The St. Louis Cardinals’ 2016 First Base Options


While the offseason is not yet over and baseball’s winter meetings are just getting under way, it seems clear that the St. Louis Cardinals will deal from within at first base.

With so much going on already at the Winter Meetings, lets take a step away and look at a key position that is going to have some decisions being made by GM Mozeliak and Manager Mike Matheny. The biggest question for the St. Louis Cardinals at the moment other than who to sign or trade, is at first base.  Who is going to be on first? No, really? I am not talking about that old joke neither.

St. Louis has three different options that they can plug in at first base, but who is going to be the better fit all around?

Matt Adams

First off, take a look at Matt “Big City” Adams. Adams has been at the big league level now for three full seasons, where he has played every game at first base. Adams is probably the Cardinals overall best fielder at the first base position and his stats have shown that.  The biggest problem however with Adams, is that he has not been the super consistent player the Cardinals were hoping for.

Adams has yet to have a 20 homer season and even with his injury last season he only hit a measly .240 with five homers. As I evaluate Adams, I believe he has the best glove out of all the first basemen that St. Louis has competing for the starting job, he just does not have the ‘WOW’ factor that is needed.

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Stephen Piscotty

This is where it can get interesting for the Cardinals.  Stephen Piscotty has had only a handful of opportunities at the big league level playing first base.  However, I do feel Piscotty is the most complete all around player that the Cardinals do have.

Piscotty has several advantages over Adams at first, but the most obvious one being his offense.  With Piscotty only having 58 more AB’s than Adams, Stephen hit .305 in his short lived rookie season. In his short lived season Piscotty not only hit for average (which is hard to find for most first basemen) but also showed that he has some pop by belting out seven home runs, compared to Adams five.

With only playing 11 games and starting nine at first base, Stephen played above and beyond many of the Cardinals staff expectations. Piscotty did not commit any errors and showed some “flash” with his glove. His stats are short lived, as it was not a complete rookie season in the books for Piscotty. However, his performance on the field definitely was noticed and he will likely be the Cardinals’ favorite to open next season at first base.

Brandon Moss

Moss is by far the most powerful hitter out of the bunch, which the Cardinals most desperately need.  He finished last season with 19 homers between his time with the Indians and the Cardinals.

I like to look back to Moss’s time with the Oakland A’s, which presumably were his best seasons in the majors. His stats were much better than what his career has reflected at the plate during those three seasons in Oakland where he hit 20+ homers in each of his 1st two seasons there. However,  the biggest thing I like to take away from Moss is that his OBP is at .322, which is not the best, but it’s not terrible either. The experience that Moss can provide at the first base position is something that Adams and Piscotty don’t quite have yet.

However, as most of Cardinals’ Nation can agree with me is that Moss struggles to hit the ball. When he does, he hits some majestic shots over the fence, with one that may still be in orbit that he hit off Max Scherzer  last September.  It is all or nothing for Moss and when he is on, he is really good, but when he is off he is really bad. Moss, also is the worst defender of the three, posting negative UZR each year he’s played at first. (according to Fangraphs)

When it comes down to it, the Cardinals do have the tools when it comes to a first baseman. They have the power, fielding, and hitting….the only problem being that it takes three different guys to make up those three core aspects that a first baseman must have.  My only advice at the moment is to sit back and enjoy the ride of the offseason as we have already have had several shakeups within the organization, who know what is coming next.