The 25 man roster is set and the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals feature many of last season’s team while also including a few new faces. With the death of prospect Oscar Tavaras, the Cardinals had a void to fill in Right field. Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak addressed it by acquiring Jason Heyward, a former highly regarded prospect in his own right from the Atlanta Braves during the off-season.
Heyward will provide the St. Louis Cardinals with a steady presence at or near the top of the order, who can hit for power, steal bases and provide a defensive presence that many analysts and experts say is the best in Right Field in the majors. With his addition in the lineup, an argument could be made that this lineup is way better than the one constructed last season. Here’s my Expectations for the St. Louis Cardinals lineup.
For the last couple of seasons, since Matt Carpenter became a regular in the Cardinals lineup and manager Mike Matheny made the decision to insert him at the top of the order, he has been Mr. Reliable becoming one of the top leadoff hitters in the majors. He is the catalyst to a lineup that doesn’t hit for a ton of power, nor swipe a lot of bags, but does generate a lot of extra base hits and is very patient at the plate. In fact, the last two seasons, Carpenter has been in the top ten in the NL in On Base Percentage, Walks, Games Played and AB’s.
Even though his numbers dropped off last season from the previous year (2013) when he made the All-Star team, he at this point is a proven commodity who plays every day, is amongst the best at getting on base and doesn’t give away at bats.
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Although there is a wait and see approach being taken with Heyward in terms of living up to his potential, the rest of the Cardinals lineup is proven and reliable especially when they reach the postseason. Matt Holliday is certainly a polarizing figure to the St. Louis Cardinals fan base and quite frankly fans have a right to express themselves as they feel.
However, since he arrived via trade with the Oakland Athletics in 2009, he has done a lot of good for the team and as a leader in the clubhouse.
Beginning with 2010, his first full season in St. Louis, he has averaged almost 24 HR and a shade under 93 RBI’s a season with a .295 Batting Avg. Those are solid numbers and his track record in recent years shows that he is more than likely to replicate those numbers this season as well.
Last off-season’s signing of Jhonny Peralta was met with some apprehension amongst fans of the Redbirds but in the end, Peralta did a lot to alter perception. He set the new club record for HR by a Shortstop with 21, drove in 75 runs and hit a respectable .263 at the plate. What wasn’t expected from him was the great defense he provided. Peralta lead the club in HR’s last season which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Any production the club gets from him is welcomed, along with Yadier Molina‘s presence.
The hope from many is that the offense as a whole generates more runs and hits a few more homers out of the park. Although any thing is possible, I anticipate an everyday lineup with Carpenter, Heyward, Holiday, Adams, Molina, Peralta, Jay, Wong and the Pitcher.
On paper that is a great lineup, to go along with as good a bench as the club has had in recent years with Randal Grichuk, Peter Borjos, Mark Reynolds, Pete Kozma and Tony Cruz backing up Yadier Molina behind the plate. That is reason for optimism and the makings of a wonderful season as long as injuries dont spiral out of control. Thanks for reading!
Oct 15, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter (13) celebrates in the dugout after scoring a run during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants in game four of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports