With newcomers in the mix, how does the infield line up for the Cards in 2016?
Question from Kevin Reynolds(@deckacards)-With all of that and more in mind, how do you see the Cardinals’ infield alignment, deployment, etc. evolving over the course of this season, keeping in mind the offensive considerations in play as well?
My take-The infield is an interesting place to dissect and here is how I see it playing out.
First base: I don’t think Holliday touches first base this season on the defensive side of the ball. While it’s a nice idea, you have four guys who can play first base if needed. Brandon Moss, Matt Adams, Stephen Piscotty and Matt Carpenter.
Moss will get the bulk of the playing time to start because he has bigger upside than Adams at the moment and if he is back to his 2014 ways, could give the team a much needed dose of power. If Pham and Grichuk go berserk, Piscotty could also see time there. Big City is on his way out. Only problem is, he needs to raise his value. Right now, I don’t see him getting more time than Moss.
Second base: Wong has the starting job, but Gyorko will be a fine backup and also someone who can hammer lefties(.335 OBP, 441 slugging lifetime). Wong played a ton of games in 2015 and got burnt out but saw a lot of his offensive numbers go up. More games helped, but he still put on a decent sophomore campaign. The job is his and he has a slight strangehold on it. It’s not set in stone because Gyorko is here for a few seasons and under contract. In 2016, his presence will prohibit Wong from starting 35 consecutive games.
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta is the starter, but this is where I can see Gyorko getting more time. Gyorko only got 29 games in at short in 2016 but his bat could play a difference at this position. If Peralta sees another offensive dropoff and if his defense starts to slip, Gyorko could slide in and collect more starts here.
Looking ahead down the road, after Peralta departs, I can see Gyorko fighting Aledmys Diaz for shortstop starting duties until another prospects comes down the pike. Peralta was MIA after the All Star Break, so 2016 will be an interesting trek for him. It’s his job in April, but i can’t be too sure of that come September. I know he shouldn’t hit cleanup.
Third Base: Matt Carpenter. Seriously, all day and night. All summer. With Gyorko helping at second and the first base depth across the diamond, third base is Carp’s. Next to Molina, behind the plate, the only sure thing.
Wildcards: Aledmys Diaz will give Greg Garcia a fine run for his money in spring and first half of 2016. I am not saying Diaz makes the team out of camp, but if he keeps hitting like he has since August, it will be hard to keep him in Memphis. Garcia is a fine bench guy and takes a good at bat, but his shortstop defense was shaky at best and Gyorko prohibits him from getting much time behind Wong. Diaz is someone to watch.
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