St. Louis Cardinals: Leadoff options are tricky
2. Matt Holliday
Matt Holliday isn’t the first player that screams leadoff hitter. While reading Viva El Birdo’s Joe Schwarz’s new column Thursday, I got more comfortable with this idea and found out that the match was more seamless than you thought.
The first thing one must do in order to understand this idea is put out of your head the type of hitter you want Holliday to be and accept the type of hitter he is today. The 2006-07 Holliday is gone folks. Never to return. The 2016 Holliday is not that bad, especially if he is utilized correctly.
The days of slugging Holliday are buried, but how about this guy who reached base in 40+ straight games this past season. How about the guy who compiled a .400 OBP before he got hurt last year.
Holliday has averaged a .380 OBP his last five seasons and hasn’t finished with a mark lower than .370 since his second season back in 2005. He knows how to work an at bat, reach base and is a smart baserunner. He isn’t a base stealer but you have to actually reach base in order to steal and some of the speedier Cards don’t have that nailed down just yet.
Holliday can hit doubles like it’s nobody’s business and is entering a phase of his career where he wants to remain a starter and produce value for his club. The kind of value that rings in at 3-4.0 WAR instead of a 5-6.0 WAR. A lot of Cards fans think he is done because of one injury plagued season that involved not once but twice tearing his quadriceps muscle.
It’s healed and no one stays in better shape than Holliday. One of the ways the Cards could get smarter is moving Holliday to a spot where he can really help the team. He draws walks. He collects a ton of singles and doubles. He can flat out reach base. Utilize him properly and watch him run.
Next: He can drive 55