4 Prospects St. Louis Cardinals Fans Would Like to See for September Call-Ups

Corey NolesCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2012

4 Prospects St. Louis Cardinals Fans Would Like to See for September Call-Ups

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    As the St. Louis Cardinals near the end of August two games out of the Wild Card and 5-7 in their past 12 games, discussions about upcoming September roster expansions are starting to heat up.

    To date, little has been said about what to expect from the Cardinals as the expansions near, but there are always a handful that fans would love to see. Sometimes they'll get the chance, but quite often the ones the fans are the most excited about don't make the jump.

    There are many factors that go into determining who does or does not get the much-anticipated call.

    Among those factors are whether or not the player is on the 40-man roster, where they are in their development, are they in the team's immediate needs and how are they playing at this time.

    It's not always about who has the best statistics for the season, but about who is hot when the big-league team needs them.

    Right now, the Cardinals definitely need something, but are any of the most exciting prospects the answer in the immediate future?

    Follow the break for four players Cardinals fans would love to see as September call-ups in 2012.

Michael Wacha, RHP

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    I want to say up front, this is not going to happen, but there's an interesting buzz surrounding him.

    Current stats: 8 G/2 starts/16 IP/29 K/5 H/1 BB

    On the 40-man roster? No

    Where is he in his development? The Cardinals' top pick in 2012, Michael Wacha is on a rather fast track through the minor leagues, but not to the point that the Cardinals will see him next month.

    Drafted in June, Wacha started in the Gulf Coast League and has been promoted to Double-A Springfield in only his second full month of professional baseball.

    While what has been seen to date is definitely a small sample size, it’s also very encouraging. Wacha has a ton of potential, and if he keeps up his pace could be back in this same conversation in 2013.

    Is he what the Cardinals need right now? While the Cardinals don’t necessarily need a starter, they can definitely use some bullpen help. With that said, they likely feel they are rushing his development enough already and wouldn’t see another move for him as worth the risk.

Shelby Miller, RHP

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    Current stats: 9-9/5.14 ERA/118 IP/132 K/47 BB

    On the 40-man roster? No

    Where is he in his development? As the Cardinals top prospect for two seasons, Miller really struggled early in 2012. He was fully expected to be the first guy to be called up if a starter went down, but his problems halted that.

    After some adjustments to his delivery and getting him to increase use of his off-speed pitches, he has made a rather dramatic turnaround. He’s still giving up some home runs, but he’s not having the epic collapses that he was prior to the MLB All-Star break.

    Is he what the Cardinals need right now? While the Cardinals don’t necessarily need a starter, it’s entirely possible they will call him up to use him in a bullpen role just to give him some MLB exposure and “test the waters” with him.

    He still has some work to do as he continues to refine his delivery, but I would be surprised if he doesn’t see some time in St. Louis in September.

Kolten Wong, 2b

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    Current stats: .289/.350/.407/ 47 RBI/8 HR/ 21 SB

    On the 40-man roster? No

    Where is he in his development? The Cardinals' future second baseman currently sits in Double-A Springfield where he has put together a very respectable year. He struggled through the middle of the season, but has picked back up of late and is hitting .311 in his past 10 games with a .444 OBP.

    Wong may still have some time before he makes it to the big leagues, but he’s well on track to be in St. Louis some time in 2013. Most likely he will start next season at Triple-A Memphis, but I would not be shocked to see him in St. Louis by the All-Star break.

    Is he what the Cardinals need right now? Of all the prospects mentioned, Wong is likely the one the Cardinals could use the most at this point. With the pitiful performance they have seen at second base through most of 2012, no one would be disappointed to find out he is ready to go.

    The downfall is, they likely won’t be ready to bring him up in September. Part of that is complicated by the 40-man roster, but the main reason is likely because they see him as a long-term second baseman and don’t want to jeopardize his development.

Oscar Taveras, RF/CF

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    Current stats: .320/.380/.571/85 RBIs/21 HR/34 Doubles

    On the 40-man roster? No

    Where is he in his development? Oscar Taveras is arguably the most exciting prospect in the Cardinals' farm system at this moment. He’s skilled with his bat and glove and is one of the more feared hitters in the Texas League right now.

    He’s struggled in his last 10 games, but will still likely begin 2013 in Memphis. While he’s pegged to be on pace to hit the big leagues when Carlos Beltran’s contract expires at the end of 2013, in the event of an injury, I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see him before the end of next season.

    Is he what the Cardinals need right now? While Cardinals fans would love to see him immediately, they do have the pieces in place to allow him to continue his development.

    A September call-up is always a possibility, but as of today I would consider it remote at best. If there were an injury, the chance might arise. My advice would be for Cardinals fans to exercise patience with Taveras. At only 20 years old, he has plenty of time to get all aspects of his game together and still be exciting when he arrives.

    When he does arrive, I assure you, he has the ability to make a major impact. In the meantime, having Beltran fill the slot is a perfectly exciting option that plenty of teams only wish they had.