Baseball Card of the Week: Wellemeyer's Rookie Card

Ahhh. Welcome to Friday.

You know, Loverboy may have believed that everyone worked for the weekend, but I happen to know differently. We don't work for the weekend. We work for the Baseball Card of the Week. And you know what? I'll bet Loverboy knew it, too. It just doesn't have the right number of syllables.

What I have for you today comes to us from a man named Steve from South Carolina. He included neither a last name nor a city, so I can't narrow it down any further than that, but thank you to Steve anyway.

This week's Card of the Week is a 2003 Todd Wellemeyer card by Upper Deck. This was a timely submission, with as good as Wellemeyer has been for the Cardinals, both for the year as a whole and, especially, down the stretch, where so many other of their pitchers have faded. There was a great discussion yesterday over at Viva El Birdos on the possibility of extending Welley, rather than simply going year to year with him.

2003 just so happened to be Wellemeyer's rookie campaign. At the beginning of the season, he was a fresh-faced, flame-throwing starter prospect in the Cubs' farm system. By the end of it, he was tagged as being a future bullpen star for Chicago, with lots of "closer of the future" talk being bandied about.

Of course, as Cardinal fans, what we recall most about those years of Cubbie bullpens were the constant blown leads, the Kyle Farnsworth implosions, the 125-pitch starter's pitch counts, both because Dusty was afraid to go to the bullpen and because, well, he is Dusty.

The story of Todd Wellemeyer's career, and his success or lack thereof, has always been the story of the walk. When Wellemeyer throws strikes, he's always been effective. When he doesn't, well, that's how a guy with the kind of arm he has gets released by the Kansas City Royals.

He's walked the lowest number of batters in his entire career this season, with under 3.00 per 9 innings. Compare that to his historical numbers, when he walked in excess of 5 (!) batters per nine innings, and it just isn't all that complicated. Sometimes the easy answer is the right answer.

Thanks again to Steve for the submission, and, as always, please send any submissions you may have to me at asaeschafer@gmail.com.

- Aaron Schafer


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