The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

TCN Blog 2014 Top Story #10: Right Field Rub

In the 2014 season of multiple offensive disappointments for the St. Louis Cardinals, none was bigger – or a bigger surprise – than right field.

Last off-season, veteran Carlos Beltran – productive, but aging and oft-injured – was allowed to seek a big free agent payday from the Yankees. That opened up the position for slugger Allen Craig. A side benefit was to give promising first baseman Matt Adams starter at-bats.

Along the way, what looked to be a promising advantage all went wrong.

Craig never recovered from foot problems and struggled mightily in his 70 starts before being traded away. Fill-ins Jon Jay and Shane Robinson combined for 18 starts in right.

Amid a high level of expectations, rookie Oscar Taveras was given a short leash before being returned to Triple-A and later tried again, totaling 58 uneven starts at the position.

The club eventually came back around to an earlier-tested rookie in Randal Grichuk. He had manned right field for just 16 regular-season starts before taking over during the playoffs. There on the big stage, the overmatched 22-year-old struck out at a 37 percent rate and batted .171.

The cumulative regular-season results from the position were so bad that the .609 OPS from the right fielders was the lowest among the eight positions on the Cardinals team, excluding pitchers. The right fielders tied for worst on-base percentage at just .283.

To top it off, a position that is expected to deliver power had the worst slugging percentage on the team at a paltry .326. The total right field run output consisted of 59 RBI and nine home runs.

The year before was like daylight compared to the 2014 darkness. 2013 right fielders combined for a team-best 28 homers and plated 107. Their batting line was a robust .304/.348/.500/.848.

With only Jay, who has earned the regular job in center, and unseasoned Grichuk slated to return from among the five primary 2014 performers in right, the Cardinals took very decisive action this off-season.

Much more about that is coming in a future story, but suffice it to say the Cardinals do not want to experience another year from right field in 2015 like they suffered through in 2014.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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6 Responses to “TCN Blog 2014 Top Story #10: Right Field Rub”

  1. crdswmn says:

    I thought I would let everyone know that a former poster here and on the message board—he was CardsFanSince57 on the blog, and AncientCardFan on the message board—passed away on Saturday.

    I heard about it on Twitter from someone we both followed (he and I). I didn’t put two and two together at first, but his name sounded familiar, so I went to check my PM box on the message board, as he had sent me a couple of messages back in 2011 telling me who he was. As I suspected, it was the same man. I had not heard from him since he left the message board. We exchanged emails once, and then I never heard from him again. I have been following him on Twitter for a while (and vice versa) but I didn’t realize it was him because I had forgotten his real name. Anyway, the tweet that I saw about his passing made me go and check and it was him.

    Those of you who have been around for a while should remember him. He had quite a way with the English language. He quit the blog after the 2010 season I believe.

  2. blingboy says:

    I remember him well. I wonder why he dropped off the blog. RIP friend.

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