St. Louis Cardinals: Injury prone first base confounds

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 26: Luke Voit
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 26: Luke Voit /

Spring training is often a time of injury for the St. Louis Cardinals and 2018 isn’t shaping up to be any better than years past. This spring, first base- and those who play there- are seemingly catching the injury bug.

The St. Louis Cardinals are essentially toying with fans over Matt Carpenter‘s readiness thanks to injury. There, I’ve said it. From what we fans are being told he is either dealing with an ailing back or is dealing with a shoulder that has bothered for some time.

But Carpenter isn’t the only first baseman to seemingly have caught the injury bug. Jose Martinez has been sidelined as well. While not dealing with his back, Martinez is dealing with discomfort in his left groin.

Let me pause for just a moment and share that I was never aware that my groin involved a right and left side (although it makes sense) until I read of Martinez’s injury.

In their stead, Luke Voit has been taking his turn at first base. While the St. Louis Cardinals would prefer to have none of their players injured, getting to see an extended view of Voit is never a bad thing.

Voit made his MLB debut in 2017 and appeared in 62 games. In these he took 114 at-bats and posted a slash of .246/.306/.430. These numbers impressed but the St. Louis Cardinals would have loved to have seen even more from him. Enter then this stand-in-for-injured-players time.

Voit has appeared in 11 games this spring. He has appeared in left field and at first base (more so now in the wake of injuries). In these games, Voit has appeared 30 times at the plate and has amassed a triple slash of .321/.367/.393. His batting average is on the rise but he has yet to show the power that he displayed last season.

Let me add my two cents here: I’d almost rather have a Luke Voit who can hit than a Luke Voit who can mash. The St. Louis Cardinals have plenty of players who can hit home runs; if Voit desires playing time (or trade value), it would behoove him to be a player who can rack hits with an occasional home run.

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Voit reminds me much of Matt Adams. When Adams made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, he posted a triple slash of .244/.286/.384 — see the similarity to Voit? In his first year, Adams smashed two home runs (Voit smashed four). These numbers aside, they are both first basemen but Adams bats left-handed.

A quick funny aside: in Monday’s broadcasted game, Adams managed to find a hit (something that alluded him in his latter years with the Cardinals) and he stood on first base side-by-side with Voit. I completely believed there was a glitch in the matrix.

Joking aside, seeing Voit is a good thing but the injuries are not.

We can actually wash most of our worry aside as Martinez returned to the lineup today healthy and, even more so, showed Voit that he has the home run need covered as he slammed a 2-run home run to tie the game today. Herein lies more proof that Voit should focus on getting hits and let others hit the home runs.

As it relates to Matt Carpenter, I believe we have much about which to worry. Carpenter dealt with shoulder discomfort last season and with it already popping up, Matty will be limited to playing only first base if he plays at all. The St. Louis Cardinals need a healthy Carpenter over a less-than-healthy Carpenter.

In all honesty, the St. Louis Cardinals need ALL of their players healthy but, we can find solace in the fact that a name such as Luke Voit exists to support and protect both Carpenter and Martinez is a good thing. At least we know that first base has depth, right?

Next: The Cardinals should use a 6-man rotation

Are you worried? Do you think young names such as Voit were elements that kept the St. Louis Cardinals from reaching deals or having interest in deals with names like Eric Hosmer? Thanks for reading and GO CARDINALS!