Carlos Martinez will get a chance to compete for a spot in the Cardinals’ rotation next spring, but fellow hard-throwing young right-hander Trevor Rosenthal will remain in the bullpen.
Mike Matheny announced that Rosenthal will enter 2014 as the Cardinals’ closer after thriving in that role down the stretch and into the playoff this year. Overall the 23-year-old rookie threw 87 innings with a 2.28 ERA and 126/23 K/BB ratio in relief.
As we’ve seen with other young starter prospects who immediately thrive as big-league relievers it’s often hard for teams to talk themselves into changing their role following the initial success, but in Rosenthal’s case he was considered a top-50 prospect as a starter coming into 2013 and had an excellent track record in the minors.
Of course, with Michael Wacha already in the rotation and Martinez ready to join him the Cardinals have all kinds of stud young pitching to work with.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.