As we move into the final stretch of spring training, the team continues to be pruned into fighting shape. Here are the players who will undoubtedly make the team at this point:

Position players Pitchers
Matt HollidayLance Berkman

Carlos Beltran

Daniel Descalso

Jon Jay

Yadier Molina

David Freese

Skip Schumaker

Rafael Furcal

Allen Craig

Chris CarpenterAdam Wainwright

Jaime Garcia

Jake Westbrook

Kyle Lohse

Jason Motte

Mark Rzepczynski

Fernando Salas

Eduardo Sanchez

Kyle McClellan

Mitchell Boggs

J.C. Romero

Assuming Matheny takes 12 pitchers north, that leaves three spots open to fill out the big league roster. Here are some guesses about who those final picks might be at this point: 

Back-up Catcher:

          Kyle –  Tony Cruz. As much as I would love to see the Cardinals finally give Bryan Anderson a shot at the big leagues, I don’t see it happening.  Mozeliak and Matheny seem to really like Cruz, he is young, versatile, and a better fielder than Anderson but his bat is lesser than that of Anderson.  Cruz’s ability to play first and third gives him a huge upper hand mainly because Freese and Berkman are both going to be heavily watched over and will probably both get more rest than most.  This is a no brainer for Cruz, but if stats won battles, Anderson would win by far he is currently batting around .400 in spring training.

          Ray - Tony Cruz is a lock for the team . However, I do see both players making the club. Anderson has had a terrific spring training and deserves to be on the team. Cruz is versatile, and has been used some at first base by Matheny. What if Anderson moved into back-up catcher and Cruz moved into a super-sub role?

Starting Second Baseman

          Kyle –  This is a tough one. Mozeliak has publicly admitted his love for Tyler Greene even last season. Greene is athletic, the perfect build for an infielder, and his speed his something the Cardinals could really use. However he has just not been able to compete at the major league level and in spring training he has struggled to bat .200.  Daniel Descalso on the other hand is having a great spring, he has a high average, he has hit a homer and driven in runs. He is a fan favorite and also fits the bill for a second baseman and I think he very well deserves the job but in the end I still see Tyler Greene playing second base on opening day.

          Ray – I’m almost ready to throw in my Tyler Greene towel. The guy is being offered the keys to the kingdom, and he’s batting .130?? I cannot imagine that Greene wins out over Descalso when Opening Day arrives. That would be an insult on the magnitude of TLR snubbing Ozzie.

Final Outfield Spot:

          Kyle –  This is another tough one.  Rule 5 draft pick Erik Komatsu has proven that he belongs on the big league team, but so have homegrown talent Shane Robinson and Adron Chambers. All three have speed, contact, and heart something that is needed for a back up outfielder. Komatsu and Chambers are both left handed, while Robinson the lone right handed bat. Chambers and Robinson are the only ones with major league experience which could give them the upper hand. As much as I would love to see Chambers make it on opening day, I still feel like the job will end up going to Erik Komatsu. But I would also not bet against Robinson, he has gotten a ton of playing time lately and he is a good defender at center field which is where the final outfielder will spend  most of their time.

          Ray - Komatsu almost needs to make the team because he is a Rule 5 draft pick. He hasn’t really made much noise this spring, though. I love Adron Chambers, but Shane Robinson has had an incredible spring and probably deserves it over Chambers. Given the potential health problems in our outfield, I think we’re going to see both Komatsu and Robinson on the team together eventually anyway.

What will the bullpen look like:

          Kyle - The abundance of right handed arms makes the Cardinals bullpen hard to figure out. If the Cardinals decide to carry twelve instead of thirteen pitchers that will also change the out look of the bullpen. Also the Orioles still seem like they want to acquire Kyle McClellan and I could easily see him not wearing the Cardinals uniform come April.  Here is what I think the bullpen will look like come opening day: Marc Rzepczynski, J.C. Romero, Lance Lynn (may be in rotation), Eduardo Sanchez, Scott Linebrink, Fernando Salas, Kyle McClellan, and Jason Motte.

          Ray – I think Matheny will go with 12 relievers instead of the 13 Kyle is proposing, although the Carpenter situation might alter that at first. McClellan makes the team if he isn’t traded. Do you move Lynn off the team to make room for K-Mac, or the other way around? I’d rather see Lynn make the club and trade K-Mac if possible. The rest of the bullpen seems pretty intact to me.

Back up Infielder:

          Kyle – I think Matt Carpenter has a great shot at making the opening day roster. With Craig and possibly Schumaker being on the disabled list come opening day I think that Carpenter has a good chance of making the team. Like I mentioned before with Cruz, I think the Cardinals want players to be able to play third if Freese gets unhealthy or needs a rest. Also Carpenter has seen playing time in the outfield as he is trying to become a more versatile player.  Don’t be surprised if you see Matt Carpenter making the club, but also don’t be surprised if he is the first player sent down when someone returns.

          Ray – We have potential injury problems at almost every position in the infield – not good. I’d like to see Matt Adams make it as a backup to Berkman at first, and a power bat off the bench. Matt Carpenter would be a nice backup at third, although Descalso should be given priority there given his 2011 performance. Tyler Greene should probably make the team as a utility backup for Furcal or Descalso. Much depends on how high Matheny values Cruz in a utility role, though.

 

Like this article? Share it!

Twitter Facebook Linkedin Google+ Pinterest

About The Author

I've loved the Cardinals for as long as I can remember, and always will.