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Mar 8, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter (62) makes a play against the Boston Red Sox at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Positional Battle Recap

Last week, I broke down which positions are up for grabs in spring training and who the major contenders are. As the Cardinals are only four games deep into spring training, obviously none of these battles are settled just yet. Today, though, I’m gonna look at the contenders’ performances to see if anyone is emerging as a front runner in any of the positional battles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Base

Player P GP GS AB R H HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Tyler Greene 2B 3 3 7 0 2 0 1 1 0 3 2 0.286 0.500 0.429 0.929
Daniel Descalso 2B 4 3 10 3 5 1 1 0 0 2 2 0.500 0.583 0.800 1.383
Skip Schumaker 2B 4 4 9 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0.111 0.100 0.111 0.211

New manager Mike Matheny has gotten creative to get all of the contenders in this battle playing time as it is the position that is the most undecided. So far, Daniel Descalso has emerged as a front runner, but, as stated in the lead, these numbers are obviously a very small sample size. I don’t expect Descalso to keep his production up for the entirety of spring training, but if he doesn’t fall too far he can definitely win this position

Third Base

Player P GP GS AB R H HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
David Freese 3B 2 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Matt Carpenter 3B 4 2 10 2 2 0 2 0 0 2 2 0.200 0.333 0.300 0.633

When I first mentioned this battle, I said that it was more Carpenter’s job to win than Freese’s to lose. So far, Carpenter hasn’t blown anyone away in spring training. If he doesn’t surge soon, then he will lose his shot at the starting gig.

Backup Catcher

Player P GP GS AB R H HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Bryan Anderson C 3 1 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.500 0.600 0.750 1.350
Tony Cruz C 2 1 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.400 0.400 0.400 0.800

Originally, I said this battle was going to boil down to whether Matheny wants an offensive-minded backup or a defensive-minded backup. In an incredibly small sample, Cruz has made it a moot point as he is producing offensively. As spring goes on, if Cruz keeps the offensive numbers close, Anderson won’t stand a chance.

Utility Infielder

Player P GP GS AB R H HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Tyler Greene 2B 3 3 7 0 2 0 1 1 0 3 2 0.286 0.500 0.429 0.929
Daniel Descalso 2B 4 3 10 3 5 1 1 0 0 2 2 0.500 0.583 0.800 1.383
Matt Carpenter 3B 4 2 10 2 2 0 2 0 0 2 2 0.200 0.333 0.300 0.633
Alex Cora SS 2 2 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0.250 0.400 0.250 0.650
Eugenio Velez SS 5 1 7 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 0.143 0.143 0.143 0.286
Pete Kozma SS 4 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Matt Adams 1B 4 3 12 2 5 1 7 0 0 1 3 0.417 0.462 0.833 1.295

We know Skip Schumaker will have a bench role on the team given his ability to play outfield and his contract. The assumption is that the loser of the Greene/Descalso second base battle will have a role as the utility infielder, but there is definitely the chance that another contender emerges to take the role. So far, neither Carpenter, Cora, Velez, nor Kozma have shown anything to give them an inside track on the job. Matt Adams has emerged, however, as someone who needs major league playing time. He is more than likely still going to report to AAA, though, as with Lance Berkman entrenched at first, there won’t be much playing time available for him.

Fifth Outfielder

Player P GP GS AB R H HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Adron Chambers CF 4 1 11 2 4 0 0 1 0 1 3 0.364 0.417 0.364 0.781
Erik Komatsu RF 5 1 8 1 2 0 1 1 0 1 1 0.250 0.333 0.375 0.708

This battle is similar to the third base battle in that it is up to Chamber to win the job. If the two players end up with similar numbers, Komatsu will more than likely win the job since he would have to be returned if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster. So far, Chambers has been slightly better, but there is a lot of spring training left for Komatsu to narrow the gap.

There’s still the fifth starter and bottom end of the bullpen to hash out, but there just aren’t enough numbers yet to really gauge anyone. So far, the Cardinals overall record hasn’t been impressive, but I’ve really liked what I’ve seen so far. Mike Matheny has done a fantastic job mixing old and new players to see what we have for the future. There has also been a good clubhouse atmosphere emerging, mostly thanks to Lance Berkman showing that he can take Albert Pujols place as a team leader. Will the Cardinals win #12 in 2012? We shall see.

You can ‘Like’ Redbird Rants by clicking here. You can follow Redbird Rants on Twitter at@FSRedbirdRants and you can follow Justin McClary on Twitter at @jmcclary22.

Tags: Adron Chambers Alex Cora Bryan Anderson Daniel Descalso David Freese Erik Komatsu Eugenio Velez Matt Adams Matt Carpenter Mike Matheny Pete Kozma Skip Schumaker Spring Training Tony Cruz Tyler Greene

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