The narrative all offseason was Michael Wacha this and Michael Wacha that. The kid sensation from Texas A&M was a once in a generation talent that should be admired for what he is – rare. Stories like that just don’t happen all that often.
Good luck, Marco Gonzales huh? Try being the 1st round pick immediately following Wacha into the Cardinals organization. Anything less than being the NLCS MVP is practically considered disappointing around here.
Well, what do ya know? Gonzales is following right in Wacha’s footsteps. Now, let’s be honest here for a second. The latest 1st rounder won’t be doing what his predecessor did. The Gonzaga alum isn’t even in the rotation, let alone getting an opportunity to beat a team like the Dodgers in October.
So there – likely – won’t be any MVPs in Gonzales’s future. At least for this season.
But the fact Marco has put himself in a position to quite possibly make the playoff roster is incredible in itself. Remember, rookies rarely have an impact this early. If Wacha didn’t exist, much more would be getting made of the fact the Cardinals 1st round pick from a season ago is even in consideration for a playoff roster spot.
However, since Wacha not only made the roster last year but he also nearly won the World Series for the Cards, what Gonzales is doing isn’t looked at as all that impressive.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The St. Louis Cardinals ability to draft guys that aren’t just talented but flat out fit their system and their development style is second to no one. This really and truly is the best organization in all of Major League Baseball. They might not be the best team. The Angels are still flirting with 100 wins this year.
But the Angels aren’t the Cardinals. No one is. No one drafts, develops, rinses and repeats like the local St. Louis club.
Just look at the guys making impacts for the team. Matt Carpenter? Draft pick. Kolten Wong? Draft pick. Matt Adams, Yadier Molina, Jon Jay, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller? All draft picks. Trevor Rosenthal, Sam Freeman….
You get the idea.
The Cardinals have taken the strategy the last few years of selecting polished college players (Wacha, Gonzales, Luke Weaver) along with high school kids (Rob Kaminsky, Jack Flaherty). That gives them help now and help later.
Not everyone works out. But Marco Gonzales certainly is. And the Cardinals are much better for it.