If the St. Louis Cardinals sign Giancarlo Stanton, here is what the 2018 opening day batting order could look like.
The parameters of this piece is we assume the St. Louis Cardinals will sign Stanton and be in the opening day lineup on March 29, 2018. This piece will not address who will be part of the Cardinal bench in 2018. The focus will be who will be in the starring lineup on opening day.
Even though the Cardinals are expected to pursue a starting pitcher and a closer, this piece will not address the expected rotation or bullpen for 2018. To acquire Giancarlo Stanton, expect the trade to cost the Cardinals prospects and partial salary assumption. I expect the prospects will mainly be pitchers, not so much position players.
With those parameters, here is my projected lineup for opening day, 21018.
- Matt Carpenter-1B: Let’s quit pretending Carpenter can hit anywhere better than lead-off. I know that the front office has dreams of having him hit in the three-spot, but the guy is most productive in the lead-off spot. Carp is a hitter that looks like sometimes he belongs in the middle of the lineup. His 109 walks in 497 at bats, along with a .835 OPS speaks to this. When he hit strictly lead off in previous years, his OPS was even higher.
- Kolten Wong-2B: I hope this is where Wong will settle into after last year’s productive season. He should be a natural top of the order hitter, possibly in the lead-off spot. His speed, with some pop with his bat, make Wong a natural for this position. His .285 BA, .386 OBP, and .788 OPS were all career highs.
- Tommy Pham-CF: Unless something unexpected happens, Pham will be the opening day center fielder for the Cards. In 128 games in 2017, Pham hit .307 with twenty-three HR and seventy-three RBI. He also had a .411 OBP and a .520 SLG. If Pham stays healthy, look for his home runs and RBI’s to improve in 2018.
- Giancarlo Stanton-RF: Enough said.
- Dexter Fowler-LF: Dexter is staying, and it seems like the front office would like him to move to left field. So much that John Mozeliak traveled to Fowler’s home in Las Vegas just to discuss this with him. Fowler signed to be lead-off hitter for the Cardinals last year, but he was most productive batting 3rd or 4th.In thirty games, batting third or fourth, he went 44 for 148(.297) with a .486 SLG. Fowler was also slowed down with leg and foot injuries throughout the season. These injuries slowed him down in center field, and the move projects to help the Redbird defense.
- Jedd Gyorko-3B: In 2017, his twenty HR and sixty-seven RBI, along with a .272 BA in 128 games, proved Gyorko to be a steady bat and defensive player. His .813 OPS was the highest of his career.
- Yadier Molina-C: His eighteen HR in 2017 was the most he hit since hitting twenty-two in 2012. Still a productive offensive player at 35, Yadi led the St. Louis Cardinals with eighty-two RBI. The 8-time All Star and Gold Glover can be moved anywhere in this batting order from fifth to seventh and I wouldn’t argue.
- Paul DeJong-SS: I know, I know. Dejong hit twenty-five HR and sixty-five RBI with a .285 BA in 108 games. Why not bat him higher in the lineup? DeJong also had 124 strikeouts and an OBP of .325. Although it was higher than Yadi’s of .312, DeJong has only 108 games of MLB experience(remember Aledmys Diaz?). If he picks up where he left off last year, I could see him moving up the batting order.
This lineup is not set in stone, even with me. Some may want to move Molina and DeJong up the batting order and that is understandable. A case could be made that Kolten Wong may make better sense at the eight hole and move Pham up to the second hole.
This is just one idea of what the St. Louis Cardinal opening day lineup would like with Giancarlo Stanton. What’s yours? Tweet us at Redbird Rants and let us know.