The St. Louis Cardinals' influx of power arms, both at the big-league level and in the minors, is a switch from recent years, or perhaps in a very long time.
Even with right-hander Kyle Lohse likely to sign elsewhere as a free agent, the Cardinals will have five veteran starters returning: right-handers Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn, plus left-hander Jaime Garcia.
However, late in the season and in the postseason, the Cardinals unleashed the likes of 22-year-old right-handers Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller and 24-year-old Joe Kelly, all of whom can throw between 95 and 100 mph, with Rosenthal reaching 101 on occasion.
In the postseason, all three worked out of the bullpen, although Kelly made 16 starts during the season and Miller started the last regular-season game. All of them started in the minors. Rosenthal especially was impressive in October, striking out 15 and allowing no runs in 8 2/3 postseason innings.
There are several more prospects on the way, including right-hander Carlos Martinez, who had a 2.93 ERA in Class A and Class AA this year, and right-hander Michael Wacha, the club's first-round draft pick in 2012. Wacha, who reached Class AA Springfield by the end of the season, had an 0.86 ERA in 11 appearances overall this season.
Carpenter, a 37-year-old veteran, said, "We're going to go to spring training not sure what to do with everybody.
"We're going to have too many guys, guys who have already proven themselves in the minors, guys who have already proven themselves here. There could be four guys for one spot, and all four deserve it."