There are too many guys fighting for too little positions in the Cardinal infield. Who will win out?
With Matt Carpenter seemingly a lock at first base for the Cardinals in 2017, that leaves four perennial starting infielders up for a battle for three remaining spots around the diamond. This should be an exciting prospect for Cards fans, as not only will it be exciting to watch the intrigue play out over the course of the year, but it will potentially force the guys to play at their best, helping propel the team to new levels. Let’s take a look at each player individually.
Johnny Peralta and Jedd Gyorko
I know I just said we were going to look at each player individually, but I just felt like these two guys had to be paired together, since, in all actuality, this is the main source of competition in the Cardinal infield at the moment.
It seems, at the moment, that the edge would have to be given the Gyorko for the starting role at the hot corner. Just 28 years of age, Jedd is coming off a career season in which he hit 30 homers. As well, he, so far, has been doing quite well this spring, collecting 6 hits in 14 at bats.
Peralta, on the other hand, is entering his age 35 season, coming a season in which he had career low production. Despite being a more polished infielder than Gyorko, it seems like Peralta’s age is causing him to slip out of the picture.
However, it is unlikely that Gyorko will be able to repeat what he did last year production wise. And even with his 30 home runs, he still couldn’t amass even 60 RBI, which I personally don’t understand.
So, I look for Gyorko to drop off in 2017, putting up less production than he did last year (which, in my book, wasn’t all to impressive to begin with, if we talk about true value). Thus, despite Peralta’s age being a factor, I look for a truly intriguing battle to ensue between the more polished veteran Peralta and the streaky, inconsistent Gyorko all throughout the 2017 season.
Aledmys Diaz and Kolten Wong
Again, I apologize for the discrepancy in my vocabulary, but these two young, rising stars should also be included in the same breath. No, Diaz and Wong do not, as of now, have any sort of competition with each other. Rather, it is the potential volatility of these two youngsters that could open up a spot for one of the guys mentioned above. Let me explain.
As has thus far been proven, both Aledmys Diaz and Kolten Wong are extremely talented players, and have the potential to potentially be stars in the league some day. However, as has also been proven, both are young, and prone to outbursts of underperformance due to their lack of maturity.
Thus, despite the hopes of Cards fans everywhere, it is quite possible that one of these young stars will play themselves out of their position by mid-June, of not earlier, so opening a spot for one of the two competing third basemen to slide over into the vacant position.
Of course, this would be worst case scenario for the Cardinals and their fans, as what we all need right now is the development of young talent. But there is, as both of these young players have proven, the possibility of a breakdown in either of the middle infield positions, leaving Matheny no choice but to make a change.
There is a major battle taking place at the hot corner for the Red Birds between veteran and multiple-time All-Star, Jhonny Peralta, and the younger, yet inconsistent, Jedd Gyorko, coming off a career year in 2016.
However, with two potentially volatile youngsters manning the middle-infield positions, it is overly possible that by the middle of the season one (or both) of these positions could open up, freeing a shift of either Gyorko or Peralta to the middle of the diamond.
Whatever ends up happening, none of these four guys’ spots are safe, which, Cardinals’ fans, should make for some great intrigue in the 2017 season, as players young and hold give it all they have for a starting role on a potentially contending team.