By Bryce Welker on March 19, 2014
Simply put, the St. Louis Cardinals are one of the best organizations in sports. They have made it to three straight NLCS series, and are among the favorites to get to another one this upcoming year. After another successful offseason, the Cardinals' future has never been brighter, but there have been a few disappointments in Spring Training. Here are five players who are underachieving thus far in Jupiter, Florida.
Kozma, after an underwhelming career in the minor leagues, filled the Cardinals' hole at the shortstop position last year out of desperation. Unfortunately for the former first-round pick, he just isn't talented enough to be an everyday player. So far this spring, he has continued his mediocre play, posting a .231/.259/.308 line in 12 games. Fortunately for the Cards, free agent pickup, Jhonny Peralta will take Kozma's shortstop spot this year.
Jon Jay is a very solid player, but last season was a big step in the wrong direction. Jay, already a streaky hitter, was even more bipolar last year, and his defense took a turn for the worse. So far this spring, his .176/.222/.206 line has continued his decline. Expect Jay to be St. Louis' fourth outfielder this season, especially with the addition of Peter Bourjos in the offseason.
Garcia's story is an unfortunate one. He has shown potential to be a top-of-the-rotation starter in the past, and the Cardinals' scouts agree that he has some of the best "stuff" in the organization. However, a lingering shoulder injury has shut him down once again. With a stacked rotation full of young arms already logjammed in the Cardinals' organization, Garcia's future in St. Louis seems cloudy at best.
Maness came from relative anonymity last year to become one of St. Louis's best relievers. This spring, however, Maness has struggled to shake off the offseason rust. He has posted a 9.39 ERA and a WHIP of 2.22 over 7.2 innings in Jupiter. Look for Maness to stay in the bullpen this season, but he needs to forget about his Spring Training performance.
Taveras was saddled with some pretty heavy expectations, which is understandable considering that he is the Cardinal's top prospect and one of the best prospects in MLB. This spring has been a waste, however. Taveras has experienced more pain in his surgically-repaired ankle and looks destined to start the season in the minors. Look for Taveras to be a mid-season call up once he finally gets healthy.
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