Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Cardinals have decided to go with Shelby Miller as their fifth starter, choosing the 22-year-old top prospect over Joe Kelly, who did a solid job starting 16 games last season.
Miller was very impressive in a 14-inning September call-up last season after racking up 160 strikeouts in 137 innings at Triple-A and ranks among Baseball America‘s top 10 prospects for the second straight year.
He projects as a potential long-term ace if things go well and has dominant raw stuff, although Miller’s control was iffy last season with 3.3 walks per nine innings and he served 24 homers in 27 starts. Kelly will begin the season in the bullpen and serve as the fill-in if any injuries strike the rotation.
With Wilson Ramos signing and the list of teams who are serious contenders for J.T. Realmuto shrinking by the day, we’re getting close to a game of musical chairs for teams looking for catchers. The biggest name left in that game is Yasmani Grandal, and Jon Morosi of MLB Network say that the Angels have their eye on him.
The Angels were one of the clubs that was in on Ramos before he signed with the Mets yesterday, so it makes sense. It also makes sense by virtue of the fact that, Grandal’s considerable postseason struggles aside, he has hit quite well in recent years. Indeed, his best offensive season came just this past year, with him hitting .241/.349/.466 (121 OPS+) with 24 home runs in 140 games. And, those postseason defensive struggles notwithstanding, he remains an excellent defensive catcher overall.