Tommy Edman was asked to replace a St. Louis Cardinals legend, but he has done the job admirably — and earned National League honors.
The St. Louis Cardinals entered the regular season with plenty of questions, perhaps none more pressing than how Tommy Edman would replace Kolten Wong at second base.
While Edman’s numbers aren’t flashy, he has more than gotten the job done. He’s slashing .266/.315/.298 with nine home runs and 45 RBI in 512 at-bats. Yes, those are not as high as Wong’s as he’s leading the charge with the division rival Milwaukee Brewers, but letting Wong leave in free agency allowed the Cardinals to take on Nolan Arenado’s contract.
And Edman has continued to justify the decision all season, most recently winning National League Player of the Week. He slashed .462/.483/.808 over six games with three doubles, two home runs, 10 RBI, two stolen bases while striking out only once. It was a dominant run and had it not been for two blown saves by Alex Reyes, would have positioned the Cardinals to be less than two games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild card spot entering Monday.
Edman’s recent emergence has coincided with another breakout stretch from Paul Goldschmidt, who hit a two-run homer against the Reds on Monday. Those two getting hot, as well as Arenado continuing to perform at a high level both offensively and defensively, has the Cardinals in a prime position entering their most pivotal stretch of the season with games against the Reds and Brewers.
While Edman has been a roughly league-average hitter (99 OPS+), his biggest calling card is his defensive versatility. He has played shortstop and the corner outfield positions in addition to second base, though the Cardinals would be smart to add shortstop and outfield depth in the winter to allow Edman to play primarily at second base while being a backup at each position.
While the decision to part with Wong remains unpopular, the Cardinals couldn’t have asked for much more from Edman. This week underscored just what kind of impact he can have — and what the team hopes is a sign of things to come this season and going forward.