After yet another stellar performance by Cardinals' rookie Michael Wacha, it got me to thinking that a lot of teams and scouts surely missed the boat on this guy.
Baseball America listed him as the 4th best college pitcher in the 2012 draft and the 11th best pitcher overall.
After he was selected 19th overall by the Cardinals in the 2012 draft, MLB TV's John Hart projected him as a "mid-rotation starter with an elite change".
Then, despite a stellar minor league debut last year, in which he struck 40 batters in 21 innings, mostly in relief, scouts still weren't convinced.
In their preseason Cardinals Top 10 prospect list, Baseball America said of Wacha: "It’s easy to project him as a mid-rotation starter, and he could turn into something more if he finds a reliable breaking ball."
John Sickels of Minor League Ball in his scouting report stated that Wacha "projects as a number three starter, possibly more". While most scouts loved he fastball and change, but showed little praise for his curve or slider, Sickels at least felt that that Wacha's breaking pitches were "better than advertised".
Then, after Wacha's impressive spring training in which he hurled 11.2 innings without allowing an earned run, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler relayed one scout's impression of Wacha. According to that scout Wacha "might be a No. 2. He's at least a 3." He went on to say that Wacha's very good, but he's no Matt Harvey or Stephen Strasburg.
So, the consensus was that Wacha was a mid-rotation starter, perhaps as high as a number 2 starter, yet here he is pitching like an ace. In his last 3 games, including 2 starts in the postseason, he has thrown 22.2 innings, giving up only 7 hits, 5 walks and 1 earned run while striking out 26.
Could all the scouts have been wrong or will the league eventually catch up with Wacha and his stuff?
I, for one, am on the Wacha bandwagon and I'm sure many scouts are starting to jump on board too.