It’s time to give some praise and credit to the minor league players who are now in the majors and have contributed to the St. Louis Cardinals this year. Without the minor league connection, especially with Memphis, the Cardinals wouldn’t be in a pennant race.
Probably the young player who has done the most and made the most of his chances is Matt Carpenter. He is the super utility player the Tony LaRussa always seemed to have on his team and although he isn’t quite as “super” as Jose Oquendo was in his playing days, he’s close. This Redbird plays all of the infield positions, except SS and the outfield positions except Center. He’s hitting .312, with a .384 On Base Percentage, .508 Slugging %, 30 rbis with 4 home runs. He leads the team with pinch hit rbis with 10 and over the last 7 days, he’s hitting .500 with a .500 OBP and .700 Slugging %. The “Mini Me” version of Allen Craig, he’s come out of nowhere and has been one of the most important players for the Cardinals this year. Let’s hope Mike Matheny will find a way to get him more at bats.
Another important young player for the Cards this year is Shane Robinson. Playing in the outfield; giving the Cardinals’ speed and defense, he has filled in when Carlos Beltran or Matt Holiday needs a rest. And when Jon Jay was injured, he filled in playing Center Field. He is batting. .250 with a .306 OBP, .333 Slugging % with 12 rbis and 2 home runs. Although he doesn’t have a stolen base, he provides speed and is often called on to pinch run in late innings. I think in the next few years, you’ll see an outfield with Robinson, Jay and Matt Holliday.
Joe Kelly is now in the bullpen but, his performance as a starter was vital as he proved to be an innings eater and also swung a “mean” bat. His 3-5 record is deceptive as he was often on the losing end when the Cardinals gave him little or no run support. He has an Earned Run Average of 3.41 in 68 2/3 innings and struck out 45 while walking 23. As if that wasn’t enough, he had a batting average of .286. His placement in the bullpen is more of filling a need than a demotion and he should increase the effectiveness of what has been a spotty and inconsistent bullpen.
Adron Chambers is another player who has made the most of his time in St. Louis when called upon to perform. Another speedy outfielder, he’s hitting .250, with a .325 OBP and .306 Slugging % to go with 3 rbis. All he needs in more playing time to increase his average and hopefully take advantage of his speed.
While losing a future Hall of Famer 1st baseman, the Cardinals seem to have a glut of players at the position now. Matt Adams is one of the youngsters who has played 1st base for the Cardinals. Since Allen Craig seems to be the heir apparent at that position, Adams would do well to hone his skills as a utility player. So far, he’s hitting .244, with a .286 OBP and .384 Slugging % with 2 home runs and 13 rbis.
While there have been a few others who have been with the Cardinals at various times, I think the players mentioned above have proven to be the most valuable so far. I welcome your comments and/or feedback if you disagree.
As always, thanks for reading. Go Cards!