Question: Who will be the team’s fourth outfielder?
Tommy Pham is the favorite to land the reserve outfielder role to begin the season, but the St. Louis Cardinals have an abundance of potential surprises in camp. Pham’s troubled health history merits a look at who is behind him on the outfield depth chart.
The organization’s top outfield prospects are both in camp, Harrison Bader and Magneuris Sierra. The 22-year old Bader was drafted in 2015 and quickly ascended to AAA Memphis last season. This figures to be the year he makes his major-league debut.
Sierra earned the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year honor in 2014 when he was only 18, but has never played above class A. He projects to begin the year either in high-A or double-A.
Bader and Sierra among the next wave of prospects to keep an eye on. They’ll get their chances in the near future.
Cunningham and Huffman will be looking to make Jeremy Hazelbaker-type impacts this Spring that merit a look at the big-league roster.
Martinez and Anthony Garcia both spent most of their time in Memphis last season, and that looks to be the case again this year. Either could get a call-up during the regular season, but it’s unlikely they’d be given an extended look, especially if the major-league outfield remains healthy and the minor-league prospects progress as expected.
If Pham can stay off the disabled list, he could make a real impact as a reserve outfielder in St. Louis. He’s displayed flashes of brilliance before at the big-league level. This year will be all about staying healthy and performing with consistency.
This is Pham’s job to lose, but the organization isn’t bare at the outfield position beyond the big-league level. Much like Wacha, as long as Pham is healthy, he’ll be on the Opening Day roster.