STAYING WARY OF CARLOS MARTINEZ

> For the second time this season, Shelby Miller out-dueled the ace he replaced in the rotation; giving up only one run in his sixth and final inning.

But he was only first of the Cardinals’ exciting young pitching prospects to be showcased tonight in Milwaukee.  After he was done with the sixth, Carlos Martinez, the cumulative 37th top prospect in Baseball, made his Major League debut having replaced the demoted Mitchell Boggs.

Martinez was good, hitting 97 on the away gun and inducing two ground balls, one of which doubled off a leadoff single.

In the eighth, Seth Maness made his debut He only needed six pitches and got three straight grounders to end a quick inning.

I said last night that a demotion of Boggs would mean either a call-up of someone who either wasn’t ready or just not very good.  Needless to say that as exciting as it is to see Martinez up and doing well, I have my concerns.

It has become a refrain for me, but can’t-miss prospects miss when they are called up too early.  You might not see the effects for a whole year if ever, but you do take some sort of risk when you pull guys up.

Now, the Cardinals seem to be level-headed when it comes to their timing of promotions.  (Oscar Taveras and Michael Wacha are good examples.)  This may indeed be a natural progression of a good pitcher who’s ready to face the highest level of talent and was simply delayed after missing Spring Training with visa issues.  But I have to think that if Martinez was completely developed and ready, he would’ve at least been in the discussion for the bullpen or even rotation prior to or during Spring Training.

Again, we may not see residual effects of this possibly premature call-up for a long time if ever.  But it’s worth keeping in mind that if Boggs had been doing his job, Martinez might not be here.

> As expected, Jason Motte is having Tommy John surgery.

> The offense has plated six runs on consecutive days.  The pitching has been the primary focus on this site this year for obvious reasons, and Carlos Beltran has been the most interesting hitter so far this year.

There’s a new trend in Baseball where the best hitters have been hitting second in certain lineups.  Robinson Cano is doing it with the Yankees, Mike Trout with the Angels and Joe Mauer with the Twins.  I get onto Mike Matheny a lot, but I give him credit for being one of the first guys to put an elite hitter in the two-spot; where statistically the most RBI opportunities can be found.

It has paid off for Beltran, who at age 36 is still mashing with the best of him; landing in third place in the Majors in homeruns this year with no end in sight.

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