With 2016 right around the corner, the Cardinals need to figure out what they are going to about the lineup.
The Cardinals have struggled with lineup decisions since the departure of Carlos Beltran in 2013. His presence at the number 2 spot in the lineup provided the perfect amount of high on-base prowess as well as over the fence power to help balance the lineup. But gone are those days. The lineup in recent memory has been filled with gaps and weak points that are plugged by the constant change of batting order that took place on a daily basis.
Mike Matheny has struggled to find an ideal lineup that he writes down without thinking for the past 2 seasons. He has pushed around Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Jhonny Peralta, and whoever is playing first base so much that any random configuration of the players could have been a viable lineup choice at one point or another. But this season could offer clarity.
Carpenter has been the primary lead-off man for the past 3 seasons but his 28 HR power surge has caused us to call for his movement down in the order into more run producing opportunities. But he has shown that he tends to under perform when not hitting in the 1 spot. For a hitter like Carpenter, this is just insane. He has one of the best approaches in the game but he cannot take that elsewhere in the lineup? This just doesn’t make any sense.
— STLCards SPORTalk (@SPORTalkCards) March 16, 2016
The lineup hinges around Carpenter. As his bat goes, so goes the entire lineup. So if he were to move down in the lineup, alot of the problems would be fixed in terms of overall run production. But there needs to be someone to replace him. Now, Wong has expressed the desire to lead off multiple times to anyone who will turn an ear to him but I believe he would capitalize more on his value if he were to serve in a run producing spot. My answer for lead off is Stephen Piscotty.
Now listen, I know this may seem odd but think about it. He isn’t supposed to hit for a ton of over the fence power but his gap to gap power will put him in scoring position quite often. He will also get on base a lot, more the Wong. This is what the Cardinals need. He also has decent speed so a few stolen bases can be expected from him. He is the clearest answer for this pressing question. But it seems as though he is not getting a lot of looks this spring there. If Matheny wants to really help out his club, we would be seeing Piscotty at the start of every game.
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