A well-respected national prospect watcher, John Sickels, put Rosenthal in his Cardinals top 20 in December, calling the 20-year-old a "low-level sleeper with breakthrough potential."
A Cardinals official, upon seeing our prospect list, foreshadowed the organization's decision to include Rosenthal among a select group of 19 players to early minor league spring training camp simply by asking me where I had ranked the right-hander.
Now, in my defense, Rosenthal was taken in the 21st round of the 2009 draft from Cowley (KS) Community College. In his Gulf Coast League debut, the Lee's Summit, MO native had a decent 26/10 strikeout to walk ratio in 24 innings, but his ERA was almost five.
Moving up to Johnson City in 2010, the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder lowered his walks while maintaining his strikeouts and cut his ERA in over half, to 2.25. Yet what scared me off was just 32 innings pitched, in part due to time out and reduced pitch counts after he experienced elbow soreness during the season.
Rosenthal seems just fine this spring. Over three official games, covering ten innings, he has allowed just one earned run on four hits and three walks. He has fanned 14 and offers a mid-90's fastball with a great sinker. His tailing fastball has made him especially effective against left-handed batters.
Rosenthal's results seem to indicate he is ready to make the jump from being the youngest member of JC's 2010 tandem group of ten to Quad Cities' new six-man rotation, but nothing has been announced as of yet.
In the interview that follows, we get to know Rosenthal a bit.
Other interviews in this series:
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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