Relief pitcher Eduardo Sanchez and rotation prospect Michael Wacha, two of the Cardinals hurlers with the best numbers in camp, have been farmed out in the team's latest round of roster cuts.
I'm not surprised to see Wacha sent down. He's only got a handful of starts under his belt at in the minor leagues after barnstorming his way from the Rookie League to Class AA Springfield in 2012 after being drafted in the first round from Texas A&M. While he led Cardinals pitchers in spring training with 15 strikeout -- Adam Wainwright was second with 10 -- Wacha could use some polishing in the minors.
But Sanchez, who struck out eight and walked two in 6 1/3 innings of work and held opponents to a .183 batting average, will wash out for the second consecutive spring after making an impressive major league debut in 2011.
Sanchez was in a tough spot with only one bullpen slot up for grabs. Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Marc Rzepczynski, Randy Choate and Edward Mujica were pretty much guaranteed spots when camp opened. And Trevor Rosethal nailed down another spot when the Cardinals decided he is a better fit as a reliever than for the fifth starter spot for which he competed against Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller.
That left one slot up for grabs and the loser of the Kelly/Miller dual, Fernando Salas, Victor Marte, Maikel Cleto and Sanchez fighting for it.
Strictly as a reliever, Sanchez has performed the best this spring. But it seems the Cardinals either plan to groom the person who doesn't get the fifth spot in the big leagues instead of letting them go to the minors -- or else the team feels more comfortable with the less flashy but more consistent Salas in the majors than Sanchez.
While I don't think it will be long until we see Wacha in St. Louis, I'm not so sure if Sanchez didn't impress the front office this time that he'll be back with the major league club unless there are major health issues in the bullpen. Disappointing. The guy has serious strikeout stuff.