Cardinals' Wacha impressing with arsenal of pitches

8:55 AM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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(KSDK Sports) -- The Cardinals will open "grapefruit" league play on Saturday against the Marlins and the "young arms" will be on display.
The "flame-thrower" Trevor Rosenthal will start and he will be followed by last year's first round pick Michael Wacha.  The "6-foot-6" right hander and the Cardinals top draft pick in 2012 (19th overall), is making the most his time and his pitches.

Wacha took the mound for the first time last Tuesday for his first scheduled Spring Training workout and he immediatly impressed his bosses.  "When you saw Wacha, he looked like he fit right in and that's encouraging," Mozeliak said.

After the impressive showing we asked Wacha to discuss what pitches he has in his tool chest, and how he uses them.  View his interview at the top of the page.

More on Wacha
Shortly after the draft, Wacha joined up with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals where he pitched in just three games before his first promotion. Over his first five innings of professional baseball, Wacha gave up one run on four hits with seven strikeouts.

From there he traveled to the High-A Palm Beach Cardinals four a brief four game stint where he gave up only one hit in eight innings. During those eight innings, he racked up another 16 strikeouts.

His third and final promotion in his first half-season of profession baseball sent him to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals for another four games. There he gave up only three more hits and one earned run over eight innings, and struck out 17 more batters.

Does that mean he will be headed to St. Louis in the near future?
"Boy, If you had asked me this question a year ago on [Trevor] Rosenthal, I would've said let him go to Double-A and see what he can do ," Mozeliak said with a laugh. "I'm probably going to say the same thing on Wacha, but lesson learned."

Wacha, who projects as a starter, has been in the bullpen since being signed. Given that his final college baseball game was the day before the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, that likely had to do with resting his arm following a college season that began in February.

While there's a big difference in pitching in Double-A, and pitching in St. Louis, Mozeliak acknowledged that Wacha isn't far out.

"I will say that when I saw Wacha pitch last year, his two off speed pitches were major league ready then to go along with his 95-96 mile per hour fastball," Mozeliak said. "I think if he had to get an out, he's probably capable of doing it."

Currently, Wacha throws four pitches - both a two and a four-seam fastball, a change-up and he working on a curveball.

"I'm still working on the curveball-getting it sharper and throwing it harder," Wacha said Wednesday morning. "Hopefully it will come along this year."

With the success he's seen so far, Wacha feels good about his arsenal of pitches and where most of them stand right now. Mozeliak said that having such a level of pitching depth in the organization is obviously a luxury he's happy to have.

"As a [general manager], it's all about depth," he said. "If you have internal depth to protect you from whatever happens at the major league level and you can tap into that internally you're much better off."

As spring training continues in Jupiter, Fla. and pitchers get into their groove, the team will have a much better idea of just how deep they are.


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