Tag: Trevor Rosenthal

Trevor Rosenthal Injury: Updates on Cardinals Pitcher’s Shoulder and Return

The St. Louis Cardinals received a boost to their bullpen with Thursday’s return of Trevor Rosenthal.

Rosenthal hadn’t pitched for the Cardinals since July 24 because of shoulder and forearm injuries.

This comes at an ideal time for St. Louis, which had won just six of its last 14 games entering Thursday’s action while falling behind the New York Mets in the National League wild-card race.

The former closer has had a rough season, compiling a 5.13 ERA with a 2-4 record and four blown saves. However, he noted his pitching accuracy wasn’t what it should have been while he was dealing with the injuries.

“Even with the injury, I felt my arm strength was there,” Rosenthal explained, per Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It was just being able to make pitches and command counts. That’s more important than the arm strength, and having that feel back is going to be what helps me get outs.”

The 26-year-old has proved himself in the past, compiling a 2.10 ERA with 48 saves last season while earning his first All-Star Game appearance and accumulating some NL MVP votes in the process.

St. Louis will hope Rosenthal is not only healthy, but also as effective as he was in 2015 as the team tries to secure a playoff berth down the stretch.

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Trevor Rosenthal Injury: Updates on Cardinals RP’s Shoulder and Return

The St. Louis Cardinals placed reliever Trevor Rosenthal on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a right shoulder injury. 

Continue for updates.

Struggling Rosenthal on DL with Shoulder Inflammation

Tuesday, July 26 

The team recalled Dean Kiekhefer from Triple-A Memphis as Rosenthal‘s replacement on the major league roster. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reported Rosenthal is dealing with inflammation in his rotator cuff.

Rosenthal, 26, is 2-4 with a 5.13 ERA and 2.04 WHIP in 40 appearances. An All-Star in 2015, Rosenthal has struggled all season and lost his closer job to Seung Hwan Oh in June.

“I’m not the first person this has happened to,” Rosenthal said, per Mark Saxon of ESPN.com. “I’m not going to be the last person, and all these guys know I work my butt off and I try every day. It’s all I can control.”

Rosenthal‘s performance hasn’t improved since being removed from ninth-inning duties. He was 0-1 with a blown save and a 5.68 ERA in the month of July and needed 32 pitches to get through one inning in his last appearance, a June 24 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jonathan Broxton should see an increased workload with Rosenthal out, but this may put the Cardinals on the market for a late-inning reliever. Broxton (2-2, 3.89 ERA) has been shaky for most of the season; Oh’s been their only shutdown option overall. With another handful of days before the Aug. 1 deadline, don’t be surprised if St. Louis is working the phones.

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St. Louis Cardinals Boast 1 of History’s Best Pitching Staffs

When Adam Wainwright tore his Achilles tendon in April, the St. Louis Cardinals were left without their true acelet alone one of baseball’s top pitchersfor most of the season. Despite the setback, the National League powerhouse has relied on a pitching staff on pace to challenge MLB record books.

At 73-41, St. Louis owns the majors’ best record in 2015—at least five games ahead of any other team and six in front of a tough NL Central that might produce three playoff teams.

Yet the Cardinals have done so not by scoring runssorry, Bill James apologists—but rather by preventing them.

St. Louis pitchers have allowed 2.93 runs per game this seasonthe best in the league by more than 0.5 runswhile scoring just 3.97 (21st in the league).

But it’s the 2.93 per game that could go down as one of the best marks ever when considering it’s 29.2 percent lower than the league average of 4.14.

The St. Louis pitching staff is one of the best of the past 20 yearsa span that includes both the height of MLB’s “steroid era” and today’s “dead-ball era.”

Its dominance blows away the average MLB team at a rate that’s almost unheard of.

A study by Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal pointed out the Cardinals arms corps is one of MLB’s best of the past century: “Only one team since 1900, the 1906 Chicago Cubs, performed better, allowing 2.46 runs a game compared with a league average of 3.62—a difference of 32 percent.”

Even without Wainwright, who went 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts before his injury, for much of the season, Cardinals starters own a collective 2.77 ERA so far this season.

If it holds up, that would be the lowest ERA by a starting rotation in 30 yearsthe 1985 Dodgers accumulated a 2.71 mark.

Paul Casella of Sports on Earth noted the unusual path the St. Louis starters have taken, though: “The Cardinals have seemed to collectively master run prevention, all without a single pitcher ranking within the top 15 in strikeouts, WHIP or strikeout-to-walk ratio.”

Either way, all five starting pitchers, from the 36-year-old John Lackey to the 23-year-old Carlos Martinez, sit below a 3.00 ERA at the moment.

Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh pointed out the St. Louis pitching staff strands baserunners at a rate no other team in history can match.

Some of the contributions might come from a resilient starting rotation. But the Cardinals employ a bullpen that isn’t shabby, either.

The relievers’ 2.26 ERA is the best since that of the 1972 Pittsburgh Piratesthe only bullpen better since the league lowered the mound in 1969.

More interesting are the members of the Cardinals pen.

There’s the starter-turned-closer, Trevor Rosenthal, who’s tied for the league lead with 35 saves. There’s Randy Choate, a 39-year-old workhorse, and Kevin Siegrist, a 26-year-old setup specialist. Then you have two recent additions in veterans Jonathan Broxton and Steve Cishekformer dominant closers who are now role players.

No matter the name or story, each reliever is capable of entering a game in a jam and shutting down opposing offenses.

The statistics show that Cardinals pitchers, as an entire unit, get more dominant once runners reach base, per Baseball-Reference.com:

St. Louis pitchers allow a .257 batting average when the bases are empty23rd in MLB and 10 points worse than the league average this season.

When runners get on or, even worse, get in scoring position, they turn into monsters and allow batters to hit just .212 and .194, respectively, in those situationsboth marks rank first in the majors by a wide margin.

Sports Illustrated‘s Tom Verducci credited catcher Yadier Molina for his game management behind the plate:

No other club is close to the Cardinals when it comes to the key moments of run prevention: when the opponent has scoring chances. Credit has to go not only to the pitchers, but also to veteran catcher Yadier Molina, whose skills at framing and calling pitchers are most valuable in those pressure situations.

Baseball’s new-age thinking based in analytics claims that scoring runs ultimately leads to winning ballgames. Yet the Cardinals are dispelling that notion in 2015. 

Even the offensive stars in St. Louis have bought in. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter said the following:

We’ve played in close ballgames before. Just scoring runs is not a good plan over the course of the season. You have to play good defense. You have to pitch. That’s how you win close games. That’s how you lead the league in wins, in my opinion.

A team that struggles with creating runs, as St. Louis does, needs to excel in run preventionsomething the Cardinals do.

“I honestly think this is how you win in the playoffs,” outfielder Jason Heyward told Goold, “so we’re going to have a lot of experience built up.”

The Cardinals may be without their bona fide ace, but they have more than made up for the loss. 

Their pitching has them on pace for a 99-win season, according to FanGraphs’ projections, and one of the best overall performances by a staff in MLB history.

It’s safe to say, no matter how many runs the Cardinals score in a given game, they’ll be darned if they don’t allow fewer.


You can follow Dan on Twitter. He’s still bitter the 2011 Phillies and their four-headed monster of aces didn’t pan out as hoped.

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Trevor Rosenthal Deserves Chance to Start for Cardinals

What is Trevor Rosenthal’s long-term role with the St. Louis Cardinals?

For 2014, the answer’s easy. Rosenthal will lock down the ninth. After securing the closer job late last season, he emerged as a late-inning force in the Cards’ playoff run.

But for 2015 and beyond, all bets are off. Or at least they should be. While Rosenthal enjoys closing, he’s stated in the past his desire to start. 

Early in spring training, Rosenthal talked about his situation with Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Starting would be a different challenge. Coming into the organization, I always kind of envisioned that being the end result.

The last time Rosenthal started, he was 8-6 with a 2.78 ERA in 94 innings for Double-A Springfield in 2012. Then he got the call to Triple-A, posting a 4.20 ERA in three starts.

In 2011, Rosenthal had his first taste as a regular in the starting rotation. He struck out 133 in 120 1/3 innings for Low-A Quad Cities. The 4.11 ERA wasn’t overly impressive until you factor in the shoddy defense behind him. According to Baseball Instinct, his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) rate was 3.22.

Rosenthal had struggled in August, as the 7.12 ERA that month hinted at the strains of a workload over a full season. But he impressed the Cards’ front office during spring training in 2012, prompting St. Louis to bump its flame-throwing prospect to the Texas League.

The repertoire is there for Rosenthal to succeed in the rotation. The high-90s fastball is his calling card. The natural sinking action creates plenty of ground balls. The power slider is a great complement. And while he doesn’t use the changeup often in his current role, it was an improved offering during his time in the minors.

In a short period of time, Rosenthal has emerged as an elite closer. And considering the club’s starting depth, it’s a no-brainer to keep him planted in the ninth inning this season. However, pitchers with this type of arm don’t grow on trees. It would behoove the Cardinals to find out if he could translate his success to the rotation.

Winning in today’s game has become more reliant on a strong bullpen. Still, 200 quality innings from a starter offers more value than 70 innings of relief, no matter how dominant.

Jason Motte’s return from Tommy John surgery could factor in Rosenthal’s future. He established himself as a stopper by saving 42 games for the Cardinals in 2012 after excelling in October for a World Series winner in 2011.

Motte’s a free agent after the season. It’s doubtful he’d re-up with the Redbirds as a set-up man knowing the money available on the open market.

Every year, the role is a revolving door. Teams are finding success without a mainstay in place.

Tampa Bay has won 90 or more games in four straight seasons using three different closers.

Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel is the only pitcher to save at least 30 games for the same team the last three seasons. The four teams in the last two Fall Classics each utilized different closers from the pitchers who started the season.

Veteran reliever Edward Mujica had four career saves before knocking out 37 for the Redbirds last season.

Then there’s the money factor.

Teams are increasingly reluctant to pay big dollars for closers. The Orioles decided to trade Jim Johnson, who had back-to-back 50-save seasons, rather than pay the arbitration-eligible right-hander a salary close to $10 million.

Rosenthal may never cash in on big-time starter money like Clayton Kershaw. But even average big-league starters are garnering $15 million or more per season in the current market.

Kimbrel, arguably the game’s top stopper, signed a four-year, $42 million extension. His biggest payday will come in 2017 when he’ll make $13 million. The Cubs are paying Edwin Jackson $11 million, and his ERA was barely under 5.00 last season.

I’m sure Rosenthal is well aware of the discrepancy.

It’s understandable to ask where Rosenthal fits into a St. Louis rotation filled with established young arms and a bevy of intriguing prospects on the way.

Adam Wainwright is signed through 2018. Of Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller, Lynn is the closest to free agency, but that won’t come until 2018. Carlos Martinez could be ready to graduate to the rotation. Jaime Garcia, Tyler Lyons, Joe Kelly, Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney also are in the mix.

So why mess with a good thing?

Rosenthal could fizzle as a starter. He could get injured. Maybe he’d tire after a few innings, lose velocity. Those issues contributed to former Cardinals reliever Todd Worrell moving to the bullpen in the ‘80s. He excelled there.

Rosenthal already is thriving as a closer. But just imagine what he could become as a starter.

You’ll never know until you try.

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Just How Good Is Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez-Trevor Rosenthal Rookie Bullpen Duo?

With the St. Louis Cardinals only three wins away from the 2013 World Series title, the team and its fans would obviously be disappointed if this October run ended without a championship.

Regardless of the series outcome, however, the franchise’s future is bright. That’s largely because it has dominant rookie pitchers under control for years to come, and specifically, two bullpen arms who have excelled on the big stage: Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal.

For those of you who slept through/inexplicably chose not to watch Game 2, a 4-2 Cards victory that evened the Fall Classic at 1-1, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports revisits the penultimate inning of it:

Eighth inning, runner on first with two outs, the left-handed hitting Ortiz set to face the right-handed Martinez. The by-the-book move would have been to summon veteran lefty Randy Choate for the platoon advantage, but Matheny stuck with Martinez, who threw 96 to 98 mph and got two of his three strikeouts on breaking balls.

And MLB.com presents the ninth:

Their combination of triple-digit heat, 1990s birth dates and recent success has the baseball world buzzing:

Does the narrative of a pennant winner with standout rookie relief sound familiar to you? It should.

However, we’ve seldom seen performance of this caliber from major league newbies, much less two such pitchers on the same roster.

Here’s how Martinez and Rosenthal stack up against other 21st-century examples of first-year pitchers who were trusted with high-leverage postseason innings:

To be fair, Rosenthal also pitched in the 2012 playoffs when the Cardinals advanced to the NLCS. Because of his limited service time during that regular season, he retained rookie eligibility for another year. Combining his two October experiences, the 23-year-old has pitched 16.2 scoreless innings.

That shouldn’t take anything away from what he and Martinez have been accomplishing.

The past two Cardinals opponents, the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, were both significantly more productive off right-handed pitching this season. You wouldn’t know it from their recent impotence against this pair. Those offenses have generated a .119 batting average and only one run in 13.2 innings with them on the mound.

Stuff-wise, Francisco Rodriguez and Joel Zumaya used to be electrifying; Hideki Okajima and Adam Wainwright demonstrated awesome command. With that said, Martinez and Rosenthal exceed them all with their ability to combine power and precision.

The question on the mind of every St. Louis fan is whether either of these promising flamethrowers can follow in Wainwright’s footsteps. He has blossomed into the club’s rotation ace. Waino is likely to finish top three in NL Cy Young Award voting for the third time following a summer in which he led the Senior Circuit in innings pitched.

Martinez’s size—6’0″, 185 pounds—may prevent him from completing that transition. The Dominican native possesses a plus curveball to complement his fantastic fastball, but his 106 innings pitched this year is already the highest total of his professional career. There’s understandably some doubt about his body holding up for 30-plus starts.

Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Bernie Pleskoff is of the opinion that Rosenthal should eventually make the leap. His changeup is more refined and his thicker frame dispels any durability concerns.

Regardless of which roles they occupy in 2014 and beyond, the Cardinals should expect effectiveness and a high probability of contending for future champagne celebrations. 


Ely is a national MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a sportscaster for 90.5 WVUM in Miami. He’s hoping to deepen relationships with his fantastic online audience (that means you) via Twitter.

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Jason Motte Surgery: Why It’s Time for Trevor Rosenthal to Become Star Closer

The St. Louis Cardinals are engaged in a tight battle already in the NL Central, and some sobering news on Friday will make their fight to stay alive in that race a little bit tougher.

Closer Jason Motte will undergo Tommy John surgery after attempting to rehab his right elbow for the past month.

Motte made nine appearances in spring training before experiencing pain in his elbow. An MRI at the time showed that he had strained his flexor tendon. With Motte starting the season on the disabled list, it was hoped that rest and rehab would be enough for him to avoid surgery.

The news probably wasn’t totally shocking, but it does add to the woes that have already piled up for the Cardinals bullpen.

Southpaw Marc Rzepczynski was demoted to the minors on Monday after struggling mightily in his first nine appearances. He posted a 7.88 ERA, allowing opposing batters to hit .361 against him.

One struggling reliever was just the start, however.

Earlier in the day on Friday, the Cardinals sent right-hander Mitchell Boggs to the minors as well, recalling Carlos Martinez to take his place on the roster. Boggs was named to replace Motte as the closer and completely spit the bit before being replaced by Edward Mujica. Boggs goes down to Triple-A after posting an ugly 12.66 ERA in 14 appearances.

The starting rotation for St. Louis has been simply outstanding, leading the majors with a 2.09 ERA heading into action on Friday. But the bullpen has been quite the opposite, posting a league-worst 5.90 ERA with six blown saves.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel summed up the state of the Cardinals pitching staff very succinctly.

It’s likely that Motte will need the minimum of 12 months to recover from his surgery, meaning he won’t be ready until early to mid-May of next year at the earliest. That’s the best-case scenario.

It may be time for the Cardinals to unleash Trevor Rosenthal.


Rosenthal is Ready to Assume the Mantel

Rosenthal was groomed as a starter by the Cardinals, and for good reason. He has a fastball that touches 100 MPH along with an effective curveball and changeup.

Everything changed for Rosenthal last year when he was called up by St. Louis in July. He made 19 regular-season appearances, posting a 2.78 ERA and 9.9K/9 rate. But during the postseason Rosenthal was electric, striking out 15 of the 30 batters he faced overall. The 100-MPH fastball was in evidence in both the NLDS and NLCS. He simply turned heads.

Rosenthal reported to spring training hoping to win a coveted rotation slot. After giving Shelby Miller a run for his money, Rosenthal settled back into a bullpen role once again to start the season. Thus far he’s posted a 3.18 ERA in 16 appearances with a 12.6 K/9 rate.

Cardinals fans clearly believe Rosenthal is the closer of the future. With Motte’s injury, that future could begin now.

He got into a spot of trouble in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, but limited the damage to just one run. One fan loved the poise he saw in the 22-year-old.

Another fan agrees.

However, here’s the thing—Mujica has picked up seven consecutive saves since taking over for Boggs. Why fix what isn’t broken?

He has been somewhat shaky in his last two outings, giving up runs in both to make things interesting for the Cards. And there’s also the fact that Mujica was absolutely magical in his role last year as a seventh-/eighth-inning reliever, posting a ridiculously low 1.03 ERA in 29 outings following his trade from the Miami Marlins.

While he’s done a stand-up job as the temporary closer, wouldn’t it make more sense for manager Mike Matheny to set his bullpen in a way that maximizes everyone’s potential right now?

Mujica was dominant in his role last year—there’s no reason to think he can’t continue to be effective in that role again, even as the primary setup man. Matheny can use Joe Kelly in long/middle relief and Seth Maness in middle-relief situations as well.

Randy Choate continues as the left-handed specialist and Martinez and Fernando Salas can work in front of Mujica and Rosenthal. Setting more defined roles and moving Rosenthal now as opposed to later in the season simply makes more sense than waiting for a more opportune time.

The Cardinals have already tried just about everything they can to straighten out a bullpen that has been positively putrid. It’s Rosenthal’s time now, and the Cardinals can’t afford to wait any longer to make that decision.


Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.

Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.



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Picking the Early Breakout Stars of the NL Central

The National League Central is filled with talent, and Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija leads the list of players who are going to have breakout seasons.

With the Houston Astros no longer in the division, teams in the NL Central will face each other 19 times this season. 

Last season featured Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates as the breakout star of the division. There probably won’t be a performance like that from any of the players on this list, but these players will certainly make a name for themselves this season.

This division is filled with young players and it will be a division to watch out for in the future. 

Who joins Samardzija on the list of 2013 breakout performers?


*All stats are from MLB.com

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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2013: 7 Undrafted Players Primed for a Breakout Season

Finding a bunch of players on the verge of a “breakout” season isn’t necessarily all that hard. Finding a bunch of almost universally-undrafted players who are on the verge of a “breakout” season? That’s a little tougher.

Anyone can make a case for the Rays’ Matt Moore, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo or the Mets’ Matt Harvey, all young promising players ready to take the step from good to great as breakout candidates in 2013. But each of them were selected in every draft out there, often in the middle rounds.

The seven players to follow, however, also may be primed for their own breakouts this season—and still may be available in the free-agent pool. So if you need some help rounding out your roster, or if you’re looking for the next who-knew pick-up, dive in. Or at least update your watch list.

Only players with an average draft position (ADP) of 260-plus on ESPN Fantasy Baseball’s Live Draft Results were considered.

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