March 10: Q of the Day
Do you thing the Cardinals may trade for proven power bat to add to the lineup? I’m not sure the current projected lineup will replace our right-field power loss, and I don’t think we can expect our RISP to be as lofty this season.
— Darrell F., St. Louis
The Cardinals acquired the only bat they went after this spring in signing shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a four-year contract on Sunday. Did the Cardinals need him in order to have a potentially potent offense this year? No, I don’t believe they did. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to stockpile talent.
Almost certainly, the Cardinals will not hit .330 again this season with runners in scoring position. The club isn’t delusional in thinking it will either, so it’s not as if the Cardinals have built their offense to be reliant on equaling that “clutch” production.
Where I think the Cardinals will make up for the expected dip in RISP average is with an uptick in power. Matt Adams projects to play every day; he hit 17 homers last year as a part-time player. Allen Craig, if he stays healthy for a full season, is certainly capable of a 20-homer season. Last year, he hit only 13. Jhonny Peralta offers power from the shortstop position that was not present a year ago. Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter, who hit 12 and 11 homers, respectively, in 2013, could conceivably see those totals rise.
Last year, the Cardinals hit 125 homers, a total that ranked 27th of 30 in the Majors. It was the lowest team total in a non-strike shortened season since 1993, when the Cardinals hit 118. There were several theories as to why the numbers dropped, including, as manager Mike Matheny brought up again on Sunday, the fact that Busch Stadium tended to play bigger than normal. (Temperatures can have that effect.)
Regardless, the club does anticipate seeing a higher home run number in 2014 even though there will not be an intentional approach to hit balls out of the park. That, along with continued success in RISP situations, would set the Cardinals hope to have an offense that is the envy of the league.
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