I was a bit perplexed this past week as Spring Training is getting under way on Tuesday in Jupiter, Florida for the Cardinals and manager Mike Matheny said:
“This year, it’s going to be more about work management and efficiency and not falling into maybe some of the traps that are considered consistent with how things were run in the past,” Matheny said. “[We’re] trying to think outside the box a little bit. But we’re going right back to the drawing board when it comes down to the basics of baserunning, when it comes down to how we can be that defensive team that we need to be, which we know internally influences our pitching.”
That is really nice but isn’t that something they should do every Spring Training? How in the world can working on fundamentals be “thinking outside the box?” The article I am referring to can be found HERE.
World Baseball Classic
Running from March 6-22 is the World Baseball Classic and the Cardinals will have eleven players that have been selected to participate in the event. They are first baseman Matt Carpenter (USA), starter Carlos Martinez (Dominican Republic), catcher Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico), closer Seung Hwan Oh (Korea) and starter Alex Reyes (Dominican Republic).
It appears there is only one position that is still up for grabs on the Cardinals roster. That would be third base position. Jedd Gyorko, who led the team with 30 home runs, and Jhonny Peralta will battle it out. Peralta is coming off an injured season and will likely be playing for a new contract somewhere else next year. This will be intriguing as Gyorko is basically a backup infielder in many spots for the Cardinals and Peralta just covers short and third.
The spots that are taken:
C- Yadier Molina and nobody else. He may get more rest as he gets older. Look for Eric Fryer to get time behind the plate and Carson Kelly in Memphis waiting for his turn.
1B- Matt Carpenter- he played 35 games as first last year and now has been anointed as the starter. Also, he will receive a new spot in the batting order as Fowler will likely take that spot. The backup for Carpenter is likely Matt Adams.
2B- Kolten Wong is said to have been given the spot. We will see as Matheny hasn’t been patient with the youngster. He needs playing time. Let’s hope he gets off to a decent start. Greg Garcia and Jedd Gyorko are backups.
3B- Peralta or Gyorko as this was discussed above.
OF- Grichuk, Fowler and Piscotty from left to right. Lots of hope has been placed at their feet with the younger two needed to get things going. Fowler will bat leadoff and Grichuk and Piscotty in the 3, 4,5 spots.
Relievers– Seung Hwan Oh, Brett Cecil, Kevin Siegrist, Trevor Rosenthal, Matt Bowman, Jonathan Broxton, Michael Wacha
Lefties are Siegrist and Cecil with Rosenthal and Oh ans closers. Look for Bowman to be called on the induce groundballs. Broxton setup and Wacha long relief work.
Starters: Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Mike Leake, Alex Reyes
Martinez is the new ace and Wainwright will battle his age to get back to his prior performance level. Reyes will be watched all year for total pitches. Lynn will get quick hook to spare his surgically repair arm. Leake will get the most innings of any of the starters in 2017.