Another Spring Training Saturday is upon us, which means it’s time to check in on the spring training battles in the Cardinals camp. We are getting closer to opening day, so the battles will start to whittle down the contenders. In many of the positions that we determined were up for grabs, a true front runner has emerged. Are any of the preseason battles wrapped up? Details after the jump.
It appeared that this job was Greene’s to lose since he offered the most offensive upside, but Descalso has really emerged in this battle. It is still hard to say if he could keep the job the entire season based on the small sample size, but it is starting to appear that Descalso will win this role barring a surge from Greene.
This is one of the battles that is definitely sealed unless an injury occurs. As we determined two weeks ago, this job was Carpenter’s to win. He’s done a very good job, but Freese is still putting up a solid OPS and has hit a couple home runs, so he will obviously be given every opportunity to succeed in the role before the Cardinals move to Carpenter.
This battle is getting increasingly harder to call due to the lack of playing time by either catcher. Cruz’s offense has cooled since last week and Anderson has showed that he is stronger with the bat, but obviously there isn’t a lot to decipher here based on the small sample sizes.
This is battle with the most contenders, as six players are battling for one spot on the bench. The popular belief was that the loser of the second base battle would take the utility infield spot, but the play of Matt Carpenter has made things interesting. He doesn’t offer the defensive versatility of Greene, Cora , or Velez, but he offers a much better bat off the bench. Kozma has already been cut, and Adams is cooling off and will probably be among the next cuts so that he can focus on starting at AAA. This battle is definitely narrowing down to Carpenter and Greene with Carpenter having a leg up.
Enter Shane Robinson. Chambers and Komatsu were locked in a close battle with neither player have a true advantage aside from Komatsu’s Rule 5 status. Robinson, however, has really emerged as a solid bat off the bench and a player with three position versatility in the outfield. This battle is definitely heating up.
This battle has been finished. The first four slots were solidified before with Westbrook possibly facing competition from Shelby Miller for the fifth starter slot. With Carpenter possibly missing the beginning of the season and Westbrook looking solid so far, his job is secure. Miller was cut from the spring training roster and Lynn has looked very good in his appearances. Matheny appears to have given Lynn his vote of confidence, so this won’t really heat up until Carpenter returns. Betting money is on Lynn returning to the bullpen, but if he looks better in his starts than Westbrook or Lohse, this could become a conversation.
This handful of players lucked out with Carpenter’s injury, as another bullpen role has opened up temporarily. Basically we are looking at about eleven guys in a battle for three spots. Rzepczynski is in as he looks solid and is a lefty. The question, though, is whether the Cardinals will employ a second lefty. The options are Swindle, Romero, and Fick and only Romero has been all that impressive. He looks like he will win a job. That brings things down to the last spot in the pen. The two standout options are Scott Linebrink and Trevor Rosenthal. The veteran Linebrink probably has the leg up, but, considering the role is temporary, the Cardinals may give Rosenthal a shot to see what he has to offer since he will mroe than likely be sent down when Carpenter returns anyway.
With only a few weeks left in Spring Training, we will begin to see these battles either heat up or end completely. Personally, I have really liked what I’ve seen so far out of the Cardinals, so there is a lot of excitement over how the final roster shakes out.