Many, if not all, Cardinals fans already know the biggest positional upgrade to the roster this offseason. However, I believe it is still worth writing about. Last season Cardinals right fielders put up absolutely miserable numbers. In over 600 at bats they posted a triple slash of roughly .236/.286/.333 with a combined WAR of -1.7. These numbers placed Cards right fielders at the bottom of the MLB in terms of production in 2014, but luckily the acquisition of Jason Heyward this offseason makes what was the Cardinals weakest position one of their biggest strengths heading into 2015.
Heyward had a poor statistical season last year compared to his career numbers and still managed to post a triple slash of .271/.351/.735 with a WAR of 6.4 and 20 stolen bases. These numbers are above and beyond the production the Cards received from right fielders. On top of this, Heyward was the best defensive right fielder in 2014 posting a remarkable 2.4 defensive WAR, saving an MLB best 32 runs and winning a Gold Glove. Another important skill Heyward brings to the table is his above average speed. No, 20 steals is not a remarkable number by any means, but the Cardinals only swiped 57 bags all of last season (second least in the NL) and hit into an unimpressive 140 double plays (second most in the NL). It is often said that baseball is a game of inches and Heyward will without a doubt help reverse these trends by bringing speed to the top of the Cards lineup.
All in all, Heyward will be the Cardinals glue next season. He fills all of the cracks that prevented last years team from reaching the World Series and if the Cards do decide to sign him to a long-term deal, which they should, he will prove to be their most valuable asset for years to come.