Seventeen months ago, Michael Wacha was pitching for Texas A&M in the NCAA baseball tournament when the St. Louis Cardinals took him with the 18th overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft. Wacha, who was one of the top collegiate pitchers in the nation not named Mark Appel, signed, and began what can be regarded as a quick ascension to the Major Leagues. By the end of the 2012 season, Wacha was already pitching for the Springfield Cardinals of the AA Texas league. Exactly one year later, Wacha is a key member of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff that is facing off against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.
Wacha made his presence known in his postseason debut, when he pitched seven innings, allowing only one run and one hit. then opened the NLCS in grand fashion, holding off a Dodgers team that was expected to buy the title at the beginning of the year.
Wacha’s postseason performance so far has been stellar, and may draw comparisons to other young pitchers who, in their rookie season, pitched extremely well. Among those pitchers: Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, Rays ace David Price, former Angels pitchers John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez, the list goes on.
While we can’t pass judgement on Wacha quite yet, as there are still games to be played, it is safe to assume that after the postseason, whether or not the Cardinals win the World Series, Wacha’s performance will be one of the most talked about rookie postseason performances.
Part of the reason why Wacha is so good is that he had the benefit of playing Major League Ready talent. Spending two years in the Big 12 conference, with such powerhouses as Texas and Oklahoma, as well as a year in the SEC, with teams like South Carolina and Florida will definitely prepare one for the major leagues better than in a smaller conference.
We will have to wait and see on Wacha, but be on the lookout for another excellent performance by him in his next start.