St. Louis Cardinals: Rookie Starting 5 That Could Influence 2013

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St. Louis Cardinals: Rookie Starting 5 That Could Influence 2013
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Kyle Lohse is expected to decline the one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer made to him by the St. Louis Cardinals and pursue free agency, via Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

Even without Lohse, who was the Cardinals' best pitcher in 2012, St. Louis will be able to start the 2013 season with a rotation that is pretty familiar to fans.

All indications point to the Opening Day starting five looking like this: Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn, all of whom have pitched at least one full season with the Cardinals.

St. Louis also has Joe Kelly, who posted a 3.53 ERA in 16 starts and eight relief appearances in 2012.  I expect Kelly to compete with Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook for a spot at the back of the rotation or to be a long-relief option.

This group provides a mix of veterans and youngsters: Carpenter will be 38 a month into next season, Wainwright is 31, Westbrook 35, Garcia 26, Lynn 25 and Kelly 24.  It also provides some injury questions: Garcia, Westbrook and Carpenter all missed time in 2012 due to injury.

So here are five more Cardinals pitchers, all of whom have not yet exhausted their rookie status and are under 24 years of age, who could influence the big league club in some way.

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