Could This Be Randal Grichuk’s Breakout year?
It’s no secret that Randal Grichuk has not been living up to his expectations so far in the 2016 season. Last offseason, when Jason Heyward signed with the Cubs, the Cardinals opted not to acquire another outfielder because they were confident in their young core despite their lack of experience. Besides the seasoned All-Star Matt Holliday, all of the Cardinals outfielders have yet to play a full 162 game season. This young outfield core will be tested heavily in 2016 with extremely high expectations.
Every outfield is captained by their centerfielder and the Cardinals outfield is no different. Grichuk is a clear leader in centerfield despite his lack of experience. The 24 year old has shown his immense potential and Cardinals fans are expecting a lot from him in the 2016 season.
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) April 12, 2016
Grichuk got off to a rough start with only 1 hit while striking out 8 times in 6 games. Manager Mike Matheny elected to start Cinderella story centerfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker over Grichuk for 2 games this season, in an attempt to help him get out of his funk. In yesterday’s game against the Milwaukie Brewers, Grichuk finally broke out or at least started to. After not starting in Sunday’s game, Grichuk went 2-3 including an RBI double.
It is crucial for the Cardinals that Grichuk plays well right now. With Tommy Pham on the DL, the Cardinals outfield depth has taken a serious toll. If Grichuk is able to find his form, Matheny will be able to move Hazelbaker to leftfield and move Holliday to first base. This move would also solidify the bench with the bats of both Brandon Moss and Matt Adams.
Currently, the Cardinals first base options have not been producing. Adams and Moss have not proven that they are capable of playing everyday at first base. Holliday’s bat is instrumental to the Cardinals lineup even if his abilities in the outfield have been in decline. Unfortunately, the Cardinals are in the National League where there is no designated hitter so Holliday is forced to play the field. Moving Holliday to first base is a no brainer decision for the Cardinals but is dependent on Grichuk’s ability to stay in the everyday lineup.
We all hope that yesterday’s game was Grichuk’s breakout game and he will continue to produce for the rest of the season. Grichuk has tremendous potential and hopefully will continue to have success at the MLB level.
Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports