St. Louis Cardinals: Five Winners from 2017 Spring Training
St. Louis Cardinals winner number five: Jose Martinez.
Another surprise story in Spring Training, Jose Martinez finished spring showcasing similar offensive production to Adams with a .380 batting average, four home runs and fifteen RBIs. He proved versatile within the field as well, earning starts at both corner outfield positions and first base.
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Within a matter of six months, Martinez worked his way up from a September call-up to the team’s probable fifth outfielder. This transition speaks volumes to the career Martinez has embraced up to this point. The 28-year-old bounced around minor league systems for four different organizations before making his Major League debut last year.
Martinez, who has sixty-one career minor league home runs, will offer some pop that the team lost through the offseason departures of Matt Holliday and Brandon Moss. He will likely be used as a defensive specialist and pinch-hit roles similar to what Tommy Pham, who was recently assigned to Memphis, held last year.
Who this affects most?
Immediately, Martinez’s surge has the largest impact on Pham, who served as the team’s fourth outfielder last season and was expected to make the roster cut before a disappointing camp. This could also delay opportunities for other prospects like Anthony Garcia.
Regular season goal
Martinez has an opportunity to become one of the team’s top pinch-hitters in 2017, so leading the team with at least double-digit pinch-hits would be a reasonable goal as a start for the slugger. Depending on his exposure, another statistical benchmark could be ten home runs and forty RBIs.
Next: St. Louis Cardinals: Cubs vs. Cardinals Series Preview
It remains to be seen how much of an impact these five players make on the 2017 season, but all used the Spring Training to show just how important of a role each could play for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals begin the 2017 season on Sunday.