St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training: 5 Players Who Are Sure to Shine
St. Louis Cardinals 2014 Spring Training
The St. Louis Cardinals enter the 2014 season fresh off a disappointing conclusion to their 2013 season that saw them losing the World Series to the Boston Red Sox in six games. However, they can look forward to another successful postseason run in 2014 as their lineup will be drastically different and improved.
There have been several improvements from the 2013 team -- most notably, the addition of Jhonny Peralta, who will assume the starting SS duties. Allen Craig will return to first base if he's healthy, or perhaps even moving to the outfield to allow Matt Adams to assume first base duties. Matt Carpenter will likely shift back to third base. It will be interesting to watch the defensive positioning play out. Without question, the Cards have a great amount of depth.
Without any doubt, the Cardinals will use Spring Training as a deciding factor to solidifying some positions -- namely in the outfield (think Jon Jay vs. Peter Bourjos), and the corner infield positions. In addition, the starting rotation and Yadier Molina's battery spot are fairly set already.
Every Spring, each team has a few players that shine. Some are guys that you would expect, and others are guys you don't. That's the great thing about Spring Training. It gives players their shot. It allows them to create some excitement about all of the hard work they put in during the offseason. Here is a list of guys who are sure to shine this spring.
5. Yadier Molina
Molina had a strong spring in 2013, posting a .458 batting average in 24 at-bats. It was the same in 2012 with a .340 average. Expect much of the same in 2014.
4. Shane Robinson
Coming off of a mediocre 2013 season, Robinson will look to rebound in 2014 with a strong Spring Training performance. He will need it if he wants to be on the 25-man roster following the acquisition of Peter Bourjos, who will compete with Jon Jay for the starting CF position. On a bright note for Robinson, he had an absolutely monster spring a year ago with a slash line of .438/.493/.719. He will need that to happen again while adding more home runs to the mix.
3. Matt Adams
Last year was Adams' first full-time season in the big leagues, and it was full of success. His spring (.288/.333/.500) was pretty much on the same level as the regular season, so expect the same for 2014. With one year of experience, Adams should see higher power numbers this spring, so that's something for opposing pitchers to look forward to.
2. Michael Wacha
Michael Wacha had to be the most pleasant surprise of the Cardinals' season last year, and was instrumental in their postseason success. In five games, Wacha assembled a 4-1 record and a 2.64 ERA. He saw action in 11 innings across five games during Spring Training in 2013, so expect that number to grow this season as Wacha has solidified his position in the starting rotation on the heels of his 2013 performance alone.
1. Oscar Taveras
Highly-touted prospect Oscar Taveras will be a participant at Cardinals Spring Training this year following ankle surgery last season. This guy has the capability to hit for power, homering 23 times at double-A in 2012, so expect him to get an opportunity to find himself on the 25-man roster as a bench player. He also has an outside chance to become the Cards' regular right fielder.