St. Louis Cardinals: Jhonny Peralta injury a blessing in disguise?
While losing your all-star shortstop for an extended chunk of the season is never good news, there could be a lot of benefit to Jhonny Peralta starting 2016 on the DL for the St. Louis Cardinals.
If everyone out there reacted the same way that I did yesterday morning when I heard about Jhonny Peralta’s injury, I’m sure it didn’t feel very good.
My stomach dropped. I couldn’t help but to entertain the “here we go again” thoughts that were popping into my head.
But then it dawned upon me that losing Peralta in the early months of 2016 COULD actually be a good thing. When you think about it, what was the number one issue for Peralta in 2015?
It has to be the fact that he slashed just .253/.317/.308 with a single home run and two doubles in the final month of the season last year. Clearly, Jhonny wore down as we hit the stretch run.
So, in a perfect world, Peralta potentially missing all of April and May would mean that he stays fresh for the entirety of the final 3 1/2 to 4 months of the season and into October.
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After all, Peralta did slash .288/.345/.463 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI in the April-July months last year. By that logic, Peralta in a four month season should be pretty productive, without the lull at the end, right?
At the same time, the Cardinals could get an extended look at Aledmys Diaz in big league action and see if he really is the club’s future at shortstop. Spending the first few months of the season as the every day shortstop in a division like the NL Central could do wonders for his development at the position.
It could be the ultimate win-win in St. Louis, that is, assuming that the transition from Peralta to Diaz is a smooth one.
Diaz could struggle as a rookie Major League shortstop. We couldn’t really blame him too much for that. Jedd Gyorko figures to see plenty of opportunities at short, but there are no guarantees there.
Likewise, this whole plan wouldn’t work out quite so well if some combination of Diaz/Gyorko at shortstop (and the absence of Peralta) results in the Cardinals digging a huge hole in the Central race. That is certainly a possibility, too.
Hopefully, though, Diaz (or Gyorko) is the next Cardinal to step into an open spot and produce like so many have before him/them. At least, if they play solid defense and have any sort of contribution offensively, that should keep the Cardinals afloat long enough to wait out Peralta’s rehab.
Next: Time for Aledmys Diaz to step up
Let’s hope that we got the injury bug out of the way early this year, and it stays away for the remainder of 2016. As inspiring as last year’s unit was in the face of adversity, I’d much rather take on this season as close to full strength as possible and then see where the chips fall in the end.