St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk hits DL, Jose Martinez recalled
The St. Louis Cardinals announced early Thursday morning that outfielder Randal Grichuk was headed to the 10-day DL with a lower back strain, and that first baseman/outfielder Jose Martinez was called up from Memphis to take his place.
There are several things to take note of with the St. Louis Cardinals transaction, mainly stemming from two main points. The first point is Randal Grichuk‘s trade status, and whether or not this is an injury that is affecting his trade availability or a move made because no one is buying for him.
Grichuk has had an interesting career with the Cardinals so far. He has shown top tier power potential in his brief tenure with the team, but has not been able to fully develop it due to other offensive deficiencies. Mainly, his eye has been incredibly poor so far throughout his career, as demonstrated by his atrocious 30% career strikeout percent that has resulted in a poor average.
When he does make contact, he shows a powerful bat that can provide a huge boost to any offense. He holds a .313 career batting average on balls in play, and only makes soft contact 16.7% of the time. While his numbers are on the wrong side of those averages this season at .277 BABIP and 18% soft contact, there’s no denying the hitting potential that Grichuk has.
Most importantly, he is only about to be 26 years old, and people both inside the St. Louis Cardinals organization and around the league know he still has a few years to put it all together.
The other important fact to note is not who got called up, but who didn’t. Fans (including myself) have a slew of top prospects who they would want to see called up. The three notable names in the farm system that we have not seen nearly enough that were kept in the minors once again are outfielder Harrison Bader, catcher Carson Kelly, and outfielder Magneuris Sierra.
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Unlike with Jose Martinez, there are big projections for Bader, Kelly, and Sierra. According to MLB.com, Kelly is the number-two prospect in the organization behind Alex Reyes, and Bader and Sierra rank in at six and eight, respectively.
Bader in particular is the name I would have expected to see get his shot here. He is hitting .293 with 17 homers and 43 RBIs this season with Memphis, and this would have been a perfect time to incorporate Bader. His strikeout rate being at about 25% in the Double- and Triple-A levels is the only real reason for concern here. And it shouldn’t be.
Sierra has also been stellar in his minor league tenure this season and has proven that he can be an asset without power, batting .299/.330/.412 with 20 runs scored and 23 RBIs and only a 14.3 K% in 189 plate appearances for the Springfield Cardinals.
Not only that, he showed he had the ability to play at the major league level earlier this season, hitting .375 with three RBI’s, a stolen base, and eight runs scored. There’s no doubt the speedster would have an impact at the major league level despite the lack of Triple A experience.
Finally, while Kelly wouldn’t be filling the position of need directly, the Cardinals have other players to fill those spots to allow Kelly to come on. I said this before in the Redbird Rants All-Star Summit, but even if Kelly doesn’t play, learning about the day-by-day routine and developing healthy habits under someone like Yadi would be invaluable to Kelly.
That leads to the question of why these guys were not called up. With the struggles that the Cardinals are going through this season, every little move will be under the microscope.
Perhaps the Cardinals don’t want someone to shine as Grichuk’s replacement before he is traded to keep his value up as high as it can be.
It could also be telling of Mike Matheny’s questionable judgment and stubbornness.
It possibly means that the coaches in the minor league systems want to continue working with those players without harming their rhythm, and the major league organization feels no need to desperately call them up and thus no hurry to make moves to compete this season.
Or maybe, just maybe, a dude just hurt his back.
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In any case, Cardinal fans are still anxiously awaiting the arrivals of these three top prospects and a move that will propel the team back into the division race and playoff picture, this move didn’t help either of those things.