here is a write up from razzball for Wacha on May 1st.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time I’ve covered Wacha in the Scouting the Unknown series. I actually wrote a brief report on him a little less than a year ago while highlighting some notable draft prospects. You can read that post here. Now, it may seem like I’m double-dipping, and I suppose, technically, I am. But since last June, there are very few prospects whose stocks have soared quite like Wacha’s has. Suffice to say, there’s plenty of reason to revisit his outlook, applying what we’ve learned over the past year or so in watching the 21-year-old compete at the professional level.
The Cardinals drafted Wacha 19th overall last June, and at the time, most viewed that selection as a smart, safe pick, but not necessarily one of the high-upside variety. The initial reports suggested a big-framed righty with a solid fastball, a plus changeup, and a breaking ball offering that was fringy at best. Fast-forward 11 months. At 6-6, 210, Wacha still features a big, durable pitcher’s frame — he hasn’t shrunk any, which is good. His arsenal, however, has come a long way. He’s added a couple ticks to the fastball, which now touches 95 with some consistency, and he still spots it with great command. The changeup continues to be a plus weapon. The curve is the most notable improvement — a late-breaking power curve that he throws with confidence and deception. That pitch has gone from a borderline unusable offering, to a serious weapon with plus potential at the big league level.
Wacha’s 2012 numbers were just plain silly: 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 17.1 K/9 in 11 appearances across three levels (Rookie, High-A, Double-A). Those 11 outings, however, only tallied up to 21 IP. The Cardinals were keeping his workload light, and Wacha never worked through a batting order more than one time through. That was the only criticism, the only reason to expect regression as he stepped up to Triple-A ball this season. Well, Wacha’s done a fine job of quelling those concerns so far. He’s found a groove in his last three starts, allowing only 2 runs and 11 hits across 20 frames. The K’s are down, but that was to be expected. The command is still working, though, and the stuff is MLB-ready. With Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal entrenched in the Cardinals bullpen, Wacha could be next in line for starts in St. Louis.