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As the Cardinals begin the 2013 season, the bullpen is a strength once again. Even with closer Jason Motte most likely starting the season on the DL, the Cardinals are loaded in the pen.
Jason Motte: B+
Although his ERA finished at 5.00 in spring training, Motte didn't allow an earned run in his last five appearances. Hitters only batted .189 off him, and he converted his only save opportunity. Hopefully, his elbow soreness is not serious, and the bearded wonder will be back on the bump by late April.
Mitchell Boggs: A+
Boggs looked extremely sharp this spring. He converted all three save opportunities, with a 1.13 ERA, and hitters batted only .185 off him this spring. He will do a fine job filling the closer role should Motte start the season on the DL.
Edward Mujica: D-
Spring was not kind to Edward Mujica. He got bombed most of the spring, posting a 8.46 ERA. Batters hit .346 off Mujica, and he gave up 18 hits in 11.2 innings pitched. Historically, Mujica hasn't pitched well in the spring, so hopefully this spring was just par for the course, and he'll return to his dominant second-half 2012 form.
Randy Choate: B-
Choate was brought in to stabilize the lefty specialist role for the Cardinals in 2013. His spring was very pedestrian. He made 11 appearances and as would be expected in his role, pitched 5.2 innings. He had a solid 3.38 ERA, but his WHIP was 1.88 and batters hit .318 off him this spring. He'll need to cut down the walks as he usually will face only one or two batters a game during the season.
Marc Rzepczynski: B
Rzepczynski was, at times last season, the only lefty in the Cardinals bullpen. Coming into camp, Zep knew he wouldn't have to carry the lefty load all alone this season. He pitched pretty well this spring, posting a 3.12 ERA and struck out eight in 8.2 innings pitched. He will also need to work on bringing his 1.62 WHIP down as the season begins.
Fernando Salas: A+
Salas pitched extremely well this spring. He looked like the guy Cardinal fans came to love in 2011 when he put up excellent numbers. During his 2013 tour through the Grapefruit League, Salas had a 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and struck out 10 in 9.1 innings pitched. Batters also hit a paltry .125 off Salas this spring.
Trevor Rosenthal: B+
Rosenthal knew fairly early in spring training that he'd be in the bullpen. He did get one start in, but it became clear as Rosenthal pitched this spring he'd be a huge asset in the bullpen. While touching the 100s on a regular basis this spring, Rosenthal kept batters off balance.
Batters hit .208 off Rosenthal this spring, and he struck out 11 in 13.1 innings pitched. He will be a dominant late-inning guy for the Cardinals this season.
Joe Kelly: C-
Until last week, Joe Kelly was competing for the final spot in the Cardinals rotation. Now as he finds himself in the bullpen, hopefully he can sharpen his game a bit. Kelly didn't have a great spring. His ERA was 5.54 and he only struck out two batters in 13 innings. Hitters also batted .300 off him and he walked six.
Now that he knows his role for the time being, Kelly should settle in and be a nice long relief man for the Cardinals.