St. Louis Cardinals: Preseason Roster Prediction Part One
Left Field – Matt Holliday
Entering the final year of the big deal that he signed back in 2009, Holliday certainly has a big year ahead of him. Now, his manager certainly thinks that he is going to have a career year at the dish and be the offensive force the Cardinals’ need. However, I think we are going to see a bit of what we saw out of Holliday last year, an OBP machine and a doubles machine.
I don’t think we can count on Holliday to hit more than 15-20 dingers this season. I know he’s in excellent shape and he’s ready to prove the haters wrong, but he’s always in great physical shape, and what player isn’t motivated to prove people wrong?
With the rumors swirling around him being in the mix at first, Holliday is a key factor to the Cards season at whatever position he plays. They might not need him to play there, but if ends up there, it opens up a lot of flexibility for the Cardinals.
All in all, I think .305/.350/.500 is a reasonable expectation for Holliday, with around 18 homers give or take a couple. If Holliday is as fresh, rested, and ready as we all hear, I could be totally wrong. However, the power has been declining for years, and guys don’t normally see increases in that department in their 30s.
Center Field – Randal Grichuk
Here we have one of the biggest wild cards in the Cardinals’ offense. There are many concerns about how Randal can hold up this season, but at the same time, he has so much power potential in his bat that one can’t can’t help but think there is at least 30 homers there. My concern is the elbow, is it really healed?
We won’t truly know until he is faced with the opportunity to make a throw from center with the camera rolling. As we know it’s hard to trust the Cardinals’ medical staff, so we will need to see proof that Grichuk’s elbow is 100%.
If this is the case. Then not only does Grichuk have the potential to be a great hitter, he has the potential to be a really good CF as well. It will be fun to have someone with his speed and arm in center, as well as having his power in center.
While most think 30 homers is where Grichuk will end up, I think that he will probably be in the 20-25 area. I know he has the potential, but I am not so sure he will hold up all season long injury wise.
I will certainly be happy if he does, but I am not sure he will. I think a reasonable projection for him right now is .270/.32o/.490. That may be pushing it a bit right now, but if he has improved I don’t see how he can’t keep a line similar to last season.
Health will be a key moving forward for Grichuk, as will the contact rate. If these things don’t hold up, then we could see a move to Tommy Pham, as Chris Greene predicted.
Right Field – Stephen Piscotty
If there is one Cardinals’ player whose 2015 was definitely not a fluke it is Stephen Piscotty. Piscotty burst onto the scene with the Cardinals hitting .305/.359/.494, with 26 extra base-hits (15 doubles, seven homers, and four triples) in just 63 games with the club. Piscotty did have a .372 BABIP which is an abnormally high number, but that number is not indicative of Piscotty having luck.
It simply is an indication of his low number of games and and high contact ability. Many people are claiming that Piscotty is a right handed version of Matt Carpenter, and I think that it is a pretty good comparison for the right fielder. While Piscotty won’t necessarily have the power that Carpenter is capable of, he certainly should provide a decent amount of pop, and Fangraphs’ Carson Cistulli believes that more power is even “possible if not probable”.
With that said, it will be an interesting sophomore campaign for Piscotty. He could be prone to a bit of regression and that is to be expected, but over a full season of play it’s not impossible to see him hit somewhere in the neighborhood of .290/.350/.450 this season. I would expect him to have somewhere in the range of 15 homers with potential for more.
On the high end, we could be looking at a starting outfield capable of producing 60-70 homers next season.
Next: Starting Rotation