By Jacob Kornhauser on April 19, 2014
It was evident last year that the Cardinals have one of the more talented and young pitching staffs in all of baseball. With most of its rotation entering year two in the majors, 2014 is a major measuring stick year for the St. Louis rotation. Here are the grades for the starting five and bullpen.
Wainwright is off to another fantastic start in 2014. With the exception of one semi-rough outing against the rival Cubs, Waino has been absolutely lights-out as he's already struck out 32 batters just four starts into the regular season. He's the veteran leader of a very young rotation.
Wacha burst onto the scene down the stretch last season and he hasn't skipped a beat early on in 2014. It doesn't look like he's headed for a sophomore slump as he's been equally dominant this season. That's very good news for a Cardinals pitching staff that had a lot of talent, but a lot of question marks going into the season.
Lynn battled through injury in spring training and has been very effective in the early going this season. He hasn't been dominant, but he's been good enough to win every game he's started, and that's worth something. As long as Lynn locates and keeps the ball down in the zone, he should be fine.
Miller was solid down the stretch last season, but has struggled a little bit in the early going of the 2014 season. He hasn't been horrible, but he's been pitching to contact and getting shelled occasionally, and that could be a problem if it persists.
Kelly barely won the fifth starter job out of spring training, but boy are the Cards happy he won the spot. He's been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball while pitching to contact. Both his appearance and pitching style are reminiscent of a young Greg Maddux. Now all he has to do to emulate the first-ballot HOFer is keep this up for two decades.
While closer Trevor Rosenthal has gone 4-for-4 in save opportunities this season, he hasn't always looked pretty doing it. He has struggled, as have Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist, which isn't a good sign for the Cards. However, the bullpen hasn't been costing the team games, so it isn't a huge issue for now.
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