Cardinals Promote Trevor Rosenthal from Double-A Rotation to MLB Bullpen

In the Quad Cities last season right-hander Trevor Rosenthal turned heads and tapped into imaginations. Early this morning, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that the the 6-foot-2 pitcher from Lee's Summit, Missouri would jump from Double-A Springfield to the big-league bullpen. The decision was first reported on Twitter by B.J. Rains of Fox Sports Midwest. Rosenthal will replace Maikel Cleto, who made the jump from the Springfield rotation to the big leagues last season, on the 25-man roster and in the bullpen. No corresponding move to free up a spot on the club's 40-man roster has been announced. The Cardinals moved left-handed starter Jaime Garcia to the 60-day disabled list in order to free up a spot on the 40-man roster for Rosenthal.

Drafted by the Cardinals in the 21st round of the 2009 Rule 4 draft, Rosenthal made the majority of his appearances in rookie ball as a reliever. In 2011, the righty spent the season as a member of the River Bandits rotation in the Low-A Midwest League and blossomed. With a repertoire that includes a mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider, Rosenthal's 4.11 ERA betrayed his excellent peripherals as the right-hander struck out 9.95 batters per nine innings while walking 2.92 batters per nine.

Rosenthal skipped high-A ball and was sent to Double-A Springfield for the start of the 2012 season. He has handled the transition extremely well, posting good numbers despite a downtick in strikeouts and an uptick in walks. Rosenthal ranks second in the Texas League in ERA and, despite missing some time due to a back strain sustained while lifting weights, ranks seventh in strikeouts with 86. Rosenthal's FIP of 3.51 ranks fifth in the league. By results or peripherals, Rosenthal has ben one of the top pitchers in the hitter's paradise known that is the Texas League.

The following table shows Rosenthal's minor-league stats to date.

Level

G

GS

K%

BB%

HR/9

BABIP

LOB%

ERA

FIP

tRA+

Rookie

14

0

23.4%

9.0%

0.00

.352

56.4%

4.88

2.78

-

Rookie

10

6

24.0%

5.6%

0.28

.259

71.9%

2.25

2.58

-

Low A

22

22

26.1%

7.7%

0.52

.328

65.9%

4.11

3.04

120

AA

17

17

21.9%

9.8%

0.58

.243

74.8%

2.79

3.51

113

Given Rosenthal's performance in Spring Training and success in the Texas League along with the Cardinals' bullpen troubles, the promotion is not that surprising. During Spring Training, Rosenthal received an extended look from manager Mike Matheny. It wasn't until late in the spring that Matheny sent Rosenthal to minor-league camp. It was around this time that the decision was made that Rosenthal would skip High-A ball and go straight to Springfield. John Vuch, farm director for the Cardinals, explained the club's decision:

"We typically like for pitchers to go level by level, but in this case it makes sense for him," Vuch said. "Both [Cardinals bullpen coach Dyar Miller and pitching Derek Lilliquist] felt strongly that he's ready to go to Double-A."

One wonders if the impression Rosenthal made on Miller and Lilliquist during Spring Training played a part in his promotion to the major-league bullpen. But it wasn't just with the coaches that Rosenthal made an impression.

During Spring Training, Matheny changed the way in which pitchers were grouped for throwing sessions, placing the youngsters with the veterans and mixing up the groups in an attempt to have the younger pitchers learn from their elders. Rosenthal spent time in a group with Chris Carpenter, who offered this assessment of the young righty:

"It was a lot of fun," Carpenter said. "He's got a chance to be really good. He's a very good kid and he's got great stuff. He's got a bright future ahead of him."

The future is now for Rosenthal. The Cardinals need it to be bright.

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