the rain, and reign, of rookies

3 unintentional walks in 15 innings? seth, i'm not angry, just disappointed. - USA TODAY Sports

the rookletarian overthrow of the vetoisie is in full swing. and the revolution is mostly televised (subject to local* blackout dates and the vetoisie regaining control of the modes of production). *"local" here has a generous meaning, up to and including "within 2000 miles."

as the future redbirds staff drinks from the firehose of draftees and information about them that was the 2013 MLB draft, i postponed my thursday article to bring you this very (well, a little) special sunday edition.

the 2013 cardinals currently include 9 rookies on their 25-man roster, including 5 who actually made their major league debut this year (butler, miller, rosenthal, siegrist, adams, wacha, kozma, lyons, maness).

6 other rookies have played (or at least appeared on the active roster [blazek]) at other times in the season with the cardinals, including 4 who made their major league debut on the active roster (gast, martinez, jackson, curtis, blazek, cleto).

we've seen an enormous portion of the best cardinals prospects appear in games. of the top 20 prospects listed at this site six months ago, the #2, #3, #4, #6, #7, #8, #12, #14, #17, and #18 prospects have appeared in games this year. we may yet see more of that list, with taveras and wong likely to get september invites at least; others, like greg garcia, might be called up on an as-needed basis.

where we have 11 pitching rookies, the blue jays (our closest competitors in the majors) have 9.

most of these guys are likely to lose their rookie status this season, if they haven't lost it yet. as a refresher: 130 ABs, 50 IP, or 45 days on the active roster puts an end to rookie status. anyone who has been on the active roster since mid-april will lose his status.

almost half the top 20 will likely graduate from rookie status this year. this is not really a problem; the purpose of the farm system is to serve the major leagues, not to maintain its ranking. if the major league team is chock-full of young talent and the farm is semi-depleted, that's a healthy sign. the job of the scouting staff (especially in this draft) is to replace the lost talent as quickly as possible. but, unless there are some sudden, shocking developments in the latter half of the season, we will not be in the running for #1 farm system next year.

and we are getting superb performance from our homegrown talent. we have 4.6 WAR already contributed by rookies (half of that is shelby miller). compounding that to the contributions of other recent farm graduates (lynn, kelly, carpenter), we have a very solid base of young talent.

in fact, of the 12 pitchers on our active roster, only randy choate and edward mujica did not spend development time in our system. on the position player side, only ty wigginton, carlos beltran, and matt holliday spent no development time in our system. adam wainwright and david freese were not drafted by the cardinals, but were traded to the cardinals and spent at least a season in memphis before their major league debuts. the major league club is in very good shape.

it doesn't really help the appearance of approaching prospect vacuum that, in limited 2013 showings, the next group of prospects has not done much to thrust themselves into the conversation, with the minor exceptions of outfielder mike o'neill and pitcher tim cooney. maybe boone whiting deserves some mention, too, though i'm anxious about those walks at memphis. the rest have either lost ground (tyrell jenkins), haven't played yet (steve bean), or are performing appropriately but without surprising (stephen piscotty, charlie tilson).

while i didn't aim to comment on the 2013 draft through this piece, the rapid turnover of prospects into major league players and the voids in the system that follow may be part of the picture in the 2013 draft. viewed through that lens, maybe this draft looks a little different to you. maybe not.

* * *

brief roundup of things you might have missed in the last week:

the cardinals' bullpen performance has started to even out more. the bullpen now has a cumulative 100 FIP-, right in the middle tier of the MLB teams. their 97 xFIP- is in the top ten for MLB bullpens. the cumulative ERA is still terrible, of course, but we seem to have mostly purged the worst performers from our bullpen. they put together a 2.93 ERA in May for those who care about such things.

jake westbrook made his first rehab start at springfield. he did pretty well, going almost 4 innings, striking out five and walking none. he did allow a wild pitch. he allowed 6 hits and one run. he says he needs just one more rehab start before he rejoins the major league rotation (already in progress), but take that with healthy doses of sodium chloride.

chris carpenter continues to discover if he can successfully reboot using his auxiliary power core. he pitched twice last week to hitters off the mound, but there is no firm schedule for a rehab start at this point.

mitch boggs made another start at memphis, walking 3 batters in four innings, allowing 3 hits and 2 ER. i think mitch needs to show that he can get his walk rate down to 3 walks per 9 in memphis (not per 4) before he sees MLB service again.

jeanine duncan, mother to chris and shelley, wife to dave, passed away this week. all our thoughts are with the duncan family, who have had an incredibly difficult few years.

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