The St. Louis Cardinals are hoping their postseason is going to last a while. But if they want to look ahead to 2014, they can always put Michael Wacha in the starting rotation.
He’s the real deal.
Wacha is only 21 years old and has been out of college for a year. But he’s been pitching like a seasoned veteran for the Cardinals. He’ll have his ups and downs but he’s definitely been on the ups for now.
The Cardinals will play the fifth game of the best of five series at home Wednesday. Wacha had 7.1 unearned innings under a very pressurized situation. If he can throw this well against a good team like the Pittsburgh Pirates when his team’s season is on the line, he can obviously get the job done under any setting.
If the Cardinals advance to the National League championship series, Wacha will obviously be in the rotation. He nearly had a no-hitter in his final regular-season game and flirted with one in Game 4 of the NLDS.
Wacha is definitely drawing favor among Cardinal coaches teammates and fans. He’s had 18 strikeouts and one run in his last 16 innings. The Cardinals always felt fortunate to be able to get Wacha under unusual circumstances in the 2012 First-Year Player draft. They had the 19th selection, which was compensation for Albert Pujols leaving the team in free agency and St Louis picked him out of Texas A&M.
His maturity level for MLB action at age 21 is impressive. He’s the first first-round draft pick since Barry Zito in 2000 to start a playoff game less than two years after being drafted.
If the Cardinals win the series, their fans will hear plenty more of Wacha. If they don’t win it, they’ll hear plenty about him next spring. They would prefer hearing more right now.