Questions answered through first 11 games

 

Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports
 
Before the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Reds in a Sunday matinee matchup, I thought I’d answer some questions about the team through the first eleven games of the season.
Is Aledmys Diaz for real?

The answer is yes. Even I doubted Diaz during spring training due to his lackluster performance. Since being called up to the majors due to injuries, he’s been on a tear. Diaz has played in nine games so far and has two home runs, five doubles and a triple so far. He’s driven in eight runs and only struck out twice in 33 plate appearances and holds a .406 batting average. If that’s not impressive enough, Diaz’s BAbip (batting average of balls in play) is .393. If Ruben Tejada comes back soon as widely reported, Diaz should still be the everyday short stop. Once Jhonny Peralta comes back, Diaz could take over at second base.

Is Kolten Wong worth the money?

Sadly, the answer is no. Wong has been a defensive liability since he was called up to the majors a few years ago and has never been able to get things going at second base. Sure, the whole team has been bad defensively, but he and Aledmys Diaz have accounted for half of the team’s errors. He’s had bright spots offensively, but he’s not worth the five-year $25.5 million contract he signed during spring training.

Is Yadier Molina healthy?

I think his offense early on speaks for itself. Molina is hitting .311 with six RBI and four doubles so far. His thumb doesn’t appear to be a problem early on. I look for him to have another all-star caliber season this year.

What’s up with Randal Grichuk?

He walks up to the plate to the tune of Nelly’s “Here Comes the Boom” and it’s a fitting song. After a slow start to the season, Grichuk has raised his batting average to .219 (it was a .067 after the first series against Pittsburgh). Grichuk has also tallied two home runs and six RBI.

Is Jeremy Hazelbaker another Bo Hart?

For those that remember Bo Hart, you could see why I make the comparison. Hart played one solid season in 2003 for the Cardinals. He hit .277 with 13 doubles, four home runs and had an OPS of .713. So far in 2016, Hazelbaker is hitting .406 with three home runs and has seven RBI. Here’s to hoping Hazelbaker, who’s just 28 years old, isn’t a flash in the pan type of player for the Cardinals.

What’s wrong with Waino?

I’ve heard it from friends, I’ve seen it on Twitter, what is the deal with Adam Wainwright? He’s supposed to be the Cardinals’ best pitcher, right? Well here’s my answer, he still is. What great pitcher doesn’t have some rough outings? I get it, he’s supposed to throw complete games and shutout the worst teams in the league. Just be patient Cardinal nation. He will come around.

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What the Ruben Tejada signing means for Cardinals

Historically the St. Louis Cardinals have tried to fill voids from within the organization before jumping to the free agent pool or picking up the phone to work a trade. But when Jhonny Peralta went down early this spring with a thumb injury, an external move needed to be made. 

The Cardinals have signed former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada to a one year deal. You might remember him from the playoffs last year where he tried to turn a double play but was taken out by a dirty slide, courtesy of Chase Utley. Tejada broke his fibula, but seems to be ok this spring.

Cuban prospect Aledmys Diaz just wasn’t cutting it at SS for the Cardinals this spring and there’s a reason why the San Diego Padres didn’t see Jedd Gyorko as the answer to fill a SS void there. 

I think the Tejada pickup is a good move. Peralta will be back around June, and Tejada can play second and third base as well. Last year with the Mets he hit .261 with three home runs and drove in 28. This spring he’s hitting .278 with a home run and 5 RBI in 8 games. 

He’s not a guy that’s going to hit a bunch of home runs, that’s just a fact. He’s got 10 in his career. If you’re hoping for that, you’ll be let down. He is however a pretty solid defender and can hit the ball pretty good. 

The plan (in my opinion) is for Tejada and Gyorko to platoon at SS until Jhonny Peralta’s thumb is good to go. The two can also rotate at second base to give Kolten Wong a rest, especially against lefties. 

Both are in the lineup today against the Miami Marlins. Tejada will start at SS, Gyorko at 2B. First pitch is at noon on Fox Sports Midwest.

Check back for more of my thoughts on the St. Louis Cardinals’ season. 

-tvteddy