Should Masyn Winn and Victor Scott II be in the Cardinals' Opening Day lineup?

If they want to make this an exciting team, they can do so with these rising prospects.
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

I realize this may be the minority opinion but for the Cardinals’ moves this offseason to make sense, the Opening Day roster should have Masyn Winn at shortstop and Victor Scott II in centerfield.

I’ve heard the cons; they aren’t ready for prime time. Winn only hit .172 last year with the Cardinals. Victor Scott played in AA last year. If we want to win next year we can’t do it with young players. We should keep Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill so Tommy Edman can play short.

My question when I hear this is how did that work out last year? Or the year before that? Or the one before that one. I must have missed the parades.

What made the Cincinnati Reds so exciting last year? It wasn’t Joey Votto. It was all the great young players who moved up and had significant roles. Granted, they faded a bit near the end, but that experience has them primed for a big year now, and are even given a chance to compete for first place in the division if they add just a couple of pieces.

Not only were the Cardinals bad last year but they weren’t very exciting to watch. These two players would add some energy to the lineup.

While the pitchers we added should be an improvement over last year, there is one big element that is being overlooked. The three starters from last year had ground ball percentages of 40% for Wainwright and 44% for both Montgomery and Flaherty. They are being replaced by Lance Lynn with 42%, Gibson with 50%, and Gray at 51%. The average percentage for the league last year was 41.8 percent.

These numbers indicate we need the very best defender we can get at shortstop because there should be a lot more balls coming his way. Masyn Winn is that shortstop. His fielding grades out by MLB as a 60. So, really good. His arm grades out as an 80. He can definitely wear out Goldschmidt’s glove. He is ready to play defense at the major league level. Right now he has the best glove and arm the Cardinals have at shortstop. Worried about this hitting? The scouts grade him at 55 which is above average. As an added bonus, his speed grades out as a 60. In 322 games in the minor leagues, he stole 92 bases. Just like Walker got better, he will too.

To solidify the defense up the middle, they need to start Scott. If he is not starting, that means they didn’t clear out enough of our outfielders. That also means the Cardinals are right back to where they were last year. His fielding grade is even better than Winn’s at 70. That is almost elite. He has an average arm but should be just fine in center. In college and the minors, he averaged a .278 batting average and his speed is legendary. In 400 games he has 402 hits and stole a crazy 251 bases.

With the need for better defense, this is a no-brainer. If the Cardinals don’t give up as many runs, the pitchers can stay in for more innings, and they won’t need to score as many runs. With the added speed this should be a more fun team to watch.

Will there be growing pains? Of course, I for one would trade a few mistakes for the excitement that just won’t be there with Carlson or O’Neill.