As the 2014 Major League Baseball season opens up this week, it is time to look at the defending National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals, and what their roster will look like. Here is a look at the Cards’ lineup and what to expect from each hitter.
- Matt Carpenter, 3B – Carpenter was perhaps the game’s best leadoff hitter last season, so there is no need to tinker with his spot in the lineup. Carpenter came up as a third baseman, so the switch there should be no trouble.
- Kolten Wong, 2B – Wong, a minor league star in previous years, will get every opportunity to prove himself as an everyday player. He is seen as a solid all-around player, and now is the time to show it.
- Matt Holliday, LF – Holliday is becoming a model of consistency as a fixture in the third spot in the Cards’ lineup. Expect him to put up numbers again near the standard of; .300 batting average, 25 home runs, and 100 runs batted in.
- Allen Craig, RF – Craig is a professional hitter, and an RBI machine, but his batting average with runners in scoring position must drop after last season’s absurd .454 mark. It would be interesting to see what his numbers would look like if he stayed healthy for a full season.
- Matt Adams, 1B – The Cardinals will need Adams to provide the home run power that they were lacking a year ago. If the big lefty can figure out how to hit southpaws, his numbers will blossom and he could be among the league leaders in homers.
- Yadier Molina, C – The Cardinals’ unquestioned leader has improved offensively seemingly every season. If he improves his numbers yet again during this, his age 31 season, then an MVP award would be a possibility.
- Jhonny Peralta, SS – The Cards’ big offseason signing appears to be in good physical condition. He has a lot to prove after his PED suspension last year, but he can hit.
- Peter Bourjos, CF – The athletic Bourjos brings speed to the outfield and his defense in center will be vital. His durability and ability to hit are big question marks.
Mark Ellis, Infielder – The steady veteran Ellis was brought on as insurance in case Kolten Wong failed. But he will also give the Cardinal bench a lift in pinch hitting situations.
Daniel Descalso, Utility Player – The Cards’ most versatile player has been in a lot of big moments over the last few years, and manager Mike Matheny completely trusts him. Descalso is perfectly suited to be a valuable bench piece.
Jon Jay, Outfielder – Jay’s offense and defense both dropped off last season after a promising start to his career. As a result he does not have a set spot in the lineup and he will need to prove himself again from the bench.
Shane Robinson, Outfielder – Robinson stepped up nicely last postseason and he is probably the Cardinals’ best pinch hitter right now. Also, his ability to play all three outfield spots make him a nice bench player.
Tony Cruz, Catcher – The backup catcher is continuing to learn from Yadier Molina and he has been steady off the bench over the past couple of years.