If the off-season ended right now, what would the starting lineup look like for opening day?

Certainly, the Cardinals will make a few more moves before the opening day. Reportedly, the Cards are even in talks for Brian Dozier as you read this. However, as of right now, there is no telling if that will happen. Therefore, If Opening Day was today, what would the Cardinals lineup look like?

New People, New Problems: Who Leads Off for Cardinals?


1. CF     Dexter Fowler

Fowler has been very consistent throughout his career and looks to continue to be a stable option. He will not hit for a high average, but he is a master of getting on base with a .393 OBP in 2016. This high on base mark suits a leadoff hitter perfectly. Especially with a very XBH/HR orriented team. 2017 Projection: .269/.377/.434  15HR, 16SB, 89R, 16.7RAR

2. 1B      Matt Carpenter

DL stint in July cost Carp a potential career season. However, he still factors to be one of the most if not the most productive hitter in the lineup come 2017. Moving out of the leadoff spot may hurt his numbers initially, but baseball is all about adaptation. He will continue to produce. 2017 Projection: 278/374/520  28HR, 81 RBI, 27.4 RAR

3.  RF    Stephen Piscotty

Piscotty possesses the potential to be a big star in the bigs. However, he is still about a full season away from proving that. 2016 proved that he can hang for a full season, so now we wait and see if he is consistent enough to do it again. The biggest reason I put him in the 3 hole is his .365 average with RISP last year. Lots of chances in an area he thrives at. 2017 Projections: 282/345/480  20HR, 90+ RBI, 10.9 RAR

4.  3B     Jhonny Peralta

His injury cost him a lot of ABs and production. However, it let Diaz into the mix. This season Jhonny will be fully healthy and could return to more career normal averages or begin a age related decline. Peralta will share a lot of time with Gyorko, but for now, Peralta gets the spot. Likewise, Peralta should not be a season long 4 hole hitter, but no one on the roster right now really looks like one. 2017 Projections: 263/318/414  17HR, 49RBI, 350AB, -4.3RAR

5.  LF     Randal Grichuk

The Casino Grichuk has been tormenting the Cardinals for 3 years now. His mediocrity in 2014 and strong 2015 made 2016 look like the year he would break out but didn’t. He showed improvement down the stretch, but the only promising thing that came out of it was his ability to hit for power. Grichuk has been very inconsistent with performance in his short career. This season will be a crap shoot. 2017 Projections: 255/299/498   26HR, 70RBI, 70R, 5.6RAR

6.  SS       Aledmys Diaz

Really don’t have to say how this kid did in 2016, as a Cardinal fan you already know. Most likely will not repeat a .300 BA this year, but will be exciting to watch him grow. Do expect some growing pains from Diaz, but he has a lot of potential for years to come. But he has to perform again to earn a higher spot. 2017 Projections: 274/348/461  19HR,  65RBI,  70R,   13.4RAR

7.  C        Yadier Molina

Expect to see less and less of Molina in the coming years(at catcher at least). His age will eventually catch up to him on the offensive side too. However, the 2nd half of 2016 showed that he still has some gas left in him. Another solid year from Molina is to be expected. 2017 Projections: 280/345/420  11HR,  55RBI,  49R, 7.8RAR

8. 2B        Kolten Wong

Call me crazy, but I think Wong has the potential to be a 20HR/20SB guy for the Cardinals. He easily has the speed to steal 20+ bags, and should crack that mark this year provided he gets 500 AB. If he can get to 500 AB, he is projected to have 16 HR by his career rates. 4 more longballs over the course of the season is not impossible. 2017 Projections/ Bold Predictions: 263/345/410  21HR, 52RBI, 26SB, 9.9 RAR