Making official what was expected, the Cardinals announced that they will call up top prospect Michael Wacha to start Thursday against the Royals.
Wacha was the 19th overall pick in last year’s draft out of Texas A&M and has been incredibly good in the minors with a 1.71 ERA and 74/19 K/BB ratio in 74 innings.
He’ll debut after 20 total appearances as a pro, including just 11 starts, but Wacha’s timetable was pushed up thanks to Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook, Jaime Garcia, and John Gast all being injured.
Coming into the season Wacha ranked as a top 100 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com and he posted a 2.05 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A, although his 34/15 K/BB ratio in 53 innings was underwhelming.
No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.
Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.
Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.