Michael Wacha scouting report: Very good, but not Harvey or Strasburg

The Cardinals called up John Gast, and then they called up Tyler Lyons. When both debuted with wins, even some Cardinals executives started to joke that it didn't matter who they called up.

Perhaps, but this week's Cardinal call-up isn't just anyone.

Even some people in the Cardinal organization hadn't heard of Lyons before he was named to start last week against the Padres. People all around baseball know about Michael Wacha, who will make his major-league debut Thursday against the Royals.

If you didn't hear Wacha's name from scouts in Florida this spring, you weren't listening very hard.

How good is he? Here's a verdict from one scout who watched Wacha last year, this spring and again a few weeks ago when the 21-year-old right-hander was pitching for Triple-A Memphis:

Very good, and will likely get better, but he's not Matt Harvey or Stephen Strasburg.

"A notch below," the scout said. "He has three solid pitches, his stuff is better than average, he can really pitch, and he's got great makeup. He's good, but his stuff doesn't dominate the way Harvey or Strasburg does.

"He might be a No. 2 [starter]. He's at least a 3."

Wacha didn't allow an earned run in 11 2/3 major-league innings this spring. He had a 2.05 ERA in nine Triple-A starts, with 34 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.

"He was more dominating when I saw him in spring training than he was when I saw him a couple of weeks ago," the scout said. "He's good, but I don't think he's Harvey or Strasburg."

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