A look at the Opening Day Roster
The Cardinals look different on Opening Day every year than they do by the end of the season. For instance the opening day closer in 2011 was Ryan Franklin, short stop was Ryan Theriot, and the bullpen featured names like Bryan Augenstein, Brian Tallet, Trever Miller, and Miguel Batista. A lot different look than the World Championship roster that followed. This years opening day roster looks a lot more promising than it was a year ago, so let us examine the Opening Day roster for the 2012 Cardinals:
- Marc Rzepczynski
- Scott Linebrink
- Mitchell Boggs
- Kyle McClellan
- J.C Romero
- Fernando Salas
- Jason Motte -Closer
- 1B Lance Berkman
- 2B- Tyler Greene
- SS- Rafael Furcal
- 3B- David Freese
- UTL- Matt Carpenter
- UTL- Daniel Descalso
It is of course a shame to not see Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright on the same Opening Day roster for two consecutive years, but the good news this time is that Carpenter should return to the rotation in a few months. The thing that catches my eye most is in the bullpen. We have basically two identical pitchers in Scott Linebrink and Kyle McClellan both can be very clutch, pitch multiple innings, but then go on a skid and blow several games. Another name is Mitchell Boggs, once a starting prospect, once thought of as a potential closer, has now lost his identity and is known as a homerun pitcher. He still has great stuff and can be hit or miss, but I really wish we wouldn’t have these three pitchers in the rotation. Also where is Eduardo Sanchez? Oh yeah that’s right, the young fireballer was sent to the minors to make room for the much older and less effective Linebrink, bad move on Mo’s part.
What can I really say about the catchers on this team? They are terrific, Yadier Molina is the best defensive player in the game, a fan favorite, improving at the plate, and he is now signed long term. Cruz is a versatile player that the team and fans trust and is a good young back up option.
Berkman and Freese are two of the Cardinals biggest strengths in 2012, while Furcal and Greene are two of the biggest question marks. If Greene can put it all together and finally play to his potential it should be fun to watch him at second, but if he continues the ways of his past and of spring training be prepared to see a carousel of second baseman once again. As for Furcal the question is health, if he can stay healthy and bring up that average and OBP the Cardinals should have themselves a solid defender and a decent lead-off hitting option at short. If Berkman and Freese can both have healthy years be prepared to see some great numbers, I expect huge things from David Freese based on his second half/ post season performance as well as his spring training performance.
The Cardinals biggest strength of the last few years continues once again. The outfield is full of depth, talent, and great hitters ranging from Matt Holliday to Jon Jay. Even though Craig and Schumaker are both on the disabled list, Craig is slated to return soon and be ready to contribute which makes him the ultimate weapon for the Cardinals (still wish that he was a starting outfielder though.) Even the bench outfielders, Robinson and Komatsu show some upside. Komatsu has speed and Robinson had a hot spring flashing speed, glove, and some contact.
When Carpenter, Craig, and Schumaker return the Cardinals will be a force to be reckoned with. If they can stay healthy and play to potential the Cardinals will be an easy favorite for the NL Central and as I have already predicted a good contender to repeat as World Series Champions. I am excited about this roster (minus the Sanchez situation) and cannot wait to watch some Cardinal baseball.