While he hasn’t been tearing up the minor leagues, Max Schrock could be a surprising player if given the chance with the St. Louis Cardinals.
When the St. Louis Cardinals dealt Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics for Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock, Schrock was the more highly touted prospect of the two. But while Munoz has shown himself to be a decent major league reserve, Schrock has yet to get his feet wet in the major leagues.
The minor league numbers on Schrock aren’t eye-popping, but other than in 2018, he’s been solid at every level. Power was never his thing, but Schrock has accrued a minor league batting average of .300 despite only 24 home runs in 1,979 career plate appearances.
With Triple-A Memphis in 2018, Schrock had a down year that likely cost him time at the big-league level. As the Cardinals No. 11 prospect in 2017 and 2018, the team likely wanted to see what he could do at the big-league level. Alas, Schrock hit a subpar .249/.296./.331 line. 2019 was a rebound for Schrock, as he hit .275/.366/.381. He has always been able to put the bat on the ball with ease, rarely striking out, but also not walking a lot.
The 26th man on the Cardinals roster has been speculated to be Rangel Ravelo or perhaps Austin Dean; indeed, they have more power than Schrock, but with his ability to play multiple positions, Schrock could serve as a vital member of the team if injuries strike.
Munoz’s injury, which is currently of unknown severity, could give Schrock a chance if Munoz misses an extended period of time. However, a roadblock by the name of Tommy Edman looms large for Schrock.
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Like Schrock, Edman can play multiple positions, and he could flat-out hit. They have similar profiles in other ways too: not much power (although Edman surprised in that category last year) and the ability to make contact and run.
There was no reason to promote Schrock last year if Edman could do everything Schrock could, but better. If Edman backslides or gets hurt this year, Schrock would be a logical choice to fill in. With the Cardinals’ ability to make great players out of relative unknowns, Schrock could be a promotion away from excellence.
In Spring Training so far, Schrock has shown promising extra-base pop, with two doubles and a triple thus far. If Schrock can find a bit of power, he’ll definitely catch some more eyes and be knocking on the door for a promotion to the major leagues. But even if he doesn’t, there is a lot of value to be had here.
While Schrock likely won’t go down as the best “Max Sch” affiliated with St. Louis, his under-the-radar results have shown some promise, and if the Cardinals are smart, they’ll give him a shot if the need for another player arises.