Less than a year after the Cardinals took him with a first-round pick, right-hander Michael Wacha made his big league debut Thursday night against the Royals. Wacha needed just 93 pitches to navigate seven innings, allowing one run on two hits and no walks while striking out six. He retired the first 13 batters he faced and would have earned the victory if Mitchell Boggs hadn't imploded (again) in the ninth inning.
Wacha worked in the 92-94 mph range and touched 97 with his fastball, and he recorded four of his six strikeouts with his quality changeup. He mixed in a few breaking balls but mainly relied on the fastball and changeup.
Teams are always looking for pitching, especially college arms who can move quickly. Wacha fit that bill perfectly after going 27-7 in three years at Texas A&M. So how did he last until the 19th overall pick last June? Well, the only knock on Wacha, who had two plus pitches, plus command and control and a track record of success, was that he had a mediocre breaking ball. More than a few clubs have to be second-guessing their decision to pass on him right about now.