St. Louis Cardinals: A lot is riding on Edman at the top of the lineup

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JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 20: Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals fails to field a RBI single by Taylor Jones #76 of the Houston Astros (not pictured) during the third inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium on March 20, 2021 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 20: Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals fails to field a RBI single by Taylor Jones #76 of the Houston Astros (not pictured) during the third inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium on March 20, 2021 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals’ biggest question, at least on offense, is how Tommy Edman will do replacing Kolten Wong at second base and atop the lineup.

So far, Edman appears to be up to the test. He led the team in hitting in spring training with 17 hits and a .378 batting average. His on-base percentage was .404. He walked only two times, which is not ideal atop the lineup when getting on base is a key component of the position, but as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes, any team would be happy with those numbers.

Having Edman get on base at that frequency is even more important with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado hitting behind him. It means that teams cannot pitch around either player and increases the opportunities for both to drive in runs. It’s what president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and manager Mike Shildt envisioned when acquiring Arenado and hoped Edman would provide in the leadoff spot this spring.

Now, Edman must prove that he can translate those numbers to the regular season. It’s something that he has struggled with in limited time in the majors considering that he hit .304/.350/.500 in his first season in 2019 but fell to .250/.317/.368 in 55 games last season.

Perhaps those struggles were in part to the start and stop nature of the Cardinals’ season in 2020 where they battled one of the most severe COVID-10 outbreaks.

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The Cardinals were criticized for not re-signing Wong, given his importance to the team defensively and atop the lineup. But the early signs from Edman this spring have been encouraging and quieted those concerns. They would become even more quiet if he put up numbers similar to Wong at a fraction of the cost.

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