St. Louis Cardinals Preseason Roster Predictions Part 5
LF — Matt Holliday: Now we’re into the outfield, where we encounter another sure thing. Barring injury, Matt Holliday will be the St. Louis Cardinals starting left fielder. While Matt Carpenter has probably managed to wrestle the title of “best Cardinal hitter” from Holliday, that certainly doesn’t mean that he’s a slouch at all. At 36, he isn’t quite the player he used to be, but I think he still gets undervalued quite a bit, and I, for one, will be very happy to have a healthy Holliday back in the opening day lineup.
CF — Randal Grichuk: Many fans and analysts have Randal Grichuk as the starting center fielder for the Cardinals on opening day, and I don’t disagree, but I do have a few concerns that I need to voice before moving to right field. Right now, it seems that Grichuk is expected to be one of the top center fielders in baseball — and I am not yet convinced. His power is real, no doubt, and could be very solid, but his stats last year were bolstered by a more than healthy .365 BABIP, and if that falls too much, we’re looking at something more like a league average player than a super star.
In short, any player that strikes out 30% of the time worries me, even if a lot of other analysts want to declare him the next great power hitter after fewer than 500 plate appearances. So do I believe that Grichuk will be the St. Louis Cardinals opening day center fielder? Yes. Will I be absolutely shocked if he really struggles in Spring Training and Tommy Pham winds up taking that spot? No.
RF — Stephen Piscotty: In my mind, Stephen Piscotty is as much of a lock in right field as Holliday is in left. He probably won’t be quite the player we saw last year, but he’s a good one, and his floor is high, even if his ceiling isn’t quite as high as a player like Grichuk. With no one really threatening to take his spot in the lineup, it’s hard to imagine he won’t trot out to right for opening day.
Next: The Bench