April Grades: Position Players

I know it’s been awhile since I was able to add to the blog, it’s not for lack of desire, but more a lack of time. Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten a job, been working on finishing the projects at my internship, and my wife and I adopted a dog. Needless to say, there has been very little “routine” in our lives since the last blog post.

For the Cardinals, the last couple weeks have brought some changes. Lance Berkman hit the disabled list. Skip Schumaker and Allen Craig have returned. Erik Komatsu is now Designated for Assignment (DFA) and will likely get picked up on waivers or brought back by Washington. Chris Carpenter has yet to return to throwing after his neck injury in Spring Training.

With one month of the season in the books for the Cardinals, it’s time to hand out some early season grades for the team. Today will be a look at Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak and the offensive players on the roster. Tomorrow will look at the Cardinals’ coaching staff and the pitchers. Let’s dig in.
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Schumaker and Craig set for rehab

According to a Derrick Goold tweet yesterday, Skip Schumaker and Allen Craig could both start rehab assignments within the next week. Schumaker took some ABs in extended spring training in Jupiter and appears set to start rehabbing next week, according to Goold. Craig is headed to Florida on Sunday in the hopes of being ready for a rehab assignment late next week.

For Cardinals fans, this is good news. Craig is easily the most dangerous bat the Cardinals have off the bench this season and the sooner we can get him back, the better off the team will be. Especially with there being some question about Lance Berkman‘s calf injury. I’ve read that he described it similar as to previous issues he had, so it could be more trouble than we think it will be. Meanwhile Schumaker is the most reliable bat we have that can play second base, even if there is some question to his glove work.

With the potential that both players could be looking for a spot on the 25 man roster by the end of the month, it opens up some interesting questions and battles to stay on the 25 man roster.
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Linebrink may head to DL, Marte up

Without even making a single toss yet this season, Scott Linebrink will likely be making a trip to the DL according to the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold. Goold tweeted this afternoon that Linebrink has been sent back to St. Louis to have an MRI on a sore lat. The Cardinals are expected to add Victor Marte to the 40 man roster and bring him to St. Louis, taking the 40 man roster spot of Adam Ottavino who was claimed earlier this week by the Rockies.

I’d read earlier this week people congratulating him on Twitter for getting the call to the majors. I was confused at the time, but I guess we now know why.

For Linebrink, this really concerns me. He hit the 15 day DL with Atlanta last August for what was termed a “lower back strain.” After much searching, I haven’t found anything more specific, but Linebrink had a 2.95 ERA in the 42.2 innings before the DL stint and a 6.17 ERA in the 11.2 innings after it. What will this mean for him going forward and will this be something that plagues him the rest of the year and affects his performance.
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Cardinals open season with win

The World Champions looked like just that last night as they defeated the new look Miami Marlins 4-1 to officially open Marlins Ballpark. Most of the ballpark’s “firsts” are now attributed to Cardinals’ players. The first hit was Carlos Beltran. He was also the first run scored. The first RBI was to David Freese. The first strikeout went to Josh Johnson, but he was the batter as Kyle Lohse fanned him in the bottom of the 3rd. We did not, however, get to see the new home run sculpture get a use.

Kyle Lohse certainly lived up to the billing of an Opening Day starter, taking a perfect game into the fourth and a no-hitter into the seventh. If not for a missed call at first base, he would have gotten out of the game without allowing a run and maybe gotten an opportunity to finish out the game himself. It was probably the best Opening Day performance by a St. Louis pitcher since Todd Stottlemyre threw 7 scoress innings of 3-hit baseball as the Cardinals shut out the Dodgers.

Lohse, who got the Opening Day call after Chris Carpenter‘s injury, was the team’s best pitcher over the course of last season, leading the rotation in wins, ERA, and WHIP.
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2012 MLB Predictions

Its that time again gang.  Last year I bombed pretty bad on a number predictions but that doesn’t scare me away from doing it again!  Who will win the World Series?  Who will take home the Cy Young Awards?  Who do the ROY honors go to?  Without further ado…

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