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.
Pirates prospect shortstop Cole Tucker stepped up for an injured Erik González on Saturday and wasted little time proving that he was ready to shoulder major-league responsibilities. After starting the game 0-for-2, Tucker pounced on Derek Holland‘s 2-2 sinker and sent it out to center field for a two-run shot in the fifth inning.
Following the tie-breaking blast, Tucker responded to cheers from the crowd with… perhaps a little more ceremony than the occasion required. He was the second of the Pirates’ prospects to record his first major-league hit during the game, as outfielder Bryan Reynolds also hit a single off of Holland in the fourth.
Jung Ho Kang struck out to end the inning, after which a rain delay was called. The Pirates currently lead the Giants 3-1.