With veteran starter Chris Carpenter announcing this afternoon that he is unable to pitch for 2013, the St. Louis Cardinals are very fortunate that they have at least two young pitchers able to step into the gap in Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal. If one of those guys somehow fails to take the spot, there are other options available as well including Carlos Martinez, who is a bit behind Miller and Rosenthal on the development curve but has outstanding upside.
I want to present a dual discussion topic for the community: in your opinion, which of the top prospects should get first crack at Carpenter's spot? Would you go with Miller or Rosenthal? Both performed well down the stretch last year (Rosenthal: 2.78 ERA with 25/7 K/BB in 23 innings, Miller 1.32 ERA with 16/4 K/BB in 14 innings), both have top-flight stuff, both are considered potential top-of-the-rotation guys.
Miller may seem like the easiest answer since Rosenthal has often been projected more as a reliever, but should that be an automatic assumption? Rosenthal made a lot of progress with his curveball and changeup last year, and the consensus now seems to be that he can start given the opportunity.
Anyway, the first question is Miller or Rosenthal.
For the second question, let's say that Miller, Rosenthal, and Martinez are kidnapped by aliens from Zeta Reticuli and can't pitch in 2013. These aliens say that the Cardinals have to pick some other prospect from their system to take Carpenter's spot. If the top three are out, who would you go with? Michael Wacha? Seth Maness? John Gast? Boone Whiting? Someone else?
So, to summarize,
QUESTION ONE: Would you pick Miller or Rosenthal to cover for Carpenter?
QUESTION TWO: If you can't pick Miller, Rosenthal, or Martinez to cover for Carpenter, who would you pick?