The St. Louis Cardinals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010 because a handful of players underperformed. Now, those players have something to prove in 2017.
The St. Louis Cardinals signed outfielder Dexter Fowler and reliever Brett Cecil this offseason in hopes that those moves bring them back to playoff contention. Last season was disappointing to say the least after the team went from winning 100 games in 2015 to winning just 86 in 2016.
This huge drop off in games won was largely because a number of players underperformed. The pitching staff as a whole saw catastrophic drops in effectiveness and performance and the team’s fielding also went from more than capable to little-league-esq. Couple all of this with the numerous injuries and the offensive slumps the Cardinals experienced and you have a recipe for failure.
Entering 2017, the St. Louis Cardinals as a whole are feeling the pressure. Their biggest rival, the Chicago Cubs, won the 2016 World Series and don’t look like they will be slowing down anytime soon. The Pittsburgh Pirates are also hanging around while the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds have been nearing the end of their rebuilds and could threaten sooner than later.
But while the club is feeling pressure, there are specific players that are truly feeling the heat. There are some that need to perform this year to keep their jobs or to secure the next contract. Some may even need to show what they got in order to stay in the major leagues. The MLB is a tough industry to break into as a player and it can be even tougher to stay in. The following five players have something more to prove in 2017 than the rest of the team.