St. Louis Cardinals: Best Starting Lineup

michaeldavidmiles
Apr 11, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; A detailed view of St. Louis Cardinals world series trophies before the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; A detailed view of St. Louis Cardinals world series trophies before the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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While we should celebrate the recent outstanding performance by the St. Louis Cardinals, is there a better lineup hiding in the stats than the one that manager Mike Matheny puts on the field nightly?

Are recent up-and-comers showing, despite the best quote of the century from Jason Heyward, that the young guns of the St. Louis Cardinals have turned things around for the club?  Players such as Jeremy Hazelbaker, and Aledmys Diaz, and even Stephen Piscotty are showing great at-bats.

All of that aside, or rather taking all of that into account, do the stats of the first seven games of the season present a smarter starting lineup than Mike Matheny puts on the field nightly?

Having asked that question, and sometimes being less than an advocate for Matheny, I should denote here that- of late- I am more a fan of Matheny than I have been in the past.  What makes this so?  I am proud that Matheny is allowing players who seemingly want to play, play thanks to their performance.  This is the work of a great manager.

In short, do the stats show that there are better players on this team if they were placed into different lineup positions?  Let’s dive into one potential lineup based on the stats.

The best OBP, batting average, etc. on the Cardinals today is Eric Fryer but we should definitely disregard Fryer when examining potential solutions at any given lineup spot based completely on small sample size.

While Matt Carpenter holds the everyday number one spot, his OBP (a critical piece for the lead-off guy) is currently sitting at .394 after 27 at bats.   Greg Garcia (.700 OBP in 6 at bats) and Aledmys Diaz (.563 OBP in 15 at bats) might be a better solution at the top of the lineup.

Moving to the number three slot, Matt Holliday holds this perennially but should he?  Number three is generally an average-driven spot.  Holliday’s batting average sits today at .200 after 25 at bats.  Jeremy Hazelbaker, on the other hand, is swinging a hot bat of late and sees his batting average sitting at .526 after 19 at-bats.  Should Hazelbaker assume this role?

It should be noted that number three in many lineups (including STL lineups of old, read: Albert Pujols) have included players with pop off the bat.  Certainly when hitting, Holliday provides this component but- of late- Hazelbaker has proved capable as well.

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Moving to the power slot of number four, players such as Randal Grichuk and Johnny Peralta have patrolled this position.  Let’s look, though, and see which player is currently riding the hottest SLG: much to my shock, Greg Garcia is holding the top spot with a 1.167 SLG after his six at bats.  Stephen Piscotty, tonight’s number four hitter, is holding a .552 SLG after 29 at bats.

So here’s just one idea for a lineup that could well produce (according to these seven-game statistics):

Greg Garcia- 2B

Aledmys Diaz- SS

Jeremy Hazelbaker- CF

Stephen Piscotty- RF

Matt Holliday- 1B

Yadier Molina– C

Branon Moss- 1B

Pitcher Spot

Matt Carpenter- 3B

I might be crazy but I think this lineup could produce offensively.  I would be completely agreeable, by the way, to swap out Kolton Wong into the 2B role and might even be fine allowing Carpenter to bat number 1 with Wong batting number 9.

Next: What Happens When Everyone Gets Healthy?

I find this stuff fun and will keep an eye on this as the season progresses.  Follow me on Twitter and let’s cheer on our Cardinals!  Let’s have more fun games like the home opener, right?

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