Alec Burleson vs. Juan Yepez
With Jordan Walker seemingly doing everything in his power to force his way onto the roster, the fifth outfielder spot looks to come down to Alec Burleson and Juan Yepez. Neither outfielder is especially gifted defensively, but the right-handed power bat of Yepez and the left-handed contact-oriented bat of Burleson mark a contrast in the box.
Neither player has lit the world on fire during the spring, with Yepez hitting .213 as of this writing and Burleson at .205. To Burleson’s credit, he has looked better in the past few games, and his exit velocity and hard-hit percentage are among the best on the team this spring.
Yepez has more experience at the big league level, and he looked to have the upper hand on a roster spot coming into Spring Training. Yepez has shown that he can handle major league pitching, but Burleson has nothing left to prove in Memphis. The Cardinals might want to go with the more proven player in Yepez and have Burleson be the first man up in case injury or ineffectiveness befalls an outfielder.
Ultimately, though, this battle could come down to whether the Cardinals feel more in need of power or on-base ability in the occasional outfield spot or designated hitter role.