When the St. Louis Cardinals take the field for the 2017 MLB season, the lineup will look a little different compared to last season. The biggest difference being long-time Cardinal Matt Holliday is gone and now wearing Yankee pinstripes and former Cubs’ center fielder Dexter Fowler will now be donning the Cardinal red. Matt Carpenter looks for a fully healthy season as he takes over as the everyday first baseman’s role. And Jedd Gyorko will look to solidify himself as an everyday guy after playing in 128 games in each of the last two seasons.
This is a lineup with some really good young talent. It is also an order that can see many forms, as multiple guys could easily be slotted all over the place. Many of these names are solid power hitters, making spots two through six completely up for grabs. So while not everyone will agree with what I have listed below, this is certainly a very dangerous form of the Cards’ lineup for 2017.
- Dexter Fowler, CF – The team was hoping Kolton Wong would eventually develop into a leadoff hitter. Unfortunately, that has yet to happen. This meant the team was without a true leadoff man last season, leading to their pursuit of the former Cub. Fowler will bring his .393 on-base percentage to the Gateway City as he is a lock to be a top of their lineup each and every night.
- Yadier Molina, C – One thing that Molina has always been known for is being a professional hitter. As a result, he often finds himself with a batting average right around, but usually above, .300. While he is not a big-time home run or stolen base guy, it is that professional approach and high batting average that makes him perfect for the two hole for the Cards. Along with Fowler, Yadi can help set the table for the plethora of power bats that will follow them.
- Matt Carpenter, 1B – Matt Carpenter suffered through a plethora of injuries in the 2016 season. Now he looks towards a new season with extra stability position-wise as he was told he will be the club’s first baseman. He will bring a growing power to the heart of the order to go along with a solid .270ish batting average. Like Molina, he is a professional hitter and if his power continues to grow like it has the last few years, a 30 home run season is certainly doable.
- Jedd Gyorko, 3B – Jedd Gyorko is not even guaranteed a starting job, as he will be competing with Jhonny Peralta for the third base job, so you may be asking why he would be in such a prime spot in the lineup. Well quite simply, he has the most raw power on the team and is entering the prime of his career. The former top prospect for the San Diego Padres never lived up to the hype on the West Coast, but in his first year as a Cardinal, he hit 30 home runs in 400 at-bats. As he enters his age 28 season, Gyorko will look to approach 40 long balls in a full season of at-bats, which would fit perfectly into the cleanup spot in the lineup.
- Aldemys Diaz, SS – Talk about a feel good story of the 2016 season. Diaz came out of nowhere last season to hit .300 with 17 homers, drive in 65 runs and slug .510 in 404 at-bats. The 26-year-old shortstop will look to bring his power to the middle of the lineup as he makes for a solid candidate to drive in runs. He showed the skills last season and he has locked himself into a full-time role. Now he will be given the chance to capitalize on it with a prime spot in the order.
- Stephen Piscotty, RF – Like Diaz, Piscotty is a very talented young hitter. Also 26, Piscotty is coming off a very solid 2016 season that saw him hit .273 with 22 homers and 85 RBIs. Diaz showed a little more pop in his bat, which leads to him be given the spot ahead of Piscotty, but do not be mistaken, Piscotty is legit and he can hold down any slot in the middle of this order.
- Randal Grichuk, LF – Talent-wise, Grichuk is just about as good as anyone in front of him. One department he lacked in compared to Diaz and Piscotty was batting average. While he slammed 24 homers with a .480 slugging percentage, his batting average sat at .240. He has recovered from the knee surgery he had to remove the loose cartilage in his left knee, meaning he should be a full-go for Spring Training. He will look to climb the ladder and reach a better slot in the order.
- Kolton Wong, 2B – Kolton Wong still has plenty of promise. But he has yet to show it in a full season of MLB play. Last year he played in 121 Big League games, batting .240 with seven bags and a .330 on-base percentage. He is in the order for his defense right now and until the offense develops like the Cards hope it will, he will be holding down the bottom of the lineup.
- Starting Pitcher
How do you see the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting lineup shaking out for the upcoming 2017 MLB season? Tell us in the comments!