Apr 24, 2014; New York, NY, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay (19) cannot get to a double by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy (not pictured) during the 6th inning at Citi Field. Image Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos, and the St. Louis Cardinals Outfield Logjam

Michael Wacha pitched a gem of a game last night but St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny continues to stick with Jon Jay in center field even though the Cardinals acquired Peter Bourjos during the offseason.

The problem in center field is the same that happened at second base with Kolten Wong. When managers stick with the platoon system, it makes it really hard for players to find their rhythm and put up some solid numbers. It happened at second base and now Kolten Wong is getting at-bats in Memphis as players like Mark Ellis and Daniel Descalso are now higher than Wong on the organization’s depth chart at second base on the Cardinals roster.

In his first game with Memphis since being promoted last year, Wong batted in the leadoff hole and went 1-for-4 at the plate with a run, RBI, and a strikeout.

While Randal Grichuck was promoted by the Cardinals to serve as a spot starter and a power bat off the bench, the days of Oscar Taveras are looming right around the corner. In his last ten games with Memphis, Taveras is hitting .359 with three home runs, seven RBIs, and six runs scored. He is 14-for-39 in his last 10 games with only two walks and two strikeouts. For the season, Taveras is hitting .321 with five home runs and fifteen RBIs. The Cardinals won’t be waiting too long.

Making the Taveras promotion happen means less playing time for Matt Adams. While hitting .270 over his last 10 games, Adams is currently sitting on a .323 batting average. Unfortunately, this stretch has come with no home runs or RBI.

Allen Craig, whose $31 million contract extension means he will have to play, is batting .190 following last night’s game. However, he’s hitting .205 in his last 10 games, including a home run and 2 RBI in the last two games played. Does this mean his mojo is coming back and he’s due to start hitting? We’ll see. He’s not looking like the same Craig that tore it up last year to lead the league batting average with runners in scoring position.

Back to the center field discussion, a Taveras promotion means that somebody will be out of a job and I don’t think it will be the recently promoted Grichuck. Grichuck’s promotion meant sending Shane Robinson to Memphis. When Taveras does get called up (AND HE WILL SOONER RATHER THAN LATER), who becomes the odd one out? Jay, Bourjos, or Adams?

Jay’s last hit came on April 24, when he had a .300 batting average. Following four consecutive games of not getting a hit, Jay’s average has plummeted to .242, a drop of nearly 60 points. In his last 10 games, Jay has hit .212 in 33 at-bats.

Bourjos, on the other hand, is hitting .095 in his last 10 games but that’s only from a selection of 21 at-bats. If he’s not seeing regular playing time, he’s not able to set up a rhythm at the plate. Jay’s not hitting any better but it’s as if Matheny wants to stick with Jay with the hopes that he starts hitting.

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Tags: St Louis Cardinals

  • Dusty_Baylor

    Good article. I am not a Cardinals fan, but I didn’t understand sending Wong down after less than a month. I especially don’t understand replacing him with a 37 yr old Mark Ellis. Odd.

  • http://onthetopstep.com Bob Hudgins

    It’s kind of a mess. Mr. Baylor is right–I don’t think Ellis is cut out to play every day at this stage of his career. I’m also disappointed in the amount of playing time they are giving Bourjos. All the prognosticators told us Bourjos was going to get a real shot this season. I know he hasn’t been good at the plate. They’re getting very little from the two-hole, and several other positions. It’s an uncomfortable fit right now.

  • jim Reynodls

    Kozma is the answer. Teach Peralto to play third, put Carpenter back a second and Kozma at SS. Kozma can hit almost as good as Wond and Ellis and the defense will be better. Kozmas’ hitting will improve with time. Remember Ozzie took many years before he helped the team very much with the bat.

  • Darrah Schroederer

    The author is implying that Adams will be sent down before Grichuck. Ridiculous. Craig is averaging .190 this season, but in his last ten games he’s batting .205 and his “mojo is coming back”. Absurd. The writer is a fan w/ a lack of sense….

    • Daniel Solzman

      Nope. I NEVER said that Adams will be sent down. When Oscar Taveras is promoted, somebody is going to be the odd person out in the outfield. Adams is a ONE POSITION player, meaning he can only play first base or come off the bench as a pinch hitter. The Cards aren’t going to not play Craig when they signed him to an extension. The same goes for Carpenter, Holliday, and Molina.

      Craig has a hitting streak going right now–which is a GOOD THING because it means he’s finally getting some good at bats and not hitting below the Mendoza line. I expect the momentum to carry into May.