The 20 most important Cardinals in 2023: #9 Tommy Edman
Do the Cardinals need a second baseman? Tommy Edman is a very good option. Looking for a third baseman in the pre-Nolan Arenado era? Give Edman a try. How about in right field - and occasionally left? Well, you could put Edman out there. What about when St. Louis' incumbent shortstop, Paul DeJong, sees his bat go limp? There's Edman, ready to help however he can.
There are better hitters among Redbird batsmen, and there also are better defenders, though there might not be any better baserunners. And when looking for a player who can do everything well while covering positions up and down the defensive spectrum, it's tough to beat Edman.
A sixth-round pick in 2016 out of Stanford, Edman played 66 games at Low-A State College that summer with a .286/.400/.428 triple-slash line with four home runs, nine stolen bases, and nearly a run scored per game, as he crossed the plate 61 times.
Edman made steady progress up the minor league ladder in 2017, starting at Low-A again, with a brief stop at High-A Palm Beach before finishing the year at Double-A Springfield. Overall, he hit .261/.322/.381 with five home runs and 13 steals, not exactly awe-inspiring numbers.
Back in Springfield in 2018, Edman improved to .299/.350/.403 with six homers and 27 stolen bases before moving up to Triple-A Memphis late in the season. Starting the 2019 campaign at Memphis, his .305/.357/.513 results - including a power surge to seven home runs and a 9-for-9 stolen base success rate in 49 games - earned Edman his first call to the big leagues.
His surprising home run prowess continued with the Cardinals, as he contributed 11 long balls in 92 games while just about replicating his Triple-A stats, batting .304/.350/.500 and stealing 15 bases in 16 attempts.
Over the 2020-'22 period in the majors, Edman was a consistently solid hitter, batting .262/.316/.390 over 367 games with 29 homers, 139 RBI, 215 runs, 79 doubles, and eight triples contributing to a 98 OPS+. He also swiped 64 bases at an 84.2% success rate.
Defensively, Edman has gone through quite a transition in the big leagues. He played more third base than anywhere else in 2019 and '20, with a good amount of time also spent at second base and in the outfield. Something happened prior to the 2021 season that forced Edman off third base, with the bulk of his starts coming at the keystone, a few dozen appearances in right field, and four games at shortstop.
With former starting shortstop DeJong's hitting still in the tank in 2022, the Cardinals finally made him a part-timer, leading to Edman making 89 starts at second base and 80 at shortstop, with the latter position being where Edman is expected to spend most of his time in 2023.