A rival scout sizes up the CARDINALS
They and the Nationals have the best rosters in baseball.... MICHAEL WACHA will be the ace of that staff soon. His fastball goes up to 99, he pitches at 96--97 with a hard breaking ball, and his changeup is really improving. It's all explosive and on a downhill angle.... SHELBY MILLER is a middle-rotation guy with upside. He doesn't have the power stuff that Wacha has.... LANCE LYNN is underrated. He's durable and can play lots of different roles. He has enough stuff to be a No. 3.... MATT ADAMS has a lot of power. He's fairly short to the ball for a big guy and has great legs, good balance.... Another great draft pick was KOLTEN WONG. He's a very good defender with a lot of energy, and he has gap-to-gap power.... JHONNY PERALTA is a great guy who made a mistake [with his PED suspension]. He's a good teammate, a winning player. He doesn't have great range, but he'll give you steady offense: 20 to 30 doubles, hit .260 to .280, drive in 60 to 70 runs.... MATT CARPENTER is the most underrated player in the game....MATT HOLLIDAY still has productive years left; he's in great shape, moving around well.... PETER BOURJOS has to stay healthy—his legs are his whole game.... They've got a bunch of bullpen arms. They could get JASON MOTTE back healthy, plus they have JOE KELLY, TREVOR ROSENTHAL, KEVIN SIEGRIST and CARLOS MARTINEZ, who has stuff to match anybody in baseball. They're really good.
2014 Projected Statistics and Run Totals by ROTOWIRE.COM
PROJECTED RUNS SCORED
NL AVERAGE 667
PROJECTED RUNS ALLOWED
NL AVERAGE 677
The Cardinals' success in turning minor leaguers into major leaguers has created a logjam, with MATT ADAMS (.284/.335/.503, 17 homers in 319 plate appearances) pushing ALLEN CRAIG for playing time at first base. Craig may play in the outfield corners to create at bats for Adams, but he is no outfielder. St. Louis should shop Craig, 29, while his value is high. He is signed through 2017 for just $28 million, making him attractive to budget-conscious teams. While he's a good hitter, he doesn't bring much value on the bases or with the glove, and his bat has probably peaked. (Craig's slugging average has declined for the past two years.) It was former Cards GM Branch Rickey who said it was better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. John Mozeliak should hew to that axiom, especially if it creates playing time for Adams in the short term, lowers payroll in the medium term and adds talent to the Cards' development machine.
SCOTT ROVAK/USA TODAY SPORTS (PERALTA)
JEFF ROBERSON/AP (CRAIG)