St. Louis Cardinals: Spring Training Check-in, March 3
The St. Louis Cardinals have a slate of starting infielders who will present a solid infield to support each of the Cardinals pitchers.
The 2017 St. Louis Cardinals infield will be made up of Jhonny Peralta at third, Aledmys Diaz at short stop, Kolten Wong/Jedd Gyorko at second, and Matt Carpenter at first. I am including Gyorko here since we aren’t entirely sure how well Wong’s shoulder will handle regular playing time just yet.
Starting with these and moving left-to-right around the diamond, Peralta has appeared in three games and five at-bats. In these he has posted a slash line of .200/.286/.200. While this isn’t eye-catching, he has managed to pick up an RBI and has not struck out once this spring. Will he allow Gyorko to steal third from him?
Diaz, last spring’s surprise player, has appeared in three games and eight at-bats. In these games he has posted a slash line of .500/.444/.500 thus continuing his impressive start similar to the one he showed in 2016. Diaz is quite simply a superstar and I look for him to continue to impress into 2017.
Wong and/or Gyorko will likely man second base. In Spring Training this season, Wong has appeared in three games an eight at-bats posting a slash line of .250/.333/.250. Gyorko has appeared in four games and nine at-bats posting a line of .556/.556/.889. While Wong is likely the better defender, I would prefer that Gyorko- if the trend continues- receive the lion’s share of playing time come opening day.
Matt Carpenter is solidly set to host first base come opening day and during the primary part of the season. He is currently suffering from back issues which have him listed as day-to-day. This isn’t that big of a deal right now but could become a major issue in the season.
Through Thursday, Carpenter has appeared in three games and five at-bats posting a slash line of .200/.167/.800. In other words, when he connects with pitches they go a long way. To this point, he has smashed a total of three RBIs this spring and one home run. He will do well, I think, in the number three spot in the order.
Let me devote some special space here for Matt Adams. Oh, Matt Adams… Through Thursday’s game, Adams has appeared in five games and fourteen at-bats posting a miserable .143/.143/.357. These numbers do not seem to suggest his new batting stance is helping at all. That said, he did smash a home run recently so maybe he is figuring things out.
I am not an Adams fan and my feelings would not be hurt to see the St. Louis Cardinals ship him off elsewhere. The problem there is that he currently carries no value. Alas, the Matt Adams experiment with St. Louis will likely continue. Let’s hope he turns it around.
Other infielders who have appeared in Spring Training games thus far include:
- Alex Mejia (SS; 1.000/1.000/1.000 in one at-bat) who will likely start the season with Memphis;
- Luke Voit (1B; .500/.500/2.000 in two at-bats) who will likely begin the season with Springfield;
- Paul DeJong (3B; .455/.455/.909 in eleven at-bats) who is a name to watch but who will likely begin the season in Springfield (though I anticipate a quick climb to Memphis in 2017);
- Edmundo Sosa (SS; .200/.200/.200 in five at-bats) who will likely begin the Palm Beach or Springfield;
- Wilfredo Tovar (SS; .200/.273/.200 in ten at-bats) who will likely begin the season in Memphis;
- AAA-journeyman Patrick Wisdom (3B; .200/.333/.400 in five at-bats) who will definitely begin the season in Memphis; and
- to-be-watched Breyvic Valera (2B; .111/.111/.111 in nine at-bats) who will start the 2017 season in Memphis.
Of these, the regulars in the way of Diaz and Gyorko excite me. Equally, however, Carpenter excites me even though we haven’t seen a great deal of impact yet. Peralta and Wong- to me- are wild cards and can do some real damage against opposing teams should their injuries stay at bay and allow them to play.
I won’t belabor the point on Adams so just jump above and read my ire. As to the prospects, I am high on Valera even though he hasn’t shown much this spring- yet- and am especially high on DeJong. Keep these names on your radar.