St. Louis Cardinals: DeJong and Bowman are the latest Cardinal casualties
The St. Louis Cardinals announced that they are placing Paul DeJong and Matthew Bowman on the 10-day disabled list.
Paul DeJong‘s left hand was fractured after being hit by a pitch from Phillies’ pitcher Luis Garcia, while Matthew Bowman is dealing with blisters on his throwing hand. Infielder Yairo Munoz and outfielder Tyler O’Neill were called up to the St. Louis Cardinals in corresponding moves.
While Bowman’s prognosis is not too much of a burden on the Cardinals, DeJong’s absence will certainly be felt in the Cardinals’ lineup. The team’s struggles this year on offense are well documented, and DeJong was one of the few bright spots in the line up. He has slashed .260/.351/.473 over 171 plate appearances so far in 2018.
While he has continued to strike out at an alarming rate, he has made up for it with an increase in walks.
Bowman has struggled this season to the tune of a 5.82 ERA and 1.77 WHIP this season, and has given up runs after starting an inning with nobody on far too much this season. This injury may be a blessing in disguise; any excuse to get Bowman to rehone and relearn his control in Triple-A seems ideal right now.
Munoz will presumably take DeJong’s spot at third for the time being, and he has had some solid run in Triple-A this season. Through 26 games, Munoz is slashing .287/.330/.446 with three home runs after hitting just 13 in 112 games in 2017. He appeared briefly for the Cardinals in 2017, but didn’t look quite ready to match up to major league level pitching. Hopefully, his continued seasoning in Memphis will help him make the leap and be able to compete at the plate.
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O’Neill was acquired last season from the Seattle Mariners in the Marco Gonzales trade, and he has elevated himself to the upper echelons of the Cardinals’ prospect boards. He hasn’t been derailed in 2018, hitting .319 with 13 homers and 31 RBI’s in 113 at-bats. Cardinals fans have been excited for his time since his arrival, and with Dexter Fowler struggling and the roster as thin as it’s ever been, this seems like the ideal time to bring up O’Neill.
Without replacing Bowman with a reliever, the Cardinals are now down to seven relievers in the bullpen. While it may seem like a low number to some, the Cardinals don’t have many other suitable options. Top prospect Austin Gomber is still acclimating to Triple-A, and Dakota Hudson‘s WHIP at Triple-A is still a concern. Another less known name who was a possibility was reliever Preston Guilmet.
Guilmet is a 30 year old minor league journeyman, with over 400 innings of 2.64 ERA in the minors under his belt. He struggled in his major league appearances from 2013-2015, but currently holds a 1.40 ERA and a .111 BAA while picking up 7 saves in 8 tries.
The big concern with Guilmet is whether or not he has the stuff to fool major league hitters. There are plenty of players that we never hear of that can dominate the minor league level, but just can’t quite make the big leap to the majors, and Guilmet is that pitcher right now.
Another possible reliever call-up could have been Hector Mendoza. He is locking things down in Springfield this season, posting a 1.62 ERA over 16.2 innings for Springfield. However, it is hard to gauge his major league readiness considering how much he struggled in 2017. He had a 5.56 ERA in Advanced-A in 2017, so presumably a larger sample size is needed before the Cardinals would call him up to the major league level.
Overall, it’s hard to fault the Cardinals for these moves. The injury bug has been brutal to the Cardinals, so we can only expect so much minor league depth to mitigate the losses.
Next: Changes the Cardinals should make
What can the Cardinals do to win while DeJong is out? Are Munoz and O’Neill the best options, and how much should they play? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.