St. Louis Cardinals Roster For 2013: State Of The Union
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By Landen Crouch ( Cardinals Correspondent) Follow @LandenCrouch
The current St. Louis Cardinals roster, set to take them into the 2013 season, has seen little changes from what was a very successful 2012 season. This really is not much of a surprise, though, as the front office has told fans they were not planning to change too much this offseason. After a gut-wrenching offseason a year ago, in which Albert Pujols headed west to the Angels, a quiet offseason really does not seem like such an awful thing. In the upcoming season, the St. Louis Cardinals will be hoping for more of the same from a team that was one win away from a second straight World Series Berth. The Cardinals will look to continue recent success, while filtering in some young prospects in the process.
Game #5 of the NLDS (Comeback win versus the Washington Nationals)
RHP – Kyle McClellan (released)
2B – Skip Schumaker (traded to Dodgers)
1B/OF – Lance Berkman (signed with Rangers)
P – Kyle Lohse (Free Agent – not yet signed)
3B – Ty Wigginton
LHP – Randy Choate
Catcher – The position behind the plate is easily the most solidified position on this team. Yadier Molina is arguably the best defensive catcher in all of Major League Baseball. In addition to his incredible defensive skills, he is coming off his best offensive year to date, where he posted a .315 Batting Average, with 22 HRs and 76 RBI – finishing fourth in the NL MVP Voting.
First Base – After 11 years of being absolutely spoiled by the greatness of Albert Pujols, 2012 was an odd season at First Base. It was tough for Cardinals fans to swallow not seeing “El Hombre” out there playing first base and hitting in the three-hole. However, Allen Craig sure fit the mold pretty nicely. After being on the DL for the entire month of April, Craig went on a tear in the 2012 season, batting .307, with 22 HRs and 92 RBI in in just 119 games. If Allen Craig can stay healthy in 2013, he has the potential to be one of the top bats in the game, possibly even be in the NL MVP conversation.
Second Base – Second base is by far the most troubling position for the Cardinals. The front office tried to ease the decision-making of manager Mike Matheny by trading away Cardinal veteran infielder Skip Schumaker to the Dodgers. Matheny will be choosing between Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter. Carpenter is developing into a solid hitter, but he only played one game at second base last season. Much like Schumaker did several years ago, Carpenter is working hard to learn the ins and outs of the position this offseason, in preparation to make a serious run at becoming an everyday starter in the middle of the infield. Descalso on the other hand is more than likely a much better defensive Second Brafaseman, with a lot less to offer at the plate. More than likely these two will be sharing a lot of the responsibilities at Second Base.
Short Stop – The shortstop position is expected to be occupied by Rafael Furcal. However, a late season injury to Furcal in 2012 provided an opportunity for the young prospect Pete Kozma. He did not let his opportunity go to waste either, batting .333 in his 26 games as the Cardinals Shortstop. He even brought quite a spark in the playoffs, with a Game-Winning hit in the top of the 9th Inning of NLDS Game 5 against the Nationals. It will be expected that Furcal will be the number one guy, but given his age and injury history, expect Kozma to play a large role in 2013.
Third Base – There is no doubt that David Freese will be occupying the hot corner for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013. The St. Louis native and 2011 World Series MVP had a breakout year last year with a career high in GP (144), HRs (20) and RBI (79). Expect more of the same from David Freese in 2013. Off the bench, the addition of Ty Wiggington will give Matheny an option to rest David Freese on occasion, and yet still have a solid Right-Handed bat in the lineup.
The Cardinals’ outfield in 2013 should not look any different than 2012. The everyday starters will be Carlos Beltran in right field, Jon Jay in center field, and Matt Holliday in Left Gield. This turned out to be a dynamite tandem of outfielders that happened to be one of the best trios of outfielders in the game of baseball.
Right Field – Carlos Beltran is coming off what was an outstanding 2012. It will be interesting to see if he can post similar numbers in 2013 given his age and recent problems with his knees. His speed has slowed down considerably, but Beltran had a fantastic year at the plate last season, posting his highest HRs total since 2007 with 32 Bombs .
Center Field - There’s no doubt Jon Jay will be the everyday center fielder in St. Louis. In 2011, the Cardinals traded away Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays, in order to solidify their bullpen for a playoff run. The trade worked out well, as the Cardinals went on to win the World Series. But lingering in the air was the question of whether Jon Jay was the answer in Center Field. The answer was clear in 2012 as Jon Jay shined as a star in the outfield for the Cardinals. Jay is a great defensive Center Fielder who also provides quite a bit of fire at the plate. Look for another strong season from Jon Jay in 2013.
Left Field – Matt Holliday had to make quite a bit of adjustment at the plate in 2012. With the departure of Pujols, Holliday moved into the third spot in the lineup. It seemed to take a little while, but Holliday really settled into his role in the middle part of the season. He finished with typical Matt Holliday numbers, which is exactly what the Cardinals will ask of him in 2013. Holliday is not a great outfielder, but his bat tends to make up for it most of the time. A lifetime .313 hitter, Holliday should have a solid season.
For the first time since 2010, the starting rotation for the Cardinals will consist of both Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. Wainwright missed all of 2011 after he had Tommy John surgery, and Carpenter missed the majority of 2012, returning only for a few spot starts and the playoffs. As of right now, the starting rotation for 2013 looks like it will consist of Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and an intense battle for the fifth spot that will go down throughout spring training.
The fifth spot will be a toss up between Joe Kelly and future superstar Shelby Miller. The 24-Year-Old Kelly started 16 games last season in his rookie year, posting a record of (5-7) and an ERA of 3.53. Shelby Miller, at 22 Years-Old, will be looking to take that fifth starting spot, even with very little big league experience. Miller appeared in six games last season, striking out 16 in 13.2 Innings Pitched. After the Cardinals clinched the 2nd Wild Card Spot with one game to go, manager Mike Matheny went with Miller in the season finale, where he pitched 6 innings of one-hit ball against the Cincinnati Reds. It will be interesting to see if that will be enough to win him a spot in the starting rotation next season.
The bullpen for the Cardinals was undoubtedly the most troubling part of the team for the majority of 2012. However, some late season call-ups solidified what could be a lethal bullpen this upcoming season. Obviously, between Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller, one of them will be in the starting rotation, and one will be in the bullpen as a long reliever. Some other strong relief options include Lance Lynn, a 2012 All-Star, Mitchell Boggs, Victor Marte, Edward Mujica, Trevor Rosenthal, Marc Rzepczynski, newly acquired Randy Choate, and of course the closer, Jason Motte. This bullpen has strong potential to be a solid shut-down bullpen. There are some serious hard-throwing arms in this pen, mixed wonderfully with some finesse lefties. Hopefully, the days of an inconsistent bullpen are over in St. Louis.
Even with a very quiet offseason in St. Louis, it is hard to not be excited about this team in 2013. The Cardinals should be a very deep team that will see continued success of star players, young players stepping into bigger roles, and future stars that could be called up to help with depth. The St. Louis Cardinals are shaping up to be a solid team in 2013 that should contend for the division title, possibly even making another run at the World Series. April 1st simply cannot come soon enough for Cardinals fans, as it should be yet another great year of baseball in St. Louis.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of www.mlbreports.com and their partners.***
A big thank-you goes out to our Cardinals Correspondent Landen Crouch. Landen is a huge fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. He has followed them almost religiously since he was 7-Years-Old. In recent years, though, Landen has discovered how deep his passion for the game of baseball is. His dream is to visit as many ballparks as he can in his lifetime. Landen does not currently cover sports professionally, but as a hobby. He is studying Vocal Music Education at Arkansas Tech University and is his final year in the program. He is set to graduate in December of this year. Follow and Interact with Landen on Twitter Follow @LandenCrouch
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Posted on January 9, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 2004 World Series, 2006 World Series, 2011 World Series, 2012 NLDS, 2012 Wild Card Play In Game, 2013 Cardinals Payroll, 2013 Cardinals Player Roster, @landencrouch on twitter, adam wainwright, albert pujols, allen craig, carlos beltran, chris carpenter, cincinnati reds, colby rasmus, Daniel Descalso, david freese, Edward Mujica, houston astros, jake westbrook, jamie garcia, jason motte, joe kelly, john jay, kyle lohse, kyle mcclellan, lance lynn, Landen Crouch, los angeles dodgers, marc rzepcynski, matt carpenter, mike matheny, mitchell boggs, MLB State of the Union, national league, NL Central, nl mvp, pete kozma, rafael furcal, randy choate, san francisco giants, shelby miller, Skip Schumaker, st louis cardinals, toronto blue jays, trevor rosenthal, ty wiggington, victor marte, World Series MVP, yadier molina. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.