I’ve got an itch. An itch for Cardinals baseball. Opening Day is this weekend. It is hard to believe it is here. It was a disappointing end to last year’s team losing to the rival Cubby Bears. The Cardinals won 100 games in the regular season, but couldn’t get past the Cubs in the post season. They came off frankly, looking tired and beat up. Cardinal’s fans still have bitter taste in their mouths. But it has rejuvenated the rivalry with Chicago. The Cardinals are the underdogs this year in the division. The Cubs garnering all the pub. That is alright with the Cardinals. They will do what they always do….find a way to win.
I believe the Cardinals will find a way to have another great year. I don’t expect them to win 100 games. But I would project the team to win around 80 to 90 games. I agree the Cardinals are not the favorite in the division, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up at the top. So fans sit back and get ready for another year of Cardinals Baseball. I, for one, am excited.
In saying that I am excited doesn’t change the fact I do have concerns. The Cardinals have a bullpen that was heavily taxed last year. In particular, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist and Seth Maness. Hopefully the addition of Seuong Hwan Oh and the emergence of youngsters Sam Tuivailala, Matt Bowman, and Dean Kiekhefer will help combat the problem.
The Cardinals also have question marks in their lineup and with their depth on the bench. Going into spring training I felt good about the middle of the infield. Now with the injury of Jhonny Peralta and even new signee Ruben Tejada’s injury at short leaves a big hole to fill. Jedd Gyorko is a likely candidate to begin the year at short with Greg Garcia and Aledmys Diaz as backups. Again, now the depth is stretched thin.
The Cardinals do have some good young players coming up in the ranks that very well could make an impact this year. The Cardinals are not as deep as in years past as far as prospects but according to Baseball America the Cardinals are ranked 14th in the league in organizational talent. And ranked 19th by mlb.com. The biggest prospect name on the list for the Cardinals is hard throwing right-hander Alex Reyes. Mark it down. He will be with the big league club sooner than later. Other prospects include Patrick Wisdom, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Charlie Tilson, and Carson Kelly.
I was lucky enough to talk to Greg Garcia, Dean Kiekhefer, and Charlie Tilson at the Cardinals Caravan in January. All three have the potential to see time with the Major League team this season. Garcia has made the opening day roster and looks to play an important role off the bench. As I talk with these three guys I discuss a number of things. I talk about what they have been working on to improve as players, have them give a scouting report on their self, and talk about their experience through the ranks of baseball. A little seriousness and little humor mixed in between our talks. So listen up and enjoy. Baseball is back!
Interview with Greg Garcia (guest appearance at the beginning of the interview with former St. Louis Cardinal’s pitcher Danny Cox)
Interview with Dean Kiekhefer
Interview with Charlie Tilson
Agree or disagree with my opinion? Let me know your thoughts! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @rusty_hendricks
Stats and information taken from: MLB.com and Baseball America