As the battle for the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation begins to ramp up, no one has more pressure to perform than Shelby Miller.
The Cardinals' first-round draft choice in 2009 has had high expectations as he has progressed through the minor leagues. Miller has been tabbed as the No. 6 best prospect by Baseball America coming into the 2013 season.
Miller dazzled in his only start of 2012, a one-hit, no-run, six-inning performance against the Reds in early October.
With Chris Carpenter going down before spring training, two spots became immediately available in the starting rotation. With 2012 All-Star Lance Lynn also vying for a spot, it is almost certain he will take Carpenter's turn in the rotation.
That leaves the fifth spot open for Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly to compete. I expect fully for Miller to come out this spring and not let go of the fifth starter slot. He makes his spring debut on Saturday against the Nationals.
Here are three reasons why Shelby Miller will have made an impact on the starting rotation by the year's end.