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Mozeliak not afraid of pushing young Cardinals pitchers

MLB.com @Tom_Singer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There are a lot of reasons for the rest of the National League Central -- and, really, for all of Major League Baseball -- to envy the Cardinals and their perennial success. However, one of the most impressive aspects of their M.O. is the track record for quickly advancing high-ceiling pitchers.

St. Louis GM John Mozeliak attributed the trend to having the nerve to try it and to having the foresight to Draft the right guys to carry it out.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There are a lot of reasons for the rest of the National League Central -- and, really, for all of Major League Baseball -- to envy the Cardinals and their perennial success. However, one of the most impressive aspects of their M.O. is the track record for quickly advancing high-ceiling pitchers.

St. Louis GM John Mozeliak attributed the trend to having the nerve to try it and to having the foresight to Draft the right guys to carry it out.

Most other teams are loathe to hasten blue-chip arms. The Pirates are one that comes to mind -- they habitually frustrate the curious fanbase by adhering to the organizational philosophy of giving every prospect extensive exposure at each Minor League rung. But the Bucs are not alone in such conservative thinking.

And then there are the Cardinals, who deployed six rookie pitchers on their way to the 2013 World Series. And the first-year pitchers included Michael Wacha, who was pitching in St. Louis less then a year after being a 2013 draftee.

Last season included lefty Marco Gonzales -- also a year removed from being drafted. Between them, Wacha and Gonzales had 23 starts and 130 2/3 innings in Triple-A.

"We're just aggressive when it comes to promoting," Mozeliak said at the General Managers Meetings at the Arizona Biltmore on Wednesday. "At the same time, we don't want to push someone to a place where they could fail. We have had a couple of unique guys who have been able to move quickly ... what Wacha and Gonzales were able to do a year out of college. I imagine we won't be able to do that every year, but it's nice to know we do have a few young players who can handle it."

When Wacha landed on the DL in July with a stress shoulder fracture, the Cards faced an emergency and answered it with a trade for John Lackey, from Boston. But under normal circumstances, Mozeliak is not preoccupied in the offseason shopping for veteran pitching help, as are most of his GM peers.

"Having the internal ability to fix your problems is always a good place to be," Mozeliak said.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

St. Louis Cardinals, Marco Gonzales, Michael Wacha