There are a multitude of reasons why pitching prospects don’t pan out. I believe that, after talent, the biggest reason is health. Every organization has had its share of pitching prospects that have flamed out, or at least have had their career temporarily derailed, due to injury and the Cardinals are no exception.
There is no absolute connection between workload and injury – certain “rubber armed” pitchers seem to be able to throw endlessly without injury (Livan Hernandez comes to mind), but there is enough of a connection that teams are paying much closer attention to pitch counts than they used to, especially with younger pitchers. The depth of the Cardinals system, at least according to most prospect lists, lies in our pitching prospects. The question then, is what has their workload been thus far, and what would be ideal for 2008? I’m going to take a look at five of the Cardinals top starting pitching prospects after the jump.