So, I know I can’t be the only one who promptly conjures up my best Waka Flocka Flame impression when I hear this kid’s name… “Wacha! Wacha! Wacha!” No? I am the only one? Ok, just wait until he’s walking out the mound for his first MLB start. But I digress…
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you now know the name Michael Wacha. Memorize it, love it, embrace it my friends because this kid is the real deal. Don’t believe me? Go ask our good friend Yadier Molina what he thinks. I quote, “I think that guy, right now, could pitch in the big league.” What rookie wouldn’t want such an endorsement from one of the most well respected Cardinals, and an elite catcher at that? Could be a lot worse.
Michael Wacha was the Cardinal organization’s first round pick of the MLB June Amateur Draft in 2012, taken 19th overall. A former Texas A&M Aggie, Wacha was impressing scouts from day one. During his sophomore year, he led the Aggie pitching staff with 123 Ks against 129.2 innings pitched. He tossed 2 complete games in 19 appearances. Once picked up by the Cardinas, he amassed 21 innings at 3 different minor league levels, finishing the season with the Springfield Cardinals with a 0.86 ERA and 40 strikeouts.
Wacha has started his 2013 season out quite impressively, quickly earning the respect of his pitching staff and peers. The level of poise and maturity the 6 foot 6 righty shows on the mound has been compared to that of Cardinal ace Adam Wainwright. He left the Grapefruit League with an assignment to the AAA Memphis for at least the foreseeable future. On the books was an eyebrow raising 0.00 ERA with 11.2 innings pitched and 15 strikeouts. While the Cardinals do not want to overuse a talented young arm, it has been difficult for the team to hold this 21 year old phenom back, as he continues to exceed expectations and impress with his ability to learn and absorb new information.
While we will likely not see Wacha join the big league team for Opening Day, I would not be shocked to see him get a call up midway through. It looks like the starting rotation is more or less sealed up for now, but rest easy, Cardinal fans, because we have one of the most exciting pitching prospects around waiting in the wings for his shot at the big leagues.
Oh, and another fun fact? Remember a certain first baseman who we recently parted ways with? What was his name…. Oh yes! Albert Pujols! Part of the reason we were able to take Michael Wacha in the first round was because we received a draft compensation pick from Anaheim in exchange for Pujols. Time will tell who got the better end of that deal, but I think I know where I who I will be placing my bets with!