St. Louis Cardinals’ Randal Grichuk should start in center


With some roster decisions to come, the St. Louis Cardinals will soon be facing important choices in center field.

So far this year, center field for the St. Louis Cardinals has been quite the adventure, with Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk all taking reps out there.

There are definitely pros and cons to each one of these players, but Grichuk is the answer for the Cardinals in center field. With the well-rounded youngster comes a lot of things to be excited about and there are several reasons why he’s the clear-cut choice to start in center.

The first thing that jumps out to you when it comes to Grichuk is his raw power. Simply put, he can absolutely tear the cover off the baseball.

According to, Grichuk has the second-highest exit velocity in MLB, only trailing Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. This claim is also supported by a .267 ISO – tops on the St. Louis Cardinals.

That just goes to show you that alongside guys like Matt Holliday, Jhonny Peralta and Jason Heyward, Grichuk can go toe-to-toe with anyone on the team in terms of power.

Although Grichuk doesn’t have enough plate appearances to be a qualified hitter, his ISO ranks higher than Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz and Anthony Rizzo.

That is pretty amazing if you just think about it.

Grichuk also boasts the highest wOBA between Jay, Bourjos and himself (.351). This is important to look at also because Grichuk will strike out a lot more than both Jay and Bourjos, but he makes up for it with his power.

Such a fact makes Grichuk’s value even higher, because the Cardinals lack power in the lineup and Grichuk gives them that extra power bat in the bottom of the lineup.

While his offensive value is fairly clear to most, center fielders, more often than not, it’s their work in the field that matters most.

A lot of what you do in the outfield is based on how many runs you can save at your respective position. Between Jay, Bourjos and Grichuk, the latter has the most defensive run saved this season at eight in 361 innings played.

The next closest to him is Jay, who has five defensive runs saved in just over 391 innings played. It is easy to see flashes of how spectacular Grichuk can be when he’s playing in the outfield, and his metrics back him up.

Lastly, when judging an individual’s value to a team, there is one stat everyone looks at – wins above replacement (WAR). Among his competitors, Grichuk has the highest WAR, coming in at 1.7.

Putting Grichuk on the field everyday is something that can help the Cardinals in big ways. If he gets the innings and plate appearances he deserves, he can produce up there with anyone on the team.

He’s a better defender and a bigger threat at the plate. Add all this together and the St. Louis Cardinals won’t have any more problems with knowing who is going to be penciled in for center field every day.

Next: Cardinals Recap: Pham scores twice in win over SD