It's tough to be upbeat today as a St. Louis Cardinals fan. When your team is a game away from the World Series and then loses three in a row by a combined score of 20-1, silver linings are hard to find.
But I appreciate the Cardinals and try stay away from the anonymous Internet posters and radio call-in crazies. From my view there was a huge bright spot for the Cardinals. I was blown away (and so were many San Francisco Giants) by the power arm of Trevor Rosenthal in the playoffs. Rosenthal was terrific in the postseason and may have provided Cardinals fans a peek at next year's pitching staff.
To be fair, Rosenthal was not the only bullpen member to pitch well in the playoffs. Jason Motte appeared seven times and notched a win and two saves to go with an ERA of 2.16. Mitchell Boggs was reliable, as well. Boggs did not allow a run in the Wild Card Series or Division Series, though he was nicked a bit by the Giants. Joe Kelly was great against Washington, allowing no hits in three appearances.
But I view Rosenthal as the breakout star of this year's playoffs for St. Louis. Rosenthal was on the active roster for all three playoff series, though he did not pitch in the Wild Card Series against the Atlanta Braves. Otherwise, these are the eye-popping numbers Rosenthal produced in the playoffs: seven games, eight and two-thirds innings pitched, zero runs allowed, 15 strikeouts, two walks.
My favorite stat is that Rosenthal faced 30 hitters in the playoffs and two got hits. His WHIP for the playoffs (remember that anything under 1.00 is considered good) was 0.462. He was regularly hitting the upper-90s on the radar guns during the postseason. He simply overwhelmed hitters in the playoffs this year.
Rosenthal has a chance to be quite a find for the Cardinals. He was taken in the 21st round of the 2009 draft. His minor league record would indicate he is being groomed as a starter for the Cardinals. All of his 42 minor league appearances in 2011 and 2012 came as a starting pitcher.
Rosenthal is only 22 years old. With some of the Cardinals starters (Westbrook, Carpenter) getting toward the end of their careers, and with the incredible upside he showed in this year's playoff run, Rosenthal may be a star in St. Louis sooner rather than later.A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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