St. Louis Cardinals: Preseason Roster Predictions Part 2
By Dan Buffa
The infield is a battle between two utility type players. Who gets the final spot?
Aledmys Diaz or Greg Garcia? With no offense to Dean Anna, it comes down to this in the infield. Diaz was signed as a big talent and hit a wall last summer when he was designated for assignment. When he got back, something clicked. From August through the Arizona Fall League, Diaz tore the cover all the ball. The 25 year old shortstop only spent 14 games with Memphis at the end of the season but showed a huge improvement. He projects, if he continues to rise, as a potential replacement for Jhonny Peralta at shortstop. However, it’s more than likely Diaz starts at Memphis and works his way towards the big club.
Greg Garcia finally made the hurdle jump over Pete Kozma last season and saw increased playing time. Garcia can play second and shortstop, and saw his playing time increase from 14 games and 45 at bats in 2014 to 49 games and 75 at bats in 2015. He has a knack for working the count and is a solid pinch hitter. Rust doesn’t seem to grow on his bat after a week of non action. He has the edge over Diaz due to tenure and experience.
First base is a battle between Brandon Moss, the recovered power hitter, and Matt Adams, the young buck who lost his power and is still trying to find it. They both make the roster with Stephen Piscotty as a backup if the outfield gets crowded.
Kolten Wong is the starter at second base with newcomer Jedd Gyorko backing him up as well as starting shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Those three will get the lions share of the playing time up the middle, so there isn’t a huge need for Garcia but I still think he makes the club.
Third base is occupied by the Cardinals best all around hitter Matt Carpenter. Gyorko or even Peralta can spell him at third when he needs a day off every two weeks. Nothing fancy or complicated there.
Starters-Moss, Wong, Peralta, and Carpenter.
Backups-Adams, Gyorko and Garcia.
Next: Outfield: Grichuk/Pham tandem