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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

St. Louis Cardinals: Seth Maness is re-defining efficiency

In 2012, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Seth Maness was named the organization's minor league pitcher of the year, which was a pretty impressive accomplishment considering Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez were all members of the Cardinals minor league system in 2012.

Maness won the award because of his consistent performance and approach, which differs from that of the Cardinals' other high profile prospects in that he does not try to throw the ball through the catcher. Maness uses a more traditional approach of throwing strikes, changing speeds and keeping hitters off balance with a devastating sinker.

Maness has used that sinker thus far in his first few appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 and in fact, is using it so well that he is re-defining the term efficiency. Maness is 2-0 during his short stint with the big club and has tossed 3.1 innings while throwing only 18 total pitches.

Yes, you are reading that correctly. Maness has needed only 18 pitches to pitch 3.1 innings and pick up a pair of victories. Maness has only needed to face eight hitters to record his 10 outs and has forced seven of those eight hitters to hit the ball on the ground, resulting in a pair of double plays.

Maness was the perfect candidate to join the Cardinals ailing and struggling bullpen because of his ability to throw strikes, get ground balls and get outs. Maness threw 169.2 innings for Double-A Springfield and walked just 10 hitters in 2012. Yes, that is one walk every 17 innings.

While the rest of the Cardinals young arms dazzle the radar guns and make scouts salivate with electric stuff, Maness is showing that he is the perfect change-of-pace option out of the bullpen for the Cardinals in 2013.

Maness, just like Miller, Rosenthal, Wacha and Martinez, has a very bright future with the Cardinals and should be inducing ground balls at an efficient rate for years to come.