Cardinals news from a Sabermetric point of view

Cardinal bloggers’ spring roundtable: Players you’re rooting for and against to make the team

Editor’s note: The United Cardinal Bloggers are engaged in their spring roundtable discussions, and it’s our turn to pose the question of the day, a sneaky two-parter:

  • Who is the one player that you want to see make the team, and why?
  • And who is the one player that you do not want to see make the team, and why?

At first glance, the questions may seem like they amount to a simple popularity poll. To be sure, the bloggers’ top pick for most wanted to make the team, Shelby Miller, reflects a generally held optimism about the prospect’s ability to contribute now. Similarly, several respondents want newcomer Ronny Cedeno off the island, for reasons ranging from his future performance to his past sins as a Cub. But, as the bloggers show, the questions uncover other considerations — such as injuries — that force other players into action. And several bloggers did indeed decide their “off the roster” picks not as a voicing of dissatisfaction but just the opposite. For example, a couple of bloggers didn’t’ want to see Oscar Taveras come north for want of more playing time for the young phenom. Now, to our blogging colleagues and their replies.

I would have to say the player I am most rooting for to make the team is Shelby Miller.  I really am excited to see him in the rotation and experiencing an entire year.  I feel he is ready to take that step.

The player I am rooting against would probably be Ronny Cedeno.  It’s not that I feel the team has a ton of options at short, especially with Furcal stating that his arm is still in extreme pain, but early reports about his character and his ability, some of which came from Jennifer Langosch on the UCB Radio show, has me concerned.  We need production and consistency from that position this year, and I would rather see Descalso inherit that position with MCarp at second before I want a potential “clubhouse cancer” on the team.

– Bill Ivie, i70baseball.com

 The one guy I would most like to see make the opening day roster is Trevor Rosenthal, because I’ve got him on my fantasy team!

Seriously though, the guy I’d most like to see make the opening day roster is Shelby Miller.  The opportunity is there for him to seize the 5th starter spot and he needs to grab it.  He has the most upside of any of our pitching prospects and I would be disappointed if he didn’t win the job.

The guy I’d most like to see not make the opening day roster is Oscar Taveras.  Sure, he’s our best prospect, but with Holliday, Beltran and Jay in the outfield, we do not need him sitting on the bench in the majors when he could be fine tuning his skills in AAA.  There’s been talk of him breaking camp with the team and rotating with the other outfielders (each play 3 game and sit one).  However, I think that would be a waste of his service time and would much rather have him wait until 2014, when he can have an outfield spot all to himself.

– Mark Sherrard (Cubs Billy Goat Blog)

I want to see both Oscar Taveras and Kolten Wong make the team but I think they do need some seasoning at Memphis to start the season.  That said, Greg Garcia is an NRI to the big league camp.  I wouldn’t be surprised, given the issues that we know of with Furcal, that he makes the roster.  I think short stop is a very serious issue and I honestly don’t know what the ultimate answer is.  The Cardinals have gone with drafting a short stop in the first five rounds the past few seasons.  One has since been converted to a pitcher.  Another has been in GCL the past two seasons.

As for not making the team, is Ty Wigginton an option?  I’m still confused as to how or why he was an All Star in 2010.  I understand if he was signed for defense but he’s only played 9 games at short.  Most of his work has been at 3rd base with a little at first and second, too.  Signing Cedeno is one thing, given Furcal’s status, but I never understood signing Wigginton when you have other bats in the lineup that are productive, even coming off the bench.

– Daniel Solzman

 I’d second the Ronny Cedeno-off-the-squad talk as I can’t see that he’d give us much more than Kozma or Jackson could, even if they can’t give a lot.  Plus he’s got the Cub taint on him–do we really want to be risking that kind of contamination?

As for who I want to see, while Mark makes a lot of great points on Taveras, I’m still very anxious to see him on the club.  So, from a purely fan point of view and not worrying about the future, I’d go with him.

– Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat

 For the NOT making the squad side, it’s really a tough toss up between Ronny and Ty. I’m not sure I fully comprehend the Ty Wigginton acquisition in the first place, while Cedeno makes some sense due to the Cards issues at SS. So for that reason, I’ll vote for Ty to not make the squad.

As for who I hope makes it? I’d really like to see Miller continue into 2013 without more time at AAA. I think he’s earned it. I don’t know whether I care if he starts or not. I might like to keep seeing him throwing flames from the bullpen, with occasional long relief assignments.

– Wes Keene

 I am rooting for Kolten Wong to make the team. Defense wins championships, as proved by Nick Punto starting nearly every single game at second base down the stretch in September and throughout October of 2011. Wong is the best defensive option we have in camp at second base and it is not even close. His range factor in the minors last season would have tied with Omar Infante for the best in the National League among second basemen. Couple his defense with his high upside bat and speed and he is an exciting player that can help this team now, even without an at bat at triple-A.

As for who I am rooting against, it has to be the combination of Shane Robinson and Adron Chambers. One will likely make the roster as the 4th outfielder, but neither is really good enough to play in the big leagues. If I had to choose one, I’d go with Chambers because he has more speed and is a better defender. So I guess I am rooting against Shane Robinson, even though I think he makes the roster simply because he is right-handed.

For the record, I wish this roster spot was going to Matt Adams. That way, Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter could serve as backup corner outfielders while giving us an actual impact bat off the bench, but then the roster would be without a backup center fielder.

– Corey Rudd

I think the player I would most like to see make the roster – for purely sentimental reasons – is Shane Robinson. With the players coming up next year, this could likely be Shane’s last shot to make an Opening Day Cardinals roster. The dude has worked way too hard to get buried in AAA. Plus, with him on the team, he’s the only legit RH option we have in center field if needed. He has some speed, some defensive skills, and he can put together a decent at-bat…ah, ok…it’s just sentimental :).

The player I would least like to see make the roster is Ronny Cedeno. I just don’t like the reports I’ve heard about his focus, etc., etc. But I think it’s the situation that would have to develop for him to be a must-have on the roster…Kozma show very little and Furcal’s elbow continuing to be worrisome enough to carry multiple back-up SSs.

Ah well.

– Kevin Reynolds, www.stlcardsnstuff.com

 I am with Corey, I want Wong to make the club. I believe he is not that far behind Carp or Descalso right now and would love to see him start the year as the starter. I love the Greg Garcia talk from someone. I think he is father away than Wong and probably not ready, but could see MLB time later this season.

I think he is a year away, but a stretch would be Jordan Swagerty.

As far as someone I would like to see off of the roster, I am with you guys on Cedeno or Wigginton. Prior to the Carpenter injury, I would have said a reliever to make room for Miller, Rosenthal, and Kelly.

– John Nagel

Is there room for one more on the Cedeno (anti-)bandwagon?  The minute I heard about this move, I started thinking about all sorts of things like: “Furcal is even worse off than we thought, but at least Mo is doing something about it now, instead of waiting until the third week of April when we’ve already suffered losses because of it.”, immediately followed by, “Is RC really a better option than some of the guys that we could stick there as a band-aid anyway?”  I can’t say I even knew anything about his apparent bad attitude, clubhouse presence or whatever.

And yes, I agree with seeing Shelby Miller make the move north with the club.  I’m not convinced that Garica is out of the woods yet, and having another dependable guy on staff will be an important piece of making those next rounds of decisions that involve the “Rosenthal/Kelly/others” group of up-and-comers.

– Dathan Brooks

 

I’m hoping Shelby Miller makes the team because he seems to possess a potential talent that is something special.

 

 

I’m hoping Pete Kozma doesn’t make the team because if he does that likely means Rafael Furcal cannot play.

 

 

– Mark Tomasik, www.retrosimba.com

 

Of players I’m not sure I see a reason for on this club, it’s Shane Robinson. He’s been up and down since 2009 and last year played a 100+ games, hitting barely over .250. There’s no one place that he makes the team much better than anybody else, and in this situation, he makes it at the expense of Adron Chambers, who is a much superior defender, throwing threat and speed factor. I don’t care what his batting average is; those are unique enough skills for this roster that he should be the 25th guy.

 

As for a guy I’m all for seeing on the club, it’s Joe Kelly. It’s easy to see why Shelby should make it, and if the planned path stays what it’s been since he was drafted, his time is now. As for Kelly, he’s the first true impact long-reliever candidate the team has had since McClellan early on. I think he’s the type that can come in and be a high impact performer early in games in those pressure situations before it’s Chief-Boggs-Motte time. I see a lot of potential in him, and maybe even a bit of Mitch Boggs later on down the road.

 

– Matt Whitener, www.cheapseatsplease.wordpress.com

 

Sounds like Cedeno is shaping up to be this year’s Joe Thurston. The dude is infamous for bunting with the bases loaded. He should fit in nicely with Matheny’s Mad Bunters.

 

– Deckacards

 

I hope to see Adron Chambers make the team. I like his energy, as well as his speed, and his defense.

 

 

As for who I don’t want to see make the team: Oscar Taveras, at least not yet. He could still benefit from some minor league time to gain experience. It was just two years ago he was here in the Quad Cities, very talented but very raw.

 

 

 

– Christine Coleman, AaronMilesFastball.com

 

I’m pulling for Joe Kelly. He stepped up last year and did more than anyone really expected of him, and I hope he gets the chance to build on his 2012 performance.

 

As for not making the team? I’m going to say Kolten Wong. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kid and am excited to see what his future holds with the big club. But, I would rather wait another year to let him adjust gradually than throw him into the lions den and cross our fingers in hopes that he can handle it.

 

– Tara Wellman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball

 

I can’t answer this with one guy.  I want to see Eduardo Sanchez make the team because of how dominant he was just 2 short years ago, and hoping the shoulder and control problems are behind him.  Imagine having him in the mix with Mujica, Boggs and Motte.

 

I also want to see Rosenthal, probably more than any other player, make it.  Taking Chris Carpenter‘s offer to stay and workout over the winter is something that will benefit him personally, but he needs to be around and have a voice, even at his age, to remind teammates that the CC factor and intensity will go forward.  Rosenthal is the next true ace of the Cards IMO, yes, even above Miller, Martinez and Wacha.

 

As for not making it, I would have to say Matt Adams.  If he’s in, Craig is hurt.  Adams needs to duplicate what he did at AAA before the bone spurs and maybe provide us with a nice trade chip, because I know Mo is smart enough not to deal away pitching prospects, which I won’t even mention.

 

– J. D. Norton (Bleed Cardinal Red With Me)

 

Starting with not making the Opening Day roster it’s Trevor Rosenthal for me. Again just restating what I’ve been saying but from my amateur view it seems he’d benefit greatly from starts in Memphis.  Last season Shelby Miller was coming off a nice year in Springfield which made fans anxious to see him in STL. The 130 innings he pitched in Memphis were full of ups and downs and hopefully allowed him to grow into the pitcher we all hope to see.  I’d have to think a similar situation would be a good fit for Rosenthal. Again, Miller has the year at AAA under his belt and is ready for the spot . I’m not saying Rosenthal should be buried in Memphis all season but at least the first half of the year. And definitely a NO vote from me for putting him in the bullpen at the beginning of the season. Also really like Matt’s thoughts on Kelly which for me is part of the equation along with Rosenthal. Miller in the rotation, Kelly in a long type roll in the pen and Rosenthal to Memphis as a starter.

 

Keeping with my pattern of being mostly against the popular vote I’m really pulling for Oscar Taveras to break the club out of Spring Training. I love the line of thinking of a 4 man outfield rotation.  Carlos Beltran was a monster last season for the first 3 months of the season and then fell considerably in July and August before regaining traction in September and into the playoffs. Matt Holliday could also benefit from some additional days as well. He’s not in the same situation as Beltran (age/health concerns) but having both fresh for the stretch run would be a benefit. I understand the thought of having Taveras continuing to develop but I don’t think it’s necessarily needed as much from a positional player’s standpoint like it is with a pitcher. The 2 examples that help reinforce this point are Bryce Harper and Mike Trout last season. Neither player reached 100 PA’s in AAA and Trout damn near won the league MVP. Harper was having a very mediocre start to the season in AAA before the call and he put together a very nice season in Washington. I’m not saying the Taveras situation is identical but having a possible future superstar spend more of his cost controlled time continuing to develop in the minors is a waste if he has the ability to play at the MLB level and can make the adjustments. I like Adron Chambers but not enough to have him and also Shane Robinson seeing extended playing time and starts.

– Dustin McClure, www.welcometobaseballheaven.com

Eduardo Sanchez, because that will mean that his shoulder is healed and he has regained his control.  When he was on, he threw things that I’ve only seen in video games.  I’d love to see him doing that again.

I’m sort of surprised there hasn’t been a ton of “Pete Kozma” responses to this one.  I guess I am going to jump on the Ronny Cedeno bandwagon here.  I’ve never been terribly impressed by his play, which would be OK if he also didn’t carry some alleged personal baggage.  It sort of feels like Julio Lugo 2.0 or Felipe Lopez.  I don’t see how he represents any upgrade over what’s already on the bench.  I’d be disappointed if he broke camp with the big league club.

– Bob Netherton

 

 

One Response to “Cardinal bloggers’ spring roundtable: Players you’re rooting for and against to make the team”

  1. Brandon Says:

    I want Shelby Miller to make the team because he has upside that most of the current rotation does not. Although I think relievers are generally overvalued, they’re not valueless, and the notion of extending guys in relief in the bigs to get acclimated makes a lot of sense.

    I do not want Ronny Cedeno, Pete Kozma, or Kolten Wong to make the team. I do not feel that Cedeno or Kozma offer much at this point, and I’d frankly rather roll with Descalso at SS than either (shudder). To me, Wong’s upside is Todd Walker, who was a pretty good player, but not exactly a franchise changer. If Carpenter can not spike himself at 2B, I’d prefer to see the Cards carry someone like Ryan Jackson as a defensive replacement for Descalso, who could slide to 2B in place of Carpenter. I want Wong to prove it at AAA because if he makes the Show, nearly any performance short of terrible will be an “encouraging sign”. Of course, the ideal is a healthy, productive Furcal. That will not happen.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.