St. Louis Cardinals Outfield: Who’s the fourth man out?


With Spring Training quickly approaching the Cardinals have another question to answer, who will be the fourth man out of the St. Louis Cardinals outfield?

Spring Training is a really fun time of year. Fans see the new faces and young talent their team has to offer. We get to see the intense competition in chasing a starting role in the MLB, and most importantly we are all reminded that baseball season is quickly approaching.

Jul 11, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Thomas Pham (60) makes a catch in the outfield against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 11, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Thomas Pham (60) makes a catch in the outfield against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Cardinals have always had notable competition in Spring Training. Most of the time it has to do with the pitching rotation, but this year is a little different. One of the most intriguing storylines this spring will be the situation in the outfield.

Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham. Three of them get a starting role, one of them doesn’t. We will take a look at each of them individually to project who the Opening Day three might be.

Matt Holliday

It’s safe to say Matt Holliday is a lock to be the Opening Day left fielder. The only thing that isn’t a lock is his health. A strained right quad placed him on the 15 Day DL twice last season, allowing him to only play in 73 games. Another important quality for Holliday will be improving his production.

Holliday started off last season in a great way, batting .379 in the month of April. But then he started on the downward slope. He turned in a .273 average in May, still not bad by any means, but a decline from his April numbers.

Only playing in eight games in June before his first quad injury, Holliday batted just .208. He then hit just .207 in the last half of July before injuring the quad again. There would be no postseason magic for Holliday, batting just .182 the rest of the regular season after injury and going 2-for-16 in the NLDS.

So to say the least, a good Matt Holliday normally leads to a good Cardinals team. When he’s on, as was seen in April last season, the Cardinals can do things like post a 15-6 record.

Randal Grichuk

Grichuk was a huge positive for the Cardinals in 2015. We had a little peek at him towards the end of 2014 and saw his positivies, but no one expected him to have a year like he did. In fact, for a little bit there were talks of him being a candidate for Rookie of the Year.

In 2015 he posted a .276 batting average with 47 RBI’s and 17 bombs. He’s also very reliable in the field, currently boasting a 97.7 career fielding percentage. At the plate he has a good batting stance and a smooth swing that, when contact is made, can make the ball fly at any time.

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Stephen Piscotty

One word comes to mind when talking about Stephen Piscotty: Wow. If you were a typical MLB fan you likely didn’t even know who Stephen Piscotty was going into the All Star Break. Now it’s hard not to know who he is.

For someone to come into the majors for the very first time at age 24 and post a .305 batting average in the last half of the season is simply unheard of. Piscotty is not really a power hitter, but a very consistent contact hitter.

Piscotty is one of the few Cardinals that when I see him at the plate I feel content in knowing that he can produce for the better of the team every time he steps up. That’s saying something for this Cardinal fan.

Tommy Pham

Anyone that knows me knows that I love what Tommy Pham brings to the team. Towards the end of 2015 he started playing the best baseball of his career. After many unsuccessful major league stints he finally made use of his late season call up.

He was called back up on August 17th and would remain in the Bigs for the rest of the season. He posted a .302 batting average in August, a .322 average in September, and had a clutch home run in Game 1 of the NLDS.

With the news that he’s improving his diet and getting new contacts to help with vision, that only adds to his upside. Vision is a very, very underrated aspect of baseball. Being someone who wears contacts myself, I know that new contacts can work wonders and shouldn’t be overlooked.

So Who’s Out?

As much as I love the guy, I think Tommy Pham is out here. Like I said, Holliday is a lock for left. Piscotty seems likely to make it with his solid and consistent production. Grichuk likely has a good shot with the way he started last year. If it weren’t for his elbow injury who knows how the season would’ve gone.

That’s not saying Pham doesn’t have a chance. It’s really anyone’s ball game. Spring Training is going to prove to be really important for these guys. No matter who wins I think all four guys will end up getting decent playing time this season.

Next: St. Louis Cardinals: A First Base Battle

Matheny has proven that he knows how to coach a team. He did very well cycling through the outfield depth towards the end of the 2015 season. Expect much of the same in 2016.