The St. Louis Cardinals have relegated a rookie to the bench for no reason. In his short opportunities, he is proving he should be out there more.
Lane Thomas has been the man that everyone has been looking for. The St. Louis Cardinals prospect was called up when Tyler O’Neill went down with a wrist injury on July 30th and has been one of the most frustrating situations this entire year surrounding the way the Cardinals are being run.
That is the most basic way of explaining this point of frustration. Edman hasn’t played outfield since he was in little league, and Munoz is okay in the outfield in a pinch, but not as a guy who gets five starts a week out there. Especially when you have a regular outfielder rotting on the bench.
When given a chance to start on Sunday, Thomas went 2-5 with a triple, a homer, and five RBI’s. Does that not seem like an offensive spark? That was also out of the eighth spot in the lineup… Thomas still has too few MLB AB’s (22) to make a solid conclusion on him, but three homers and a .364 average in that time should at least warrant more starts.
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I wrote a very similar article to this one when Tommy Edman came up. If Lane Thomas is hot, something he has proven yesterday, in spite of his lack of playing time, then play him on a regular basis!
The Edman train has sort of ran out of steam, and while I was glad he played regularly right away, at this point (regardless of his performance this weekend) Edman is a sub-.300 OBP speedster who should not be hitting at the top of the lineup like he is every day. What I want Mike Shildt to do is to play Thomas like he did Edman when he came up and proved he could contribute.
Ride the hot guy Shildt! Lane Thomas hadn’t started a game since April 24th despite being on the 25-man roster now four separate times since then. Thomas had been on pinch-runner duties or late-inning replacement defensively, not even starting once a week.
He is better than Edman or Munoz at any outfield position and has good speed and more pop than either of them. With Jose Martinez struggling since the ASB and now dealing with a shoulder injury, Shildt would be missing a huge chance to catch a barreling train if he doesn’t start Lane Thomas for 5-10 games.
Too bad if he cuts into the playing time of Edman, Munoz, Martinez, or even Fowler. They have been average or below in their chances, and the team can’t afford to not play their best lineups the rest of the season. Step on toes, but do it to win.
Lane Thomas may not be “the answer” in the outfield for the future, but the team is simply not producing enough offense to compete at the level they say they want to. When things aren’t working, the team needs to do something to try and produce different results, Thomas should get a chance to be that answer.