After making the playoff roster in 2021 but missing the Opening Day roster in 2022, Juan Yepez has made the most of every opportunity with the big league club, and like Donovan, leaves the club with interesting decisions to make regarding their young slugger.
Through 31 games, the 24 year old Yepez has slashed .267/.331/.438 with 10 extra base hits and 11 RBI, helping the Cardinals overcome injuries to their outfield and give them a consistent option for the DH spot. Yepez came through the system as someone who could rake, but the question for the rookie would be how he could get into the lineup outside of the DH spot. Yepez has been competent enough in the corner outfield spots to make starts there, and that gives the club a ton of flexibility.
Yepez, like Donovan, is not afraid of big moments, and has already produced clutch hits like this one against the Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball.
When it comes to Yepez’s role with the club, his at bats may be a little less consistent than Donovan, but expect him to play almost every day as well. When righties are on the mound, you can expect him to see time at DH, the corner outfield spots, or spell Goldschmidt or Arenado at the corners when he makes the lineup.
He’ll likely be in the lineup every time there is a lefty on the mound, with Edman shifting back to second base, Donovan at shortstop, and Yepez replacing Gorman’s at bats until the club feels comfortable with him against left handers. His major league splits against lefties have not been great, but his production in the minor leagues shows him to be consistent against both sides of the plate. If O’Neill or Carlson struggle though, he may replace them as one of the primary options on the club.