The St. Louis Cardinals might struggle in a 100-game season
The St. Louis Cardinals have a lot of things to shake out. In what might just be a 100-game season, the team’s unknowns could hinder their chances of being successful.
All offseason, all we talked about in regards to the St. Louis Cardinals’ potential in 2020 was question marks. So much about how the team will look in 2020 is up in the air.
After the vast majority of the roster underperformed in 2019, there is a chance for many — or few — players to rebound. Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, and Harrison Bader are in that category.
There is also the fresh blood that is untested. Sure, we saw great things in small samples from Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas, and Tommy Edman last year, but what will their production be when they are tested in more than 350 at-bats? The looming arrival of Dylan Carlson also makes things interesting.
In a normal 162-game season, the team would have to make a call at some point of when to pull the plug on one of the major league outfielders to bring up Carlson (assuming he’s doing well at AAA).
These are the types of things that often work their way out by the end of 162 games. That is why the Cardinals didn’t make any big moves, they need to know what they have first.
However, there clearly won’t be 162 games in the 2020 MLB season. It’s looking like it will be closer to 100 games. In what will be a shorter season with new divisions and most likely a fan-less environment, can the Cardinals trust the results they get from the players they need to test out? How will Mike Shildt know when the right time is to give up on a struggling player?
In a 100-game season, each game will have much more weight. For teams with a lot of uncertainty, they can’t afford to sit around and wait to see if a player on a month-long slump will come out of it.
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The best roster needs to be on the field as much as possible.
Given historical situations of how this team has been run, this is a big problem for 2020. Skip back to last year for a moment. Between the months of June and July, Harrison Bader batted just .130 over 46 games. It took the team that long to make a change and send him down. Even when they did, the Cardinals didn’t call up Randy Arozarena who had an OPS over 1.000 at AAA on the year.
They waited until mid-August to call up Arozarena and when they did, he had just eight at-bats in the rest of the month and 12 in September.
The Cardinals lack organizational agility, which is going to need to change quickly for 2020 when things undoubtedly don’t go to plan.
It’d be great if the Cardinals plug in O’Neill in left, Carpenter at third, and switch in Edman/Thomas and everything goes great. However, that never happens in the real world.
If the Cardinals change their agility and show a willingness to make quick changes, then 2020 could go well. However, if they choose to die on one player’s hill, they could tank their chances of success in a shortened season.