Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Like most of us, I am sitting here on a Wednesday morning just sick and tired of hearing about the Super Bowl and wish it were over with already. I dislike both teams and there are players on both teams I just cannot stand. Then I just happened to realize that two weeks from TODAY the pitchers and catchers report for our beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Even though I just got done shoveling snow, again, and it was around 15 degrees outside, a sign of spring is in the air!
It was awesome that the Cardinals went out and made their moves immediately, but from a writers stand point it has been a very tough the last two months with no moves to breakdown, no rumors of any Cardinal deals that might be happening or even a hint of a deal that got away. Instead everyone has known this team was locked down and set to start spring training just the way they were.
Having said that, the non pitching projected starters going into spring training this year are different at six of the eight position from last year. Hard to believe that the team that has been in the NLCS three straight years and projected to win the NL Central again will have such a huge change. The only players that are in their same spot this year are Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday. Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter have moved to different defensive positions, but were in the starting batting lineup from last sling as well. That leaves us with Matt Adams, Kolten Wong, Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos as the complete newbies.
Gone from the starting rotation the older starting pitchers of Chris Carpenter and Jake Westbrooke. In are the young guns, Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha, who got some very good experience last year. Coming back from major injuries that cost them either all or most of the season last year is Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia.
Also having departed for the money is Carlo Beltran and now we finally get to see Oscar Taveras make his major league debut. We have heard enough about him for the past three years and I think we are all very excited to see if he is what everyone has said he is going to be. The great thing is that if one of the many youngsters struggle this year for any period of time, there is another one right behind them waiting for his chance.
The youth movement is no longer just water cooler talk and discussions for people like us on the internet. It is here and now! There is a lot of very good young talent in this organization and they will be taking center stage in just two more weeks.