It's Miller Time in St. Louis


The Shelby Miller Era is all set to begin here in Cardinal Land. The Cards are calling up their young fireballer today; he should be en route already, as a matter of fact, as the team is hoping to have him available for tonight's tilt against the New York Mets

It's an exciting day for Cardinal fans -- or at least it should be -- despite the team's recent tribulations. We've seen some electric arms join the Redbirds this season, as both Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly have come up and shown remarkable stuff, but Miller is the crown jewel of the Cards' farm system for a reason. His talent is absolutely elite, and since making some midseason adjustments he has returned to showcasing those talents in a big way. 

Since the 30th of July, a period covering seven starts for Miller, he has posted a 61/4 strikeout to walk ratio in 44.1 innings while allowing just 36 hits. For those keeping score, that's better than 1.5 times as many strikeouts as baserunners in that time frame. The only negative for Miller over the past month has been a continued issue with allowing home runs; he's been dinged for five dingers in those seven starts. 

What it all means for the Cardinals is they're about to add one of the most exciting arms in the minor leagues -- hell, really any league, for that matter -- to their bullpen for the stretch run. It's not out of the question we could see Miller make a spot start somewhere along the way, but for now it appears he'll be coming out of the 'pen, hopefully throwing the kind of smoke we've all been hoping to see ever since he was drafted back in 2009. 

Speaking of 2009, this call-up serves as a prime example of just how well the Cardinals did for themselves drafting that year. In addition to Miller, the system's top prospect entering this season, Joe Kelly, Ryan Jackson, Matt Adams, and Rosenthal have all made their big league debuts this season from that draft class. Matt Carpenter, popped in the thirteenth round that year, made his way to the big leagues last season and has become one of the team's most reliable hitters while playing a variety of positions in 2012.There's more talent still in the minor league pantry from the '09 draft, as well. Anthony Garcia, selected in the eighteenth round as a catcher, is probably the team's second-best outfield prospect, right behind some guy named Oscar Taveras. (Who is most likely a top five prospect in all of baseball this off-season, and a strong possibility to win Player of the Year honors.) Keith Butler is a strong relief prospect who made his way to Double A this season.

Jeff Luhnow did some remarkable things in the process of building the Cardinals' farm system to where it is today (and getting himself a GM job as a bonus), but the 2009 draft has a chance to go down as his crowning achievement, the kind of draft that can go a long way toward assuring a major league club's success for years to come.

For now, though, the bigger picture can wait. Shelby Miller is on his way to the big leagues. That's more than enough excitement for one day.

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