Apr 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals former manager Tony Larussa shakes hands with former player Jim Edmonds before the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Center Field – Jim Edmonds
For me, this is no contest. If there is anybody that I want patrolling center it’s Jimmy Ballgame, one of the best center fielders of all time. This means that the “MV3” will be intact and smashing balls for the Cardinals all-time team. Paul Layton laid out his case for Edmonds to be in the Hall of Fame earlier, and I for one whole heartedly support that. Jim Edmonds‘ career line with the Cardinals is really good, .285/.393/.555, along with 486 extra-base hits (241 homers, 234 doubles, and 11 triples), with a total WAR of 37.8 for the Cardinals in his eight seasons there.
Like Rolen, Edmonds’ best season came in 2004 where he slashed .301/.418/.643, hit 83 extra-base hits (42 homers, 38 doubles, and three triples), and a career high wRC+ of 168. Edmonds also finished with over 100 walks for just the second time of his career that year. This was without a doubt the greatest offensive team in Cardinals’ history, it’s a shame they weren’t able to even come close to the Red Sox in the World Series.
The defensive metrics may not be very kind to Edmonds, but Edmonds played a very good center field and did not start to have negative defensive values until his last two seasons in St. Louis, according to Fangraphs. Edmonds’ combined play is why he makes the team, the Cardinals’ have not had anyone close to Edmonds’ ability since his departure and can only hope Randal Grichuk can show the kind of power and be adequate defensively in center, hoping for Edmonds quality defense would be asking for way too much.
Next: Right Field - Stan Musial