So much has been made of the perceived lack of interest in the BIG MONEY Free Agents like Harper, Machado and to a lesser extent Kimbrel. It also seems that some fans believe that without the addition of a big name/BIG Dollar Contract that the Cardinals have done nothing. Even though we have added two major players(Goldschmidt and Miller). It seems that some fans want to ignore what the club HAS DONE and what they DO HAVE!
Let's look at what we do have on the roster
LF - Marcell Ozuna, The 2018 team leader in RBIs (88) .280/.325/.433/.758 all with a sore shoulder Which has been dealt with and according Ozuna's rehab work has gone well and he showed up to Spring Training early. All of this points to a better year in 2019.
CF - Harrison Bader, It has been a very long time since we have had a Center Fielder with Bader's speed and defense. With a slash of .264/.334/.422/.756 in a somewhat limited 379 ABs. He sported an 83% stolen base success rate. All while playing excellent defense compiling a Range Factor/9 of 2.61and a Range Factor/game of 2.35 playing all three OF positions. Even more impressive is the 2.82 RF/9 and a 2.61 RF/G for CF Both of which are well over the league average.
RF - Dexter Fowler, Jose Martinez A tale of two players Fowler had the absolute worst season a player could have .180/.278/.298/.576. Martinez was the most consistent hitter for the last two years, posting 305/.364/.457/.821 in 2018 Defensively it is a different story Martinez is a -22 DRS in RF the last 2 seasons, while Fowler is a -5. Neither are ideal, but if Fowler can get back to 2017 numbers offensively he would be a solid option. I can see (IF Fowler can shake off last year) a platoon situation could exist with him and Martinez. A Wild Card in all of this is Tyler O'Neil in only 130 AB put up a .254/.303/.500/.803 with 9 HRs. The down side is his SO rate. However with a DRS of 6 and a RF/9 of 2.01and an RF/G of 1.45 He is more than adequate defensively
1B - Paul Goldschmidt A 6 time All-Star, 3 time Gold Glover Career .297/.398/.532/.930 Is obviously becomes one of the most feared hitters the Cardinals have had in quite some time. Averaging 31 HRs and 102 RBIs over the last 4 years makes him a top run producer for ANY team.
2B - Kolten Wong His defense in 2018 Gold Glove worthy with a 19 DRS. a RF/9 of 4.73. However with a rather pedestrian .249/.443/.388/.720. Largely due to a terrible first half, of .213/.304/.361/.665. His second half however .317/.384/.439/.823 showed what is possible. I think if played consistently he can be a 270 hitter.
SS - Paul DeJong 2018 .241.313.433.746 19HRs and 68RBIs in 115 games. A broken hand sidelined him for almost 2 months Had it not been for that he more than likely would have posted better numbers. .258/.341/.440/.781 with 8 HRs in his first 47 games. Then came the broken hand. He did finish the year in SEPT/Oct with .269/.325/.452/.777 4 HRs and 20 RBIs. in 104 ABs Plus he is the ONLY Cardinal SS in the history of the team to have Back to back years of at least 65 RBIs.
3B - Matt Carpenter, Last year was an odd year for Carp. After a horrendous March, April and the first two weeks in May He seemed to warm up and in June and July he WAS the offense. then started to fade in August turning into an awful Sept. He did have a power surge (36 HRs). His end of the year slash .257/.374/.523/.897. While his arm may be a concern at 3B, It is less pf a concern with a GG like Goldschmidt at 1B.
Catching - Yadier Molina even at age 36 is still a top catcher in the game last year .261/.314/.436/.750 with 20 HRs and 74 RBIs He threw out 30% of runners trying to steal. He is a 9 time All-Star, 9 Time Gold Glove winner and shows little evidence of slowing down.
Jedd Gyroko IF, A reliable IF with pop in his bat. Last year injuries got the better of him ,247/.311/.427/.738 in a limited 351ABs But he has shown Versatility and production
Drew Robinson and Yario Munoz are both IF/OF types.
Robinson will be in the mix of candidates due to his versatility he can play all OF, 3B,2B and SS. Truthfully are not impressive .204/.301/.366/.667 He did have some good years in the Texas Minor league system. He will get his shot in camp to see what he can do.
Yario Munoz was one of the surprises from last year. .276/. 350/.413/.763 8 HRs 42 RBIs
Defensively he was slightly below average at SS and 2B. and Average at 3B and RF He is the good utility player.
Fransisco Pena, Joe Hudson Back up catcher behind Yadi is a thankless job and limited opportunity.
Pena in 133 ABs put up an unimpressive .209/.239/.271/.510 with only a 7% CS rate and a DRS of -5 he is not what anyone would call ideal.
Joe Hudson put up a slash of .293/.369/.437/.806 with Cincinnati and Anaheim farm clubs. earning him a cup of coffee with Anaheim. He could challenge Pena for the job.
Of course there will be the leftovers from the RF battle. Schildt has indicated he will carry a 5 man bench to start. Robinson is a LH bat but should Martinez or O'Neil win the RF battle would we carry two LH bats on the bench? Robinson and Munoz also can play Of and IF both. Also there is Lane Thomas and Adrolis Garcia to consider as well. So Who the 5 bench players will be is anyone's guess.
Starting Pitching - Miles Mikolas Clearly our top dog last year 18-4 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP in 200 IP. Jack Flaherty182 SO in 154 IP are a solid top 2. Presuming Carlos Martinez current shoulder is nothing serious he completes the Top 3. Then there is Adam Wainwright and Micheal Wacha. You also have Austin Gomber, John Gant who stood out last year as part of the Memphis shuttle program. Also Dakota Hudson could figure in rotation plans if issues arrive with anyone Also Daniel Poncedeleon could be in the mix as well.
Bullpen With the Acquisition of Andrew Miller (Career 3.98 ERA 1.34 WHIP 853 Ks in 725 IP) and the emergence of Jordan Hicks last year 6 saves .359 ERA 1.339 WHIP and 70 SO in 77 innings as a rookie was impressive. Hudson also put up good numbers from the pen last year. 2.63 ERA with a 1.35WHIP. With a 5 man bench that means a 7 man bullpen. With Miller and Hicks virtual locks that leaves 12 pitchers looking at 5 spots
LH options are Chasen Shreve, Tyler Webb, Brett Cecil possibly Gomber and dark horse Genesis Cabrera
RH options are Hudson, Mike Mayers, John Brebbia, Dominic Leone, Luke Gregerson,Alex Reyes and maybe Gant.
I can see a balanced pen of 3 LH and 4 RH.
So for those who want that bright and shinny BIG name with a high price tag. I would ask you to take a step back and really look at what the Cardinals have. You will find a club with a lot going for them.
Thanks for reading
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