The reason the St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball is that their starting pitching has been dominant. They've posted a major league best 2.11 ERA, with their worst starter posting a 2.72 ERA. But that rotation took a hit today when Jake Westbrook was sent to the 15-day DL with a sore elbow.
The good news is that the Cards have a AAA pitcher who has equaled the start of his teammates on the parent club. 24-year-old John Gast, a 2010 6th round pick out of Florida State, began the year tossing 32 consecutive innings without allowing a run. Now he's pitched 38.2 innings and has a 1.16 ERA.
On Tuesday, he'll get his first start in the majors.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Jason Motte has been moved to the 60-day DL.
The move will give the Cardinals one of the youngest rotations in baseball. In addition to Gast, there is Shelby Miller (22), Lance Lynn (26), and Jamie Garcia (26). The old man on the staff is now 31-year-old Adam Wainwright. Of course, this should be short lived, assuming Westbrook comes back on schedule. But if Gast does well, he could potentially shore up what has been a shaky bullpen, joining more highly regarded prospects Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal.
In high school Gast was considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in the nation, but he blew out his elbow. Texas still drafted him in the 5th round, but he took the college route instead.
Gast features an average fastball, a changeup, and an improving slider. His problem has been control as he's averaged over 3 BB/9 in his minor league career. To stick in the bigs with only average stuff, he'll need to improve that.