St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk and Kyle Schwarber, a tale of two bangers
By Larry Levin
For several years, the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans have been awaiting the full, realized potential of Randal Grichuk. In his fourth major league campaign, chances are strong that we’ve actually seen it. The question becomes, now what?
To do a good old fashioned “compare and contrast” paper – remember those from your early school days? – we’ll look at the Randal Grichuk question faced by the St. Louis Cardinals in tandem with the situation of an intra-division rival, the Chicago Cubs young stud, Kyle Schwarber.
But first, some table setting. Grichuk arrived in St. Louis a relative unknown, a Los Angeles Angels prospect accompanying big-league speedster Peter Bourjos to the Gateway City in exchange for 2011 playoff hero David Freese and pitcher Fernando Salas.
Grichuk was a big deal from a potential perspective. He was an amazing all-state Texas high school player (from the currently beleaguered Houston area), and initially committed to the University of Arizona before he was drafted 24th (and signed) by the Angels one spot before — yes, stranger than truth — Mike Trout.
From the start, Grich was a power and glove guy. Despite some early injuries in his pro career, he proved a home run masher and a defensive wiz, capturing the 2013 minor league Gold Glove as a right fielder at the AA level.
Other than sharing a high draft status, the same was hardly true of Schwarber. A stellar career with Indiana University and the United States national collegiate team preceded his professional life. The Cubs selected him fourth in the 2014 amateur draft, based on his prowess with the stick, and as with Grichuk, he was rated exceptionally high for his raw power.