At one point Carlos Villanueva was a top pitching prospect for the Milwaukee Brewers, who looked to have big-time potential as both a stater and reliever. Though things have never panned out as well as they once looked, he has been able to pitch in the major leagues for the last nine seasons.
As a member of either the Brewers or the Chicago Cubs for seven of these seasons he has seen a lot of the National League Central. Today the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they have purchased the contract of Villanueva. By adding him to the roster, the Brewers will see his familiar arm again this season.
Signed to a minor league contract on February fourth, Villanueva has been serviceable this spring. In 11 innings of work he has allowed six runs while striking out 11 batters and possessing a strikeout to walk ratio of 5.5 to 1 .
While his spring ERA of 4.91 was not impressive, the injuries and question marks to the rotation made the addition of the swing man to the roster a necessity. Throughout his entire career, Villanueva has consistently bounced back and forth between the rotation and bullpen starting in 76 games while coming out of the bullpen 314 times.
In 863.2 career innings of work, Villanueva has gone 45-50 with a 4.26 ERA. While he has had some successes as a stater, he is most likely to be used most often out of the Cardinals bullpen, allowing their young arms to get some work at the backend of the rotation.
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Entering his 10th season as a major leaguer, Villanueva has certainly made his way around the major leagues. Throughout his last four seasons he has been an innings eater who has racked-up at least 75 each year. While he has never lived up to being the prospect he once looked to be he has still had quite the career and I fully expect him to remain to be a big part of the Cardinals’ bullpen all year.