Randal Grichuk is on the rise…
By Rodney Davis
Randal Grichuk is on the rise. Making the St Louis Cardinals opening day roster as a reserve Outfielder, Grichuk provides a power bat off the bench with the ability to play all outfield positions, with Right field being the position most suitable for him.
Last night, during the Cardinals 5-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Grichuk showed not only how good a fielder he is (started in Centerfield) but how mighty a swing he has. Despite going 1 for 4 at the plate, that one hit was an impactful one as it was a 431-foot, 2-run blast that temporarily put the Cardinals up 3-2 in the second inning. He led the club in homeruns during the spring and has perhaps the most potent bat on the team.
That is more of a reason Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny has a dilemma in figuring out how to keep him in the lineup and get him enough at bats to be consistent. I dont mean to sound overly-nostalgic and jump to conclusions since there have only been 3 games played so far, but Grichuk has so much potential and needs to be able to showcase that more frequently.
If that means taking at bats away from Jon Jay or Jason Heyward to accomplish that mission, it may be necessary in order to help Grichuk get familiar with pitchers at the big league level.
Despite his 110 AB’s last season, he is still a rookie and only has a sample size of what to expect on a routine basis.
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One caveat for Grichuk not playing regularly in center field is that Jon Jay’s bat is definitely needed in the everyday lineup because since his arrival in 2010, he has been as consistent a batter as you can find. For his career, Jay has a career average of .295.
However, if Jason Heyward struggles against left-handed pitching as he has shown the propensity to do in the past, Matheny may have no other choice but to take away some of his at bats and insert Grichuk in his place.
We will continue to monitor this as the season unravels but one way or another Grichuk will have a major impact on the Cardinals going forward. Thanks for reading!
Sep 11, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (6) is forced out at second by St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports