St. Louis Cardinals Update 5/16

Justin HulseyCorrespondent IMay 16, 2009

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Colby Rasmus #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Florida Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium on February 25, 2009 in Jupiter, Florida. The Marlins and the Mets played to a 5-5 tie in 10 innings.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)


It’s been less than a year since Brett Wallace was drafted with the Cardinals first-round pick, and he has bolted through the Farm.

The No.2 prospect Cardinal Front Office’s top-10 list was drafted with the 13thpick last year and was sent straight to the A+ club in Quad Cities. With the MLB draft, a player can join the club’s system mid-season. So, Wallace was immediately the starting 3Bman for the Bandits. With Quad Cities, in 41 games, he batted nearly .330 with five home runs, 25 RBI, and a .418 OBP.

Wallace was invited to Spring Training this season and was designated to AA Springfield. He came out of the games slow but has turned it on lately, batting .400 in the past 10 games. Believe it or not, he actually smashed walk-off home runs in consecutive days. When Memphis starting 3Bman David Freese went on the DL this morning, there was no option but to bring the slugger up.

The lefthanded-hitting hitter has hit .281 with five home runs and 16 RBI on the season.


We all know Colby Rasmus is notoriously well known for his slow starts. Just the switching of the months has brought Raz an extra 29 points on the batting average this season.

Rasmus has always been known for his five-tool potential. When drafted, he was described by a scout as a “35/35” type of player. Meaning, Rasmus has 35 home run / 35 stolen base potential.

Yet, in the first month, Rasmus’ power has been nearly invisible. He did have one towering shot against the Nationals, but that was it for the “35 home run” guy.

Well, if you were watching the Pirates game on Thursday, you saw every bit of that power when Rasmus drilled one into the Allegheny River. Then, last night, it was almost déjà vu. Rookie Colby Rasmus provided the lead with his second home run in as many games. His first career home run at Busch Stadium would have been a two-run shot deep into the right-field stands… except it, like the game, became unofficial with the rainout.

I have really been impressed with Rasmus so far this season. His patience at the plate, as a 22 year-old, is amazing. For example, Rasmus averages nine BB/9. While the guy he looks to steal a starting spot over, Rick Ankiel, averages seven per 9 innings.

All Spring, the coaches told Rasmus just to hit line drives. A player that has that kind of natural power like Rasmus does, often comes in and wants to impress by knocking the ball over the fence. Little do they know, that often results in strikeout after strikeout after strikeout.

Rasmus has NOT done that. Just the opposite actually. He has gone out there looking to fill gaps. In fact, 20% of Rasmus’ hits have been “line drives” per Fan Graphs.

Hitting a home run is the last thing on Rasmus’ mind, and that may just be the key in Rasmus’ power emergence.


“I think St. Louis is tired of hearing me talk about what I need to do and what I don’t need to do,” said Wainwright, who has a 5.23 ERA in his past five starts. “It’s time for me to go out there and do it.”

Well, Waino sure did “it” today. In 8 innings, Wainwright allowed two hits and one run on seven strikeouts. He was lights out. While our piss poor offense could not score a single run for him, Adam had his best start in a very long time.

According to Wainwright, the problem was identified after his previous start. The flaw, Wainwright believes, was a change in his release point when he pitches. He had started to pitch with his arm too high, which was affecting the movement and location of his pitches – especially his fastball.

Other than that, as a fan, I could not help to notice how many fastballs he did throw… or did not throw. Waino has thrown his fastball less and less from year to year throughout career. Before today’s start, he threw it 51% of the time this season. Last year, he threw it 53% of the time and 56% in 2005.

Today, however, was WAY different. Through the first two innings, 27 of Wainwright’s 32 pitches were fastballs. Now you may think that is to much… but Wainwright was virtually perfect. 

As Wainwright pitched more and more fastballs, it sure did seem like he became the player we have been used to the past couple seasons.


In other news: 

Chris Carpenter aims for early-week start
Brendan Ryan activated, Boggs sent down
Todd Wellemeyer sucks