When analyzing the top pitching prospects, one often looks for a combination of both pitch speed and repeatable delivery. Durability certainly doesn’t hurt either, as anyone would certainly prefer continued measured success over a flash in the pan. Combine all three aspects, and you’ve got yourself a bona fide major-leaguer.
Trevor Rosenthal has certainly developed into one of those type of pitchers. The 6-foot 2 pitcher who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 21st round of the Rule 4 draft of 2009. In his first minor league season, which he spent with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, Trevor went 4-1. Break down of that 4-1 record, and you’ll see a few things. Of his 14 relief appearances, spanning 24 innings, he had a BB9 rate of 3.75 and a SO9 rate of 9.75. The walks are a little higher than one would want, but his 26 strikeouts were good for more than a strikeout an inning. His 13 earned runs were also a little troubling, as it gave him a 4.88 ERA on the year. In 2010, with Johnson City, Rosenthal appeared in 10 games with 6 starts, enjoying a perfect 3-o record with a 2.25 ERA. His walk rate was much lower, at 1.97, though his strikeout rate dipped slightly to 8.44. Still though, with just 24 and 32 innings behind him in those 2 years, there wasn’t a tremendous sample size.
Last year, with Quad Cities, the Cardinals brass took the reigns off a bit. Trevor Rosenthal was given a longer leash, and his innings jumped to 120 1/3 by the time the book was closed on the ’11 campaign. In 22 appearances, all starts, Rosenthal went 7-7 with a complete game thrown in. Needless to say, he wasn’t flying under the radar anymore. His high-90s fastball was accompanied with a side-swiping slider that stymied hitters to the tune of 133 Ks. That many punch outs in just over 120 innings is nothing if not impressive. That’s good for nearly 10 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched! Don’t be fooled by his 4.11 ERA on the season, because his stuff is just downright nasty.
Trevor threw 94 innings this year at Springfield, the team’s class AA affiliate. In 17 starts, he struck out 83, and pitched to the tune of a very respectable 2.78 ERA. His walks were up again, and his strikeout totals dropped slightly, but the St. Louis Cardinals struggles in the bullpen, and their desire to showcase Rosenthal led to his being called up on the morning of July 16. Just a mere 2 days after his call-up, he appeared against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In his appearance, he allowed the Brewers to load the bases, with a hit and 2 walks. It was a bit of a pressure cooker situation, because the St. Louis Cardinals were trailing by just one run at the time. However, he was able to get out of the jam, striking out 2 in the inning, and inducing a groundout. Trevor Rosenthal demonstrated in just his first appearance his tenacity and ability to get out of a jam. Of his 25 pitches on the day, 14 were for strikes. Worth noting even further were the speed of his pitches. Two tickled triple digits, and a good 18 others were 95 mph or more. His second appearance was much less eventful, though the gas was still there. Though he allowed a hit, he got through the 9th inning in just 10 pitches. Pitching at home against the Chicago Cubs, he allowed 3 fly balls, but all found St. Louis Cardinal gloves. The Lee’s Summit, Missouri native showed just why everyone is so high on him — it’s not just the fact that he can throw triple digits with control; it’s his ability to go to the mound with a confidence that’s not easily shaken for a team used to having a good bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal could be just what the doctor ordered. Only time will tell, but I’m betting on the 22 year old lighting up the radar gun, and striking out frustrated hitters for years and years to come.
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