St. Louis Cardinals: Reacting to Jenifer Langosch’s roster predictions
There were some interesting names left off of Langosch’s projected 25-man roster for Opening Day. In particular, Langosch highlighted Austin Gomber, Alex Reyes, Jose Martinez, Yairo Munoz, Daniel Poncedeleon, and Luke Gregerson as names she believed would not be on the St. Louis Cardinals 25-man roster on Opening Day.
For me, the one that raises the most eyebrows is Austin Gomber, who is a serviceable lefty that the St. Louis Cardinals have tended to overvalue over the past few seasons.
On top of that, Chasen Shreve is in many eyes not someone who is better to have on the roster than Gomber, unless you desperately need that extra starter as minor league depth. Even if you completely disregard the fact that Gomber is signifcantly younger than Shreve, Gomber’s arsenal gives me a better feeling at the major league level.
Shreve simply wasn’t reliable in 2018, demonstrated by the fact that he only threw his fastball for strike 50% of the time, according to Baseball Savant. While Gomber’s 57% is not that much better, he still has plenty of room to grow.
The argument for keeping Gomber off the 25-man roster to start the season is to allow him to work on improving himself without the massive pressure of trying to win for a major league team competing for a playoff spot. Starting the minors might be the most conducive step towards that end. For that reason, starting the season in Memphis isn’t that big of a deal in the long run.
However, it will be interesting to see how this move would affect the Cardinals starting rotation. Langosch also believes that Daniel Poncedeleon will not be placed on the opening day 25-man, leaving the rotation set as Miles Mikolas, Carlos Martinez, Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright.
Many people (myself included) were hoping that Wainwright would transition to a reliever role that would allow him to preserve the freshness of his arm to maximize his impact later in the season, when the Cardinals will need it most.
I love Wainwright, but he isn’t here because his talent is dominating. His role on this St. Louis Cardinals team is to come through late in the season in the most crucial of situations, but it will be more difficult to trust his 37-38 year old arm if it already has 100+ innings taxed on it.
I would personally like to see Wainwright a a reliever for a period of time. Guys like Poncedeleon, Gomber, and even John Gant can serve as starters to fill in the fifth spot of the rotation in many cases, and the Cardinals can work to synchronize Waino’s starts with one of these guys’ minor league starts to allow for a seamless transition into that spot start.
The amount of talent missing the cut just shows how deep that the Cardinals have become this year. Many fans have believed that this team was just a star piece away from returning to postseason contention, and the Cardinals got one for both sides of the ball in Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller.
This opened up the roster possibilities in ways that simply weren’t possible last season, and while it may be questionable to some to see impressive young talent stuck in the minor leagues, it is more a testament to the Cardinals new found flexibility and depth than it is a lack of faith. While these guys may start in the minors this season, I am sure they will get plenty of time in St. Louis in 2019.