Keys to a Successful Season
Apr 7, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; A general view of Busch Stadium on Opening Day between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Opening Day is right around the corner, just 11 days away in fact and there is a lot to look forward to from 2015’s version of the St. Louis Cardinals. For starters, the Cardinals will return for the upcoming season, most of last season’s NL Central Division Champions team lead by Cy Young contender and Staff Ace Adam Wainwright, Matt Holiday and perennial Gold Glover Yadier Molina which generally bodes well for the club when the three are healthy.
Year in and year out, the trio gives the team that otherwise is fairly young (5th youngest in the Big leagues in 2014) a great chance to compete and win. Many Sabermetrics enthusiasts overuse Statistical Analytics to justify a players impact. To me, that isn’t always warranted because the Cardinals’ intangibles and recent track record provide enough trajectory for a team that boast a lineup full of character guys that produce at a steady clip practically every year. Instead I want to provide insight into what I believe are Keys to a Successful Season.
John Mozeliak, a former disciple of Walt Jocketty, has long been known to have a brilliant, sharp, tactical mind that knows what needs to be done and when a move needs to be made to keep the fine-tuned machine known as the St. Louis Cardinals running smoothly.
Since 2007, when Mozeliak became the Cardinals General Manager, the team has went to 4 straight NLCS, won a World Series, coming up short in two others and have made the most postseason trips of any club in the Majors during that span.
Knowing for the past few seasons the club needed more of a potent bat off the bench, and due to the untimely death of young phenom Oscar Tavares, Mozeliak made two major splashes in the off season. He acquired once highly touted prospect and arguably the best defensive outfielder in the game, Jason Heyward from the Atlanta Braves as well as reliever Jordan Walden for rising star Shelby Miller and Tyler Jenkins, one of the Cardinals better minor league pitchers.
Heyward is asked to provide some power with a steady average and on-base percentage to go with some of the best defense in right field the club has had in recent years. As reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Heyward himself knows expectations of him are high. “I spent five years at this level with one organization and I still don’t know if I’ve seen the best of myself,” Heyward said. “I would say a fresh start would be good. I feel like that was kind of self-explanatory. Look at it. I do feel that this is the best thing that could have happened to me as far as playing this game, getting a new start somewhere else. Absolutely.”
The club also picked up Corner infielder Mark Reynolds who they hope will provide power off the bench they have been lacking while getting occasional starts at both First and Third.
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For another deep, postseason run and potential World Series appearance, their main stars must be healthy, the rotation has to be steady, and it would certainly help to manage Yadi’s knees and innings caught for the long haul, along with timely hitting featuring more doubles and homers along with a productive bench.
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Oct 12, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) is mobbed by teammates after hitting the game-winning solo home run against the San Francisco Giants during the 9th inning in game two of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports