We didn’t see a 12 in ’12 happen – so, so close – but 2012 contained enough magic and excitement to contend with any championship season. It saw the Cardinals as a team in the beginnings of transition, yet still managing to retain the relentless, heart-stopping drive of recent winning versions.

There were disappointments and frustrations, of course, but they eventually faded in the light of many positive developments over a long season and a revealing postseason. Here are my picks for the best twelve stories and moments of 2012.

12. Tremors Of Trevor

We knew Trevor Rosenthal had potential; he was consistently placed among the top three prospects in the Cardinals’ burgeoning farm system. However, like all prospects, you must hold your breath and hope until they live up to that potential.

Well, it’s time to exhale. Rosenthal arrived fully-formed like the sudden appearance of Godzilla out of the ocean, terrifying baseball with his explosive 100 mph fastball. He made his major league debut on July 18th, and compiled a very respectable 2.78 ERA over 22.2 innings (and a 0.926 WHIP – yikes!) in the regular season.

But it was Rosenthal’s blistering performance in the playoffs that made Cards fans salivate uncontrollably. The 22 year-old never flinched over eight innings of postseason work, striking out 15 while crafting a scorched-earth WHIP of 0.462. Any question marks about the talent and makeup of this kid evaporated in the chilly postseason air.

The only question now remaining: is he a starter or a reliever? He must be one of them on the 2013 Cardinals after his impressive debut.

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