In 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals weren't really going to let Michael Wacha pitch. Their first-rounder had thrown a heavy college-ball workload that year, and the prescription was a couple of relief appearances to get him acclimated. That was when he struck out 40 batters in 21 minor league innings. In 2013, the Cardinals weren't going to look at him seriously for a major league job. That was when he struck out 15 and didn't allow an earned run in 11.2 innings.
All told, Wacha's pitched 33 professional innings, posted an ERA of 0.55, struck out 55 batters against five walks, and continually confounded the Cardinals' plans to take things slowly. On Thursday he was sent to minor league camp as scheduled, with a likely assignment to AAA Memphis in his near future.
Michael Wacha has still yet to spend time in a professional rotation, which is reason enough for whatever skepticism the Cardinals and their fanbase has managed to keep intact about him. There are questions about his ceiling, even as he's erased whatever questions there were about his floor. But if this ridiculous trend continues to hold, expect him to be competing for Adam Wainwright's job sometime in late April.