Man, I knew that Cardinal fans were down on this guy, but I didn’t know how ready we were to ship him off elsewhere. Sure, he’s been atrocious against lefties at the Major League level thus far. Yes, he hit just 15 home runs in a full season of at-bats in 2014. And, yes, he was only hitting .240 when he went down to that hammy strain last year.
But something still tells me that Adams is going to produce in 2016. I don’t have a laundry list of stats or some kind of magical analysis to convince you of my opinion, just more of a gut feeling, really. I named Big City as my top breakout candidate in one of my first piece’s here back in January, and it would be weak to back down from that prediction now.
Maybe it is the memories from the 2014 postseason that make me think that Adams is due for a big year. Maybe it comes from feeling completely underwhelmed (even with very tempered expectations) by Brandon Moss last year (injured hip or not) that makes me feel this way.
Simply put, I just like Adams, and I like him to win the first base job without much looking back. Go ahead and tell me why I’m wrong, you’ll probably have some valid points to back you up.
Wong will most definitely be the Cardinals’ “starter” at second base, although that tag is probably only going to apply to match ups against right-handed starters.
Wong hasn’t actually been bad against left-handed pitching in his brief career. His .607 OPS against lefties is just 92 points below his .699 mark against righties. He’s hit .248 against lefties compared to .251 against righties in his three-year career.
But, the Cards gave up a valuable, young outfield talent like Jon Jay to get Jedd Gyorko for a reason. With Gyorko’s power potential, he is going to see plenty of at-bats, mostly at Wong’s expense at the second base position.
Peralta isn’t going anywhere at shortstop. His production has been refreshing since he took over ahead of 2014, and he is going to be a key piece in the middle of the Cardinals lineup.
Similar to Yadi, his usage will be limited to an extent (the Cards have plenty of backup options) so that he is as fresh as possible come October.
Anything around the 2o home run and 75-80 RBI range would be fantastic for the 33-year-old shortstop. Similar to Yadi, I care less about what he does in the regular season numbers-wise so long as he is healthy and producing in late-September and into October.
Matt Carpenter put stretches of MVP-like production together in 2016, with a two-month lull mixed in. He was the Cardinals’ top offensive performer, despite being limited (to an extent) hitting in the leadoff spot.
I hope that we see Carpenter in the middle of the order a lot during Spring Training, just to see if he can get comfortable there. If Carpenter is able to swing the bat from a third or even fifth position in the order like he did as a leadoff hitter last year, I think that 100 RBI could be a very realistic number.
If he isn’t comfortable, get him back to leadoff and leave him alone. Most likely, that’s where he is going to end up. He just seems like a natural leadoff guy. If that is where he is comfortable and producing, so be it.
Next: A surprise in the outfield?