St. Louis Cardinals 2014 Spring Training Profile: Michael Wacha
The defending National League Champions seem to have pitching coming from everywhere lately, and it is downright unfair. The St. Louis Cardinals have two flame throwers in the bullpen with Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez. They also have an abundance of young starting pitchers with Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, and above them all: Michael Wacha.
Wacha was drafted by the Cardinals with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 Draft. In less than a year made his Major League debut on May 30th, 2013. During 15 games and nine starts, Wacha managed over a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio with a 4-1 record. His best regular season start came in his last start against the Washington Nationals where he went 8.2 innings of no-hit ball. A no hitter was an infield single away for the 22-year old right hander. That start penciled Wacha into the postseason rotation for the Red Birds.
In the Division Series, Wacha did not skip a beat. Against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he again flirted with a no-no going 7.1 innings allowing just one hit. In the NLCS, Wacha stole the show from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. He pitched two games allowing zero runs and earned NLCS MVP honors for the Cardinals. In a four start stretch, Wacha ripped off 29.2 innings, allowing one run, nine hits, while striking out 31 batters. Under the guidance of Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, the pitcher with the cool last name was officially put on the map.
If he is able to get through Spring Training without any hiccup, Wacha will be slotted into the No. 2 spot in the Cardinals’ rotation this season behind Wainwright. He will attempt to keep the magic going in his first full season in the big-leagues. The Wainwright-Wacha duo is arguably going to be a top-5 duo in the league this season. With an NLCS MVP, and a victory in the World Series on his resume already, look for the wonderful Wacha to challenge for the NL CY Young Award this season.
Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.