This week I am taking a look at Michael Wacha of the St. Louis Cardinals. Wacha is a 21-year-old pitcher at Triple-A Memphis who turned a lot of heads this spring by compiling an excellent 15/1 K/BB over 11 2/3 scoreless innings. He gets overlooked since he’s in the Cardinal system. Shelby Miller received most of the attention and won the fifth starter spot this season, but Wacha, “even at his age,” would be in most major league rotations right now.
Wacha entered this year as the No. 76 prospect according Baseball America and the No. 83 according to MLB.com. He was drafted 19th overall last June out of Texas A&M, leading him to pitch only 21 total minor league innings last year. You might say, “He needs a lot more time!” How many hits do you think Wacha allowed in those 21 innings? Eight. He also struck out 40 batters. Now I was good at many MLB video games, but I couldn’t even strike out 40 in 21 innings. Wacha must either have some good stuff, or he faced a team full of Rob Deer’s grandkids.
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His first Triple-A start didn’t go well though. In four innings, he allowed five hits and two runs, and he issued four walks. Its only one Triple A start though. His second start was a little better, going five innings and allowing three hits and two earned runs. This kid has a chance to be the first one called up to make a start for the Cardinals this year. He will be up at some point this year regardless if he’s first or not.
“I think that guy, right now, can pitch in the big league. That’s the way I look at it. He has great stuff. He has a great presence on the mound,” Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina told MLB.com about Wacha.
That’s a large compliment coming from one of the game’s best catchers, and I would advise adding Wacha if he’s out there in your dynasty league.
Brent Meyer is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Brent in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of brentameyer.
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