The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Looking through Rosenthal-colored glasses

No first-time player in St. Louis Cardinals major league camp this spring was talked about more than right-handed pitcher Trevor Rosenthal.

It is justified. The 21-year-old has flashed upper-90’s heat, good secondary offerings, a humble attitude, willingness to learn and a feel for the game. The compliments, especially from those already wearing major league uniforms, have a segment of the fan base drooling.

After leaving MLB camp and making one strong minor league outing, Rosenthal was called upon to take the ball for St. Louis against his new Springfield teammates in the Monday exhibition at Hammons Field. The right-hander was again sharp, with four scoreless innings.

In contrast, the relative struggles of the organization’s top prospect Shelby Miller this spring have led some to already start comparing the two. This despite the fact that one pitcher is one full level of play above the other. Over the winter, Miller was The Cardinal Nation’s top prospect for the second year in a row, while Rosenthal clocked in for his debut at number 12.

Miller, 21, has a track record as the organization’s Pitcher of the Year in both 2010 and 2011, reaching Double-A Springfield. Rosenthal, five months older than Miller, spent all of last season at Class-A Quad Cities, where he was the named the top pitcher in the Midwest League playoffs.

This spring, it was the less-experienced Rosenthal who was the last non-roster starting pitcher in big league camp. He remained six days after Miller had been sent out amid concerns that the Texan’s off-season regimen had not pleased the Cardinals.

Rosenthal will open 2012 with Double-A Springfield, while Miller will headline the rotation for Triple-A Memphis. Leaping over A-Advanced Palm Beach entirely is in itself a huge test for Rosenthal, but the organization apparently has the confidence he is ready. Rosenthal currently seems to have the momentum on his side that Miller needs to regain.

Still, Rosenthal remains unproven above Class–A – until he shows his mettle on the mound in games that count this season. Miller’s Triple-A record is also completely blank.

Some Rosenthal supporters are already wondering out loud if the Missouri native will pass Miller and make his major league debut this season. They are apparently making some bold assumptions how Rosenthal will fare in the Texas League, ignoring 40-man roster considerations as well as a number of other solid starting and relief pitchers already proven at the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

The discussions have evolved to wondering aloud about changes in the Cardinals prospect rankings. This week, I had a personal message exchange with a cynical Rosenthal backer – folks I have labeled the “Rosenthralled” (TM). This individual assured me that a 21st-rounder would never be ranked ahead of a first-round draft pick because people like me who rate prospects are inherently biased.

When I suggested he go all the way back to our 2010 rankings, in which we did just that – placing a 22nd-rounder at the head of our top 40 ahead of the heralded first-rounder – the conversation ended abruptly. I haven’t heard from him since.

One key difference is that earlier 22nd rounder, Jaime Garcia, earned his prospect placement by his results on the mound at the upper levels of the system. Rosenthal has his opportunity to take that kind of step forward in 2012.

I like Rosenthal’s potential as well as many, but I wish folks would hold off on the wilder speculation until he demonstrates some success above Class-A. At Memphis in 2012, Miller must prove he is ready for the majors – in all aspects of his preparation.

By their actions on the mound this season, the pitchers will show us whether or not any comparisons between the two will be relevant. In the meantime, “Let’s play ball!”

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43 Responses to “Looking through Rosenthal-colored glasses”

  1. blingboy says:

    Two things that happened in 1990 were Trevor Rosenthal’s birth and Jamie Moyer’s fifth season in the bigs. For those who live in a cave, I wanted to mention that Moyer has made the Rockies rotation. Except for Sachel Paige’s gimmick start at age 59, when he went 3 innings, I believe Moyer will be the oldest ever at 49. Bring on the 80 mph heaters.

    Certainly, he’s the oldest ever to come back from TJ surgery.

    Aside. In 1965 at age 59 Paige went 3 scoreless for KCA giving up a double to Carl Yastrzemski. He struck out Boston’s pitcher, who returned the favor striking out Paige in his only AB.

    Another aside. I got called in to work tonight so I will miss the roll out of the glorious new era. I know I can count on some detail and observations that won’t otherwise be found in print. Go Birds.

  2. crdswmn says:

    People get overly enthused sometimes about prospects based on small sample sizes. Like the recent Matt Adams frenzy for example. Rosenthal sounds very promising indeed, but time will tell.

    I have found some of the recent comments from the organization about Shelby Miller to be very interesting. I can’t speak to his development as a pitcher because I don’t have the expertise. But apparently there are issues with Miller that the organization isn’t happy with. I follow him on Twitter and I have to wonder sometimes about his maturity level. What someone posts on Twitter is not an accurate indicator of their maturity level, but it sure makes you wonder when you see tweets from a potential major leaguer asking fans if they think Kit Kat is the best candy bar. And this is not an outlier, this is a typical type tweet from him. I’m probably being unfair to him, I know.

    Maybe all the Rosenthal hype is a subtle message to Shelby.

    • southeast redbird says:

      Rosenthal is light years ahead of Miller in maturity. I think your observations may be accurate. It had been noted in the clubhouse during spring training as well.

      Shelby belongs in AA Springfield, but he didn’t impress fans, teammates and employees very much with his behavior while there.
      I am assuming that they sent him to Memphis to be with older more mature players and for Pop to keep him grounded. In defense, these guys are very young, and some still need parenting.

      Bryce Harper lived with his folks his first few years in pro ball.

      Shelby has a very long way to go to get to STL.

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      crdswmn – I doubt you would want anyone judging you from your tweets either. You are not exactly calm at times. I doubt in a vacuum you would even come off as a mature – and we aren’t exactly talking about kit kat bars either!

      • crdswmn says:

        I wasn’t “judging” him. I did in fact say it was not an accurate measure and that I didn’t want to be unfair to him. As for my tweets, they are in the eye of the beholder, and as my experience with your few tweets suggest, your beholder very much finds those with whom you don’t agree wanting. Be that as it may, I rest assured in the knowledge that if my tweets offend, my 802 followers will surely let me know in one way or another as I am sure your 46 will as well.

        • CariocaCardinal says:

          “I did in fact say it was not an accurate measure and that I didn’t want to be unfair to him.” yet at the same time you admit you are probably not being fair to him (because despite what you said, your words came off very judgmental)

          Buzz Bissinger has over 20K followers and he’s no less of an donkey’s rear end because of it.

          Your insinuation that the number of followers has anything to do with either the quality of the person’s tweets or the person themselves is ridiculous. With thinking like that, no wonder you dont have a job (or maybe its the fact that potential employers have read your profanity laden tweets).

    • blingboy says:

      I’m lucky I never had money when I was a youngster. In Shelby’s position, they’d have had to do like the Nats did with Elijah Dukes and hire somebody to follow me around.

  3. Kansasbirdman says:

    Let’s Play Ball Indeed!

    Opening Day 2012 :-)

  4. blingboy says:

    Nice one by Mo to pick up AAA OF depth for nothing. This Hunter guy was a top(ish) prospect rather recently. Maybe a change and a dose of the ‘Cardinal way ‘ will help him get it together. Looks like he should have some stick anyway.

  5. Nutlaw says:

    I have to admit that “Rosenthralled” made me chuckle.

    Definitely ready for some real baseball tonight!

  6. Kansasbirdman says:

    Don’t know why the jay steal was called, failed H n R?

    Beltran and furcal looking good nice slap bunt

  7. Kansasbirdman says:

    BB I know you are working but I picked up a pack of Bud and it has special edition MLB cans. Red and blue!

  8. Kansasbirdman says:

    Lohse looked good. Hope he can keep that up (k.o.w.)

  9. Kansasbirdman says:

    Bad call. Berkman had him out

  10. Kansasbirdman says:

    Zep looked good too.

  11. JumboShrimp says:

    Wow, the World Champs are looking great.

  12. Kansasbirdman says:

    Motte, 93 MPH slider.

    Looked great Cards! Keep it up (k.o.w.)
    :-)

  13. crdswmn says:

    Great start by Lohse tonight. Matt Holliday didn’t look so good.

  14. blingboy says:

    I missed the whole thing, of course. Things that stand out in the box score are the 1 and 2 hitters got on, 10 LOB (yikes), lots of BBs for us and none for them.

    A couple things I’d be interested in hearing about are impressions of how Mike managed situations and any comments about the stadium.

    • crdswmn says:

      There was the incident with the bad call by Angel Hernandez on the double play, where Matheny came out to talk him. He was only there a few seconds and then calmly walked away. A lot of people were disappointed that Matheny didn’t get into a argument with the umpire, especially since it was so obviously a terrible call. I mean it wasn’t even close. Perhaps he knew, as does most other people, that arguing would not change the call and he would just be window dressing.

      There were also some questions as to why Matheny brought Lohse back in the 7th and then left him in a situation where TLR most assuredly would have yanked him. Frankly, as I was never a fan of TLR’s constant pitching changes, I found it refreshing to say the least, and no harm was done by leaving him in, as the sole run was caused by a combination of the bad call at first, and Salas giving up the RBI double.

  15. Kansasbirdman says:

    Seems as though there were a lot of steal attempts (with some success). I still dont’ know what happened with Jay attempt steal if it was a failed hit n run or not. DD didn’t swing and was struck out looking for what basically became a double play. If it was a called-for steal, don’t know why bc Lohse was up next, now with two outs and no chance to bunt for anything.

    • Kansasbirdman says:

      That was in response to your request at some dialogue re: Matheny’s first game. Overall, thought things went well and comments after the game seem to bode well (i.e. that the players interviewed expressed happiness that they were able to give him his first managerial win). It would seem to me to be a good sign that they are behind thier manager (it was reported that the players ‘showered’ him with water in the locker room after the win) as believing in him would affect thier desire to execute his decisions.

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        The stadium was spacious re: the outfield. No one came very close to hitting it out, and the roof was open. This could be a good thing because I don’t think anyone wants to see that monstrosity in LF light up.
        Query: there was discussion that they might move the outfield (maybe center) walls closer. Can they do that midseason? Do they have to get permission from Selig?

        • Brian Walton says:

          Pretty sure physical dimension changes are restricted to the off-season.

          • Kansasbirdman says:

            Hah, maybe we won’t see the monstrosity light up this season (least not for a HR?)! 418 ft. to center?

            • blingboy says:

              The original dimensions of Busch II were 414 to center and 386 in the alleys. After a while the fence was moved in.

              How bad could the monstrocity be? worse than choo-choo trains, tee pees and giant slides?

              My favorite was the giant AB logo with the flying eagle. Who remembers that?

              I’ll have to get to Chicago to see what they’ve done to Wrigley with outfield ribbon boards or whatever. And I understand the Harry statue is no longer at the southeast corner on Addison where everybody walks past on the way from the red-line station.

        • friendmouse says:

          K-bird, I heard the “speculation” that the fish may decide to move the fences in next year…emphasis on “may.” Obviously, until many games are played there (I’d say 50 minimum), attempts to characterize how the ball does/doesn’t carry would be premature. No doubt it will be different with the roof/windows open versus closed, what combinations, the summer’s heat and humidity versus April’s, etc.
          And while I don’t know for a certainty, I seriously doubt a club would be able to move walls DURING the season, and yes, I’d say “The Bud-man” would have to approve it.

          My impressions of the stadium…I liked it very much! Because it does seem to “fit” Miami. It would not play well in St. Louis nor New York, but you know the saying about “When in Rome…”. It does give the distinct impression of being very, very spacious. Probably a very fun place to go watch a game, or (BB) the swimmers in the RF swimming pool. :)

          My impressions of the game, etc….Matheny’s “hunch” to start Furcal as the lead-off hitter was a wise move. Furcal REALLY adds so much- tangibly and intangibly- to our team! From the running bunt base hit, to the effortless swing that launched the ball, and bounced off the right-centerfield wall, to his smooth, slick fielding, Raffy impressed. Freese simply picked up where he left off last October. With “deuces wild”, two on, two out, two balls, two strikes, he delivered a clutch hit to plate our first two runs. K-Loh…exceeded almost everyone’s expectations! His location had pin-point accuracy, and Yadi called a fantastic game. It was interesting that they IBB’d Lance twice…we may see a lot of that this year sans Albert. To me, everyone looked great with the exception of Holliday. Matt appeared to be pressing a bit..to do too much instead of just trying to put a good swing on the ball. But give credit to Josh Johnson for that…in spite of the box score, I think Johnson pitched pretty well. Salas did okay, but obviously we don’t need him coming into the game with a runner on and giving up a double, which was clobbered! But in his defense, the first batter he faced, he made a good pitch causing Infante to hit a grounder to De-cal for a taylor-made 4-6-3 double-play to end the inning. But, as c-wmn already pointed out, the 1B ump TOTALLY blew the call! It was reminiscent of the Denkinger blown call. And, of course, what so often seems to happen, the next batter, John Buck, mashes a double to right-center, scoring Infante all the way from 1st, since he was off on contact with 2 outs. So, really, give Salas a pass there.

          I think Matheny did just fine. A couple of shots of him in he dugout where he seemed a bit uptight and maybe not 100% sure of himself, but admirable for his first game. The only “non-move” that I would have done differently would have been not leaving De-cal in to hit in the 8th. Freese was on 3rd, and Yadi on second, with one out. Choate was the reliever, and he’s a southpaw. I though MM might bring in T-Greene to bat at that point. But De-cal hit a sharp grounder to 1B, allowing Freese to score, so it worked out okay.

          All for now! Let’s keep this winning streak going!

          • Kansasbirdman says:

            Good analysis friend. I also agree that Matt seemed to be trying too hard. Hopefully he can relax and find his groove.

          • Nutlaw says:

            I agree that Matheny did well, though I wasn’t thrilled to see him let Lohse bat for himself in the top of the 8th with two outs and Molina on third. I mean, sure, they were up by four runs, but following a single and a strikeout in the next half inning, Lohse got pulled. With a day off on Thursday, there shouldn’t have been any worry of tiring out the pen for two innings.

  16. blingboy says:

    Appreciate all the commentary. Overall, not bad for a first pro game ever managed. The clubhouse vibe seems to be very positive, undoubtedly due to not having the second losingest manager of all time out there. :)

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