According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold, the Cardinals will call up 2012 first-round pick Marco Gonzales to start their Wednesday game against the Colorado Rockies. Gonzales, a 22-year-old lefthander taken out of Gonzaga, will become the second Cardinal first-rounder in as many years to make their big-league debut a year after being selected, following Michael Wacha in 2013.
Gonzales is certainly being fast-tracked, as he’s only thrown seven games at Double-A Springfield after being promoted from High-A Palm Beach in mid-May. He’s done very well there, posting a 2.33 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .220 average. It’s not very surprising that he has advanced so quickly, though, as many analysts predicted that he would move rapidly as soon as he was selected last year.
He’ll likely get a few opportunities in the rotation before righthander Joe Kelly is fully recovered from his hamstring injury and ready to return. Kelly will make his first rehab start on Friday, and will likely need at least one more after that before he’s ready to return to the majors.
Reliever Eric Fornataro, called up today, would seem to be the most likely candidate to return to Triple-A upon Gonzalez’s promotion. Lefty Nick Greenwood, who has thrown extended innings over the past week, could also be an option. To clear a 40-man roster space for Gonzales, the Cardinals could designate injured reliever Keith Butler for assignment, since he had Tommy John surgery last month and won’t be able to come back for at least a year. If they decide that it’s too risky to try to get Butler through waivers, Double-A outfielders Rafael Ortega and Mike O’Neill could also be candidates for removal.