This past season, the September call-ups were as useful for seeing what is in the cupboard as any September that I can recall in recent memory.
The future is looking pretty darn bright, at least from the pitching side of things. Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal showed in their brief stint that they can pitch at the big league level. Joe Kelly was called up in June and also pitched very well for the Redbirds.
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak went out during the winter meetings and addressed a big hole in the bullpen by signing lefty specialist Randy Choate to a 3 year/$7.5 million contract.
Mozeliak also sent previous starting second baseman Skip Schumaker to the Dodgers last week for a minor league prospect. So at the moment, the Cardinals haven't decided who will take the second base job. This opens the door for a second-base prospect to find his way to the Major League level in 2013.
Then there is Oscar Tavares, who has hit at all levels so far in his brief professional career. As mentioned, the future is looking bright for the Cardinals when they see what is coming up through their ranks.
As for 2013, here are a few prospects who could make an impact at some point, if not all, of the 2013 season.