 19th overall in the 2009 major league baseball draft out of Brownwood High School. There was no question he had the kind of upside you look for in the first round, a potential ace for St. Louis.
Lets take you through his minor league numbers, not including 2009 because he only pitched in two games that season.
- 2010 (A): 7-5, 104 innings pitched, 140 K, 3.62 ERA, 1.246 WHIP.
- 2011 (A+, AA): 11-6, 139.2 IP, 170 K, 2.77 ERA, 1.181 WHIP.
- 2012 (AAA): 11-10, 136.2 IP, 160 K, 4.74 ERA, 1.376 WHIP.
As you can see, Miller handled the low levels of the minor leagues just fine and that’s expected with a top prospect. Once he arrived at Triple-A, he struggled. That’s concerning to me for such a highly regarded arm, who has now seen Oscar Taveras pass him as the Cardinals top prospect.
He did pitch in the Pacific Coast League, which is one of the more hitter friendly leagues. Miller’s command needs to improve if he wants to be in the Cardinals rotation.
When Miller came up to the majors, he was much better so you have to consider that as well. In his only start of the season, Miller pitched six innings, allowing just one hit to the Cincinnati Reds in St. Louis.
The case for Trevor Rosenthal
Rosenthal was not a known commodity by many to start the season, but that would change when he came up in July and was an important part of the Cardinals bullpen. Like Miller, he was selected in the 2009 draft, but not until the 21st round. When it comes to prospects, they make their own future and Rosenthal looks like he could be a big part of the Cardinals. He was originally a shortstop, but converted to a pitcher and could throw in the mid 90’s during his years in high school.
Listed below are Rosenthal’s minor league numbers.
- 2009 (Rk): 4-1, 24 IP, 26 K, 4.88 ERA, 1.458 WHIP.
- 2010 (Rk): 3-0, 32 IP, 30 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.938 WHIP.
- 2011 (A): 7-7, 120 IP, 133 K, 4.11 ERA, 1.247 WHIP.
- 2012 (AA, AAA): 8-6, 109 IP, 104 K, 2.97 ERA, 1.101 WHIP.
While Rosenthal’s numbers are not as impressive as Miller’s, in 2011 he did help lead the Quad City River Bandits to a championship in the Midwest League.
Cardinals general Manager John Mozeliak on Rosenthal: "We realized we had a talent early on, when we sent him to Johnson City. Then when he went to Quad Cities, we knew exactly what we had because he really took off there."
Rosenthal was deemed ready for the major leagues in 2010 and really impressed the Cardinals organization with his velocity and assortment of quality pitches. He did this once again in 2011 spring training, but St. Louis decided it was best to let him continue to work in the minor leagues.
Rosenthal’s numbers with St. Louis during the regular season (19 games): 0-2, 22.2 IP, 25 K, 2.78 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
During the Cardinals playoff run, Rosenthal struck out 15 opposing batters in just 8.2 innings pitched.
During the off-season, Rosenthal is going to stay in St. Louis and train with Cardinals veteran Chris Carpenter.
Both are very intriguing talents, but purely for next year I’m going to give the edge to Rosenthal. He’s just more polished at this point in his career than Miller. Long term, these two guys could be fixtures at the top of the Cardinals rotation.
Mac can be found on the forums as dmvincent and you can also follow him on Twitter @MacVincent1