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Cardinals are attempting to walk a difficult line

 
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СообщениеДобавлено: Сб Сен 03, 2016 2:28 pm    Заголовок сообщения: Cardinals are attempting to walk a difficult line Ответить с цитатой

MILWAUKEE One member of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching rotation, Luke Weaver, had never thrown a pitch beyond Class A baseball before this season began. Another member of the Cardinals rotation, Alex Reyes, had never thrown a pitch above Double A before this season.

Little more than a month ago, the starting center fielder, Randal Grichuk, was giving ominous signs that a sophomore slump would torpedo his career before it got started. The starting right fielder, Stephen Piscotty, is the same age, 25 Jonathan Broxton Jersey, as Grichuk. The starting shortstop, Aledmys Diaz, is a rookie, as is a key reliever, Matt Bowman.

Does this sound like a team that is going all in for 2016, mindless of the consequences for the seasons to come?

While the casual fan might view the Cardinals as an aging team because their core three of Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday have slipped into their mid 30s, they re really not. The average age of a Cardinals hitter is 28.6 years, just older than the NL average of 28.3. The average age of a Cardinals pitcher is 28.1, below the league average.

The Cardinals are the only contending team aside from the Miami Marlins with a pitching staff younger than the league average.

The Cardinals are attempting to walk a difficult line this September. They are attempting to contend for a sixth straight postseason berth and a third World Series title in 10 years while developing enough young talent to continue the process seamlessly and indefinitely. To put it in stark terms, they have yet to tank, and they have yet to be a seller at the trade deadline to replenish their source of young talent.

I can t wait to watch Weaver pitch again. I can t wait to watch Reyes pitch again. I don t care if it s September or October, manager Mike Matheny said. I think there is a newness and an excitement with the young players. There s the unknown for the opposition. There are some benefits to it, plus you re talking about the potential of what this could be moving forward for the organization. I have zero apprehension with young players when the young players are showing they know what they re doing.

Will the soft rebuild work? It s too early to tell, but the youth movement has so far looked beneficial, even for the goal of contending for the World Series this fall. Reyes, who just turned 22, is 1 0 with a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings and just took over the rotation spot of Mike Leake, who is on the 15 day disabled list with shingles. Weaver, 22, is 1 1 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts.

Grichuk is slugging .814 in 16 games since his latest promotion from Triple A. Diaz is third on the Cardinals with an .894 OPS and is expected back from the disabled list sometime in early September. Piscotty is fourth on the team with an .824 OPS and third with 20 home runs. Bowman is second among relievers behind closer Seung Hwan Oh with a 1.134 WHIP and has pitched in higher leverage situations.

If the Cardinals don t make the playoffs or don t make a deep playoff run they will use the remaining games to answer some questions about 2017 and beyond. Can they count on Weaver and Reyes to be rotation cogs next spring? The answer to that question, in turn, will affect whether they pick up Jaime Garcia s 12 million option. Is Grichuk a smart bet to be an every day player next year? That evaluation will impact the decision on Matt Holliday s 17 million option. Can Kolten Wong be counted on to battle back from a bad year? That determination will impact where Matt Carpenter plays next season and how seriously the team tries to re sign Brandon Moss.

The Cardinals are striking a delicate balance between the now and the future, so in a way the stakes are double this month.
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