Right Field will show improvement in 2015


Whether it is Oscar Taveras, Randal Grichuk, or Stephen Piscotty manning right field next season, I expect that the right field will show improvement, offensively.

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For two seasons, Carlos Beltran had manned right field for the St. Louis Cardinals but the Cardinals were unable to resign him for 2014 following a qualifying free agent offer after last season. The Cardinals started the season off with Allen Craig as the regular starter in right but then he never hit well this season, possibly because of his foot issues. Right fielders, combined, this season hit .237 with a .326 slugging percentage and .609 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Jun 11, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras (18) smiles prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Image Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
What tends to be one of the most powerful positions in Major League Baseball didn’t even produce the equivalent of a middle infielder. Not counting what the Cardinals right fielders did in the postseason, they only hit nine home runs this season–less than half of what right fielders did this season. That’s less than what second baseman did on average with 11 home runs.

To be fair, the .609 OPS was higher than Allen Craig’s .594 OPS this season.

We know from their performances in the minor league system that Taveras and Grichuk can hit the ball. We know they have talent. With both competing for a starting spot in right field, I expect them to come prepared for a battle during Spring Training in 2015.

During the Monday afternoon media session, both general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny addressed Taveras’ play.

“I think he can be a star, and I think he showed things all season long that showed that,” manager Mike Matheny said on Monday. “You see some things there offensively that absolutely excite you. … I think part of that process is that he’s never been pushed and never naturally had that passion for the defensive side of the game. He’s never had that passion for the baserunning and some of the minor details, which are things that he’s now seen guys in that clubhouse who have been around here for a long time, it’s all. It’s all or nothing. I think that’s part of his maturing.”

Taveras will spend November at the complex in Jupiter before playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

As for Piscotty, there’s no word yet as to whether he starts the season off the bench with St. Louis or returns to Memphis. It depends on what the Cardinals plan to do in order to upgrade their bench. If they decide against tendering a contract to Shane Robinson, it’s possible that Piscotty will have a place in St. Louis.