Possible next men up for the St. Louis Cardinals amid COVID-19 outbreak
The Cardinals definitely need some help up the middle. With both Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa on the IL with COVID-19, Tommy Edman is going to have to slide into the everyday shortstop position and Matt Carpenter will have to move to third every day. Even with Brad Miller returning, Schrock, primarily a second baseman/third baseman, may be necessary. Schrock has a good hit tool, but likely won’t ever be more than a utility infielder.
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If the Cardinals decide that the middle infield depth is fine, they could call on John Nogowski as an option to replace Ravelo. Nogowski is 27 but hit a slash line of .295/.412/.476 at AAA last year and has yet to make his MLB debut. Nogowski isn’t a huge power bat, but he can play first base as well as some outfield in a pinch and has a solid hit tool.
Mendoza is primarily a third baseman who can also put in time as a first baseman or corner outfielder. Like Nogowski, Mendoza’s best offensive tool is his hit tool, but an injury-ridden 2019 makes his 2019 stat line look worse than the 23-year-old Mendoza can put forth. Mendoza was a late addition to the Springfield player pool but is one guy who has experience at AAA that could fit the utility infielder role the Cardinals are looking for at the MLB level.
Notably absent from this list is Dylan Carlson. I know that many of you probably had him as your number one player to bring up with four open spots, but the issue is that there still isn’t any room in the outfield. The MLB club still has five total outfielders on the active roster and it still makes no sense to bring him up to not play him.
If I had to guess, I would assume that the Cardinals will pull up Cabrera, Reyes, Kaminsky, and Schrock. There will also be a bias towards those players already on the 40-man roster. With that, you may see a young prospect like Elehuris Montero or Justin Williams get one of the final spots. Montero seems like he is easily more than a year away from being ready and Williams is A) an outfielder, and B) isn’t very exciting.
It’s unclear how long the Cardinals will be without the seven players who tested positive, but just like anytime someone goes on the IL, the next men up need to fill bigger shoes. It will be tough to compete, but hopefully those who are positive stay asymptomatic and the Cardinals can get this outbreak past them quickly.