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On Cardinals pitchers speed to the majors

One of our regular posters, blingboy, commented that he had read that the two quickest journeys ever from low-A Quad Cities to The Show are Joe Kelly, at just under two years, and Trevor Rosenthal, at 10 months.

I noted that felt a bit artificial to me since the St. Louis Cardinals kept Rosenthal with the Midwest League River Bandits all of last year. During the same period, they promoted a number of other top pitching prospects in-season, including several of Rosenthal’s rotation mates, some more than once.

I am not being critical of Rosenthal or how he was handled in any way. During the prior two years in short-season ball, he had pitched just 24 and 32 innings, respectively. Spending that full year at one level in 2011 seemed to work for him.

Despite all that, it isn’t the primary purpose of this post. Rather than time spent in the minors, I decided to analyze what I believe to be a more interesting and relevant comparison – number of innings thrown in the minor leagues.

All things equal, one would think that college-trained pitchers require less seasoning than junior college ones with high schoolers needing the most development work. In our very small sample, it didn’t turn out that way, however.

To test the idea, I selected notable Cardinals starting pitchers who came up through the system in recent years (at least partially, in the case of Adam Wainwright).

I included Shelby Miller in the table, though he has not yet reached St. Louis. Comparing his career innings pitched in the minors to the others indicates why one should remain patient with his development.

Note that Miller, a high school draftee, and Kelly – with three more years of college experience after having been taken after his junior year – currently have the exact same number of minor league innings. Neither of them has as many minor league innings as any of the four established major leaguers in the table.

As a side point, when the Braves traded Adam Wainwright to the Cardinals prior to the 2004 season, he had already thrown almost 600 innings since having been signed out of high school. Miller has barely half that.

In Rosenthal’s case, had he been moved up to A-Advanced Palm Beach last summer, his Class A innings total would have remained very comparable in this example.

Finally, to the bottom line.

Despite not having pitched at a four-year college and regardless of the levels at which he has pitched, Rosenthal has the fewest minor league innings of them all. Now, that’s an impressive ascent, but also a reminder.

Innings by minors level
Pitcher Drafted Rookie Class-A Double-A Triple-A Total
Adam Wainwright HS 113 328 150 246 837
Danny Haren College Jr 0 246 55 174 475
Lance Lynn College Jr 0 42 126 246 414
Jaime Garcia HS 0 155 138 71 364
Joe Kelly College Jr 0 205 59 72 336
Shelby Miller* HS 0 167 87 82 336
Trevor Rosenthal Juco 56 120 94 0 270
*not reached MLB

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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68 Responses to “On Cardinals pitchers speed to the majors”

  1. blingboy says:

    Well, a few jitters, but he kept his cool. Could be a dominant middle relief guy for sure.

  2. kray66 says:

    What is wrong with Beltran? He didn’t run on the passed ball, and then almost got picked off. Did someone have to wake him up in the clubhouse to pinch hit?

    • kray66 says:

      I guess it doesn’t really matter whether he’s on 2nd or 3rd if no one behind him can get a hit.

    • blingboy says:

      The thing I noticed was that Furcal was signaling for him to go-go-go, but he didn’t. I take that as a negative some how.

      I saw were he’s hitting like .160 the last 12 games. Out sorts for sure, for some reason.

      • kray66 says:

        Yeah, that was the worst part. If it was based on his judgement from second, or a rookie at the plate, I’d cut him some slack. But why he didn’t pay attention to Furcal is odd.

  3. WesPowell says:

    Man that’s a heap of tough losses in a short period of time.

    That’s life in the big city.

  4. blingboy says:

    Mo better huury up and get that pitcher he is reported to be looking for. We can’t take much more of this.

    • WesPowell says:

      Hold on a second there. Can’t take it? Do we need to remove all pills and firearms from your house?

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Wes, much as I like some of your thoughts, you are not going to be removing my guns.

        Anyone who tries to come after my precious guns, best be ready to be fast on their feet to dodge a hailstorm storm of lead. Just want to clarify that, so this is not a surprise.

  5. blingboy says:

    I remember saying last year that when you can’t win with your ace, who your fourth and fifth starters are doesn’t matter. I’m sticking with that.

    Most of the runs allowed these last two games resulted from defensive lack of execution. Spread around among the fielders, no one guy. Further evidence that the group psuchology isn’t right. The vibe, the dynamic, whatever you call it, its not right.

  6. crdswmn says:

    Waino didn’t deserve that crap. I can’t say anything more because I am too angry.

  7. WesPowell says:

    Of course “don’t deserve” includes all the times you probably don’t deserve a win and get it.

  8. Bw52 says:

    Still no clutch hitting.Wake up hitters.

  9. WesPowell says:

    Let me ask anyone here who wants to respond. Do you think that at some point, somehow, there will not be bad stretches or bad years anymore?

    • Nutlaw says:

      Wes. Enough, man. There’s nothing wrong with people venting their frustration a bit. No one is getting ulcers or killing themselves, despite your vivid imagination. We’re here to talk baseball. Go poke someone else with a stick.

    • blingboy says:

      Of course there will, Wes. But it doesn’t have to be this team and it doesn’t have to be right now.

      All teams run into problems of various sorts. The one’s that come up with a timely and effective solution end up on top. Acceptance and complacency is seldom the answer and has no special virtuosity or moral superiority attached.

      That said, all fans don’t have to be of the rabid variety wanting to rip the opposition’s face off 162 times a year and accepting nothing less. I get that. There is room for all of us. Makes for a lively community.

  10. WesPowell says:

    “Of course there will, Wes. But it doesn’t have to be this team and it doesn’t have to be right now.”

    This can be said at any bad stretch, So no bad stretches is the the goal.

    • blingboy says:

      Bad stretches are inevitable. The goal is a timely and effective solution. For me, the waiting is painful, as is all the talk about ‘solutions’ which I can’t see as being effective since they don’t address the actual problem. IMO of course.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Wes, you need to take a look in the mirror and take stock. Is this what you want to be when you grow up, a docile door-mat? Surely not! I cannot believe this of you.

  11. WesPowell says:

    If it helps at all we have score 31 runs in the last 10 games with a high game of 6.

    The 105 win team of 2004 scored 27 in a 10 game stretch, with a high of 7.

  12. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    I dare say that it would appear that you guys are missing the real issues here …….. quite frankly ……. even I deem them too hot to handle ………….. Lance hitting 5th today…….with Beltran sitting……..after the Holiday issues?????????? Furcal off his feed??????? Trouble brewing in River City………

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Thanks for your discretion, Westie.

    • blingboy says:

      Trouble has been brewing for a while I think, Westy. And although Tony is gone things are not all that different. Mo will send in a kid from AA to shore up the pen, which wouldn’t have gone over well last year with TLR. But that is peripheral. Moving Lance and Beltran around, just smoke, like was done last year when TLR tried every lineup there was but never would move Albert. When they move Holliday is when you know Mo is serious. Not that Matt is especially at fault. But niether should he be singled out to be exempt from efforts to shake things up. I am convinced that contributed to last year’s malais being so prolonged, and again this year.

      It’s likely Furcal is more like on a hunger strike. Frustrated by what he sees going on. Bringing him in last year ended up being enough of a jolt to sort things out. He would have seen it, and now he sees Mo allowing the same thing to happen all over again.

      A week or two ago I proposed trying to get Quentin along with Street from the Pads, and this is exactly the reason. Bringing in a gorilla, even a somewhat lesser one, to take some turns at corner OF, LF as well as RF, is the exact thing that is needed. And not because Carlos Quentin is going to outproduce anybody.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        You may have that wrong BB………. Tony wouldn’t have been allowed to get to Rosenthal……… Tony is gone…….you know I’m happy about that……….. this issue is Matheny now…….. The Berkman avoidance of an assignment was taken as a challenged to some………… it should have been…….The team isn’t dealing with the issues………….. the line up today was so flagrantly insensitive to reality…..I think it freaked Furcal out……….. Beltran was offered days off if he would try CF again……….4 days ago……and he still gets them ……. even with Holiday out?………. Berkman hitting fifth was about precedent and retribution…….. Matheny has to have Mo behind him to do that ………. the defense of Matheny has began……..and it could get ugly……… Kelly, Rosenthal, Lynn……these guys are blue chip property……..Give Kelly a three run lead so he can dictate……..he would be lights out………. Personally, I won’t forgive Matheny for traumatizing Rosenthal is a “bad blood” environment like today…….. I feel bad for the kid…… Mo will make a meaningless move….we’ve seen it before……he will end up taking out some trash for nothing……maybe trying to get a little change above the trade values…….thats why all the teams are talking about the Cardinals right now……… like it or not…..McGwire has bottomed out Descalso and Greene….add Matt Carpenter to that list….Carpenter he has the big finish now…….. perfect……. Jay has regressed to his old swing……. no matter what your opinion is of Mark M ……… he is at least ineffective ……… Tony kept a tight leash on him……the pitch sequences we are seeing suggests the opposition has a very low opinion of our “intelligence”……. Holiday set a new record today swinging at a 56 footer…….. Thats tough to beat..

        • blingboy says:

          Good point about Rosenthal. Obvious now that you point it out. Not that Rosenthal himself would have been a possibility, but after Rasmus, well, I get your point.

          Lance’s 58 foot record only lasted one day. I figured it was safe.

          Three questions if you don’t mind.

          What do you make of Beltran blowing off Furcal yesterday when Furcal waved him over on the passed ball?

          What do you think would happen if Mo dropped Quentin into the mix?

          The odds Holliday shows up anywhere but 3rd in the starting lineup this year?

          • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

            1) Carlos had a really bad angle as the ball ran right behind and away……..Furcal had a good vantage point from his perspective…….. baseball reason says that his run is irrelevant ……… of course thats all BS…………. Beltran….with a small lead barely beats the pick off attempt……which of course was called and risked by a team that recognized his frame of mind……… that tells you the real issue……. if he’s on third, its going to be harder to bounce the breaking pitches in………of course thats why he steals anyway………. K-rod is terrible at holding anyone……. we have lost Beltran’s interest……not so good…

            2) There is no chance that could happen………. it isn’t about baseball really……. he is peculiar feeder….and a possible non-Christian……just a guess……

            3) They have a long range plan……… the know Matt isn’t going anywhere……. Berkman will leave…Beltran may want too…..they know that…… after what went on here with AP…….. how could such a precedent be continued? But in truth……that is the constant the the base all of there evaluations on…….. Carlos hasn’t done a thing at 4th ……… but Holiday is now a solid investment with his average and singles potential ……….. are they trying to drive Beltran off…..he was only signed for appearances that are now a distant memory it seems …….. Don’t you admire the Brewers…they announce a new closer and Axeford is now a middle reliever…..and he just does his job……the next day………..its seems the idea of Holiday left undefended might become a bigger headache than not……….its his salary and production that keep Freese from look expendable…….. When you watch David spray the ball around, taking a shot at the Yard when someone makes a mistake…….how could anyone every try to get him to change……….. and yet they did…………that wasn’t just McGwire….. the front office strategists are deep in all this ……. remember last year when McGwire was grumbling about other influences on his hitters………well the Tony barrier is gone……. now the wheels came off…..and no one can hit…….. the swing permissions by count have made us the pigeons of MLB……thats the FO guys………. its the secret to more Hr’s……and it was until the scouts caught up………now what do you do?????????

            • kray66 says:

              As scary as it is to admit this, I think I’m starting to drink Westie’s Kool-Aid. I’m not sure what flavor it is yet, but it’s going down smooth.

              I agree on the Beltran thing. He just wasn’t there yesterday. He should have trusted Furcal’s judgement on the passed ball. The question is was he just having a bad day, or has he checked out from playing for this team/manager/front office/fans?

              Berkman obviously should have taken a rehab assignment. He hadn’t played enough games this year to get his timing down BEFORE his surgery, let alone after. I love the guy but someone got bullied about sending him to the minors for a few starts, and that will probably carry over to other players.

              Holliday’s “injury” when he got moved in the line-up may have started something of a revolt I worry. Seems a “public execution” may be in order to remind them who’s in charge. Who gets punished though?

              • blingboy says:

                All well said 66.

                I’ve been arguing that Holliday’s exemption needs to be removed. He’s no Pujols and everybody knows it. In fact, he’s closer to them than he is to Albert. A lot closer. So it just pisses everyone off, as well it should.

                The other necessary element is introducing a new factor into the equation. To upset the battlelines set up amongst the egos of the 799 lb gorillas. A player of substance who can be shown some love and take some reps at the corner OF spots, leaving Craig to take his reps at 1B, unless Lance can outplay him.

                Several will consider competition for playing time to be ‘an insult’. So be it. Furcal would be his old self the next day.

                For a good while I dismissed Westie’s notions about Big Mac. But consider this. Holliday’s exemption is much more easily sustainable if nobody else is clearly a superior candidate for #3 hitter, traditionally a team’s best overall hitter. So if Freese has looked like he might become a #3 type, especially when Matt was cold, the idea that Mo might want Mac to convert him into a #5, or 6, or 4, or anything but a 3, is not entirely out of the question. And considering the $ Matt will soak up over the next few years, turning an annoyingly good #3 candidate into something else . . . . well, you get my point, I’m sure.

                • crdswmn says:

                  Lots of speculation about motivations and character of players and staff with very little factual evidence.

                  Sorry, I am a lawyer and this kind of thing bugs me.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    I mean a little bit of speculation from time to time on minor things is okay and kind of fun, but I fear we are starting to get into JFK and 9/11 territory here and this kind of speculation from anyone other than WC is a little disturbing.

                    • blingboy says:

                      My intent was mostly to point out what I think is not impossible, supported by a plausible reason why it is not.

                      As an example of my thought process, I considered that it is not possible to know for sure what either Matt or David will do in the future. But what is known is the amount of money committed to each. Therefore, it would be very sound from a business viewpoint to shelter the one at the expence of the other.

                      IMO, comparison to wacky conspiracy theories is not a good one. But obviously I would think that, and am not well placed to be an objective judge.

                      I’ve no problem with disagreements. I have to run errands for awhile, but will respond later if you care to discuss further.

                    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                      She is right here BB……….. The age of conspiracy is over………. Cardinals are just headed to a new era of front office participation……….. they had no intentions of winning last year…….. for obvious reasons…….. this year……..BD just wants more say, and as is the conservative intellectuals habit, they are rather devious in their manipulations………… Matheny was groomed from the start to listen and except Mo’s suggestions……all covert of course…… the problem is, it has weakened someone that may have turned out to be a pretty good coach…….. his head is filled with issues born of front office perspectives…… in Truth…….Berkman’s insistence on returning now, was a real value judgment on what type of job MM was doing………… he knew they would keep him away for a week of more so they could get closer to the TDline…………purely for business reasons………… he has pressured Lance every step of the way since…… thats a sad state of affairs………… this team needs to lighten up………. way way to much “blood of Christ” penitent attitude “grinding” away here ……..

                      MarkM has a completely unique approach to hitting……….. it has proven a disaster for some……career ending……….. Descalso is headed out of baseball……… Skip shifts in and out……at least he can….. it breaks most of the rules practiced by all other teams………..add in the FO directives for speculation by count………you have a team that can’t even see the strike zone anymore …….. and everyone knows it now……….. its a deep subject……… I’m not going into it here…….. Should we lose another 3 games to the pack……….heads up……… some may opt out………

                    • crdswmn says:

                      I was responding to both yours and Kray’s posts together. But to respond to you specifically:

                      It just seems to me that attributing Holliday’s 3rd spot in the lineup to ego or some kind of monetary blackmail is kind of far to go without factual evidence to back it up. Has Holliday made any public statements that lead you to the conclusion that he is using manipulation to stay in the 3rd spot? Do you have evidence that he even has expressed a preference? Couldn’t it just possibly be that the thinking is that that is the best spot for him regardless of how much money he makes? Holliday has put up great numbers in the past hitting 4th, so how do you equate him hitting 3rd with being a better business decision? I don’t see the correlation frankly. And David has hit in multiple spots in the lineup and I don’t see a correlation there either. Maybe I am naive but is seems to me the best business decision is to put your players in the best position to succeed and win games. Sometimes those positions changed due to changing circumstances. Sometimes they don’t.

                      I wasn’t trying to insult your intelligence I was just bothered by the assumptions and speculations on matters that I just don’t see a factual basis for. Lots of things go on behind the scenes that we don’t know about and intrigue I am sure exists to some degree. When you have a lot of highly paid athletes trying to vie for playing time and co-exist over a long season there are bound to be dust ups and disagreements occasionally. But to assume any such occurrences affect the degree to which the game is played on a daily basis to such an extent as some are suggesting seems far-fetched to me. Show me some evidence to suggest that the Cardinals are the Boston Red Sox, and I might change my mind.

                    • kray66 says:

                      Completely agree there’s no facts to support the Holliday conpsiracy. I’m just trying to pinpoint what may be causing us to lose the edge that it takes to win the close games. Pitching has seemed to settle a bit, and we’re getting hitters on base, but we just can’t put things together enough to win as often as us greedy and spoiled Cards fans expect.

                      It seems like all season there’s been a scapegoat – the BP, injuries, the BP again, more injuries, no Carp, etc. But what’s the excuse now? I can’t find one area that is just failing (I guess defense was pretty weak yesterday) so I’m looking for something less obvious to blame.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      Well, I believe to some extent that psychological factors can play a part in how players perform, I don’t follow the maxim of most sabermetricians I know who believe if it can’t be put in a math equation it doesn’t exist. Slumps happen and it seems the more you try to get out of one, the worse it gets. You would think the players and the coaching staff would know this and would have some idea of methods to correct it. But we are all human, and we can think we have it all figured out and then when you get out into that pressure situation it all falls by the wayside and raw instinct kicks in. It may just be a matter of waiting it out until something happens to kickstart things.

                      I don’t completely discount the idea of clubhouse intrigue, I just tend to wait until I have some concrete evidence from which to draw an inference. It’s just the way I was taught in law school; you can draw inferences from facts presented, but raw speculation without facts is a no no.

                    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                      You are becoming more powerful all the time CRD………….. Your thinking is very clear and concise………
                      However……….. I don’t see much concrete being poured of late…….especially in Cardinal Village…….
                      Someone thrummed the Post yesterday…… comes the clarifications and story lines……… it helps move things along ………… there is no Tony vs FO battlefield any longer….no place to peek into the “inner workings…………..the fight and its casualties have now taken to the field ……….. to be honest…Matheny’s approach just isn’t going to work……. and they aren’t going to give it up soon….. chest bumping coaches attempting to lead through close personal relationships is a fantasy……..a coach can be open and emotionally responsive………. if they are very secure in there own station………….You can’t teach Sunday School ….. and then make moves that can be threatening to a players career…… win ball games……………and survive…….. make him a bench coach…….. he is equipped for that………. the bottom line………. the financial implications for all of Matheny’s recent move are glaringly obvious ………… and many aren’t even his moves……. that has always been the danger here……its what Tony fought against……..and lost……. Important game yesterday…we lost….look at what MM sent out onto the field? Mo helped……each with a different emphasis….

  13. WesPowell says:

    It’s very simple. One year no Wainwright, next year no Carpenter. Beforehand would you have taken a championship and a last place? I would have. And we almost surely won’t finish last. We are still in it.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Here are some simple thoughts. Last year was great and it is over. This is this year. Its a different year. And its well short of great. This team is doing just enough to lose, too often.

      The good news is that even if Wes is smiling, regardless of what happens, Mo is PO’d. We are not shelling out $111MM to come in lower than first.

      • WesPowell says:

        I would think you have accepted the fact through observation around the league that a big payroll does not guarantee first place. And it never will…..Oh no That two foot thick cement wall again.

  14. WesPowell says:

    Frankly this is how the payrolls have gone to the moon. A bunch of owners trying to buy first place.

  15. blingboy says:

    I wanted to mention that Adams is destroying AAA pitching. Just destroying it.

    Berkman and Craig, between them, can’t stay on the field for 162. What do you suppose the odds are of Craig not spending significant time on the DL next year? The year after that? The year after that?

    The Adams for trade bait crowd is hoping for the best I guess.

    • crdswmn says:

      The thing is bling, that Adams destroying AAA pitching does not guarantee big league success. Case in point—Tyler Greene.

      Assuming Adams can be a success in the big leagues, why waste him as a DL replacement for Craig? Matt Carpenter or some other bench guy who can play 1B is who you would want in that situation.

      The only way to get both Craig and Adams as starters is to play Craig in RF. And since Beltran is on a two year contract, that isn’t going to happen until 2014 at the earliest. Berkman isn’t coming back next year and Craig needs to play everyday, so 1B has to be his position. He is the 1B of the future. Matt Adams cannot play any other position. That makes him expendable in my opinion.

      • blingboy says:

        Well, I guess I’m too much of a wuss to come out and say what’s really on my mind. Craig is great but the one thing that would be better is a Craig who can stay in the lineup. Is that not so?

        • crdswmn says:

          Sure, but unless you are clairvoyant, there is no way you can say he won’t. David Freese has had a terrible injury history, but so far this year he has avoided the DL. What’s to say that Craig can’t have DL free seasons in the future?

          Don’t be a wuss, bling. Just say it.

          • blingboy says:

            It would be great to keep them both, but failing that, you have to keep the one most likely to contribute the most of what you need over the long term. The other is expendable.

            I’m for holding on to Adams until this time next year and see where we are.

            Looking at next year, if Freese is out long term, its not the end of the world, with either MCarp or Cox. If Craig is out long term, we’d get gang raped trading for a middle of the order slugger. Unless we have one. No way I want to take that chance.

  16. blingboy says:

    It sucks that the Reds, the Brewers, and the Pirates get extra picks next winter. How does that balance the competition?

  17. crdswmn says:

    That Nationals have DFA’ed Rick Ankiel. Not having a good year it seems.

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