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

TCN Blog 2015 Top Story #6: The Rookie Outfield Trio

As mentioned earlier in this series, one upside of the multitude of injuries suffered by St. Louis Cardinals starters Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Matt Adams in 2015 was the creation of playing time for three rookies.

Randal Grichuk had used his power bat to make the Cardinals out of spring training. He remained with the club all season, getting double-digit numbers starts at all three outfield positions. By the end of the season, the 24-year-old had essentially earned the starting job in center.

Stephen Piscotty was called up in late July and in an unusual situation for any call up, never returned to the minors. The former Stanford standout saw time in both corner outfield spots, first base and even made an appearance in center.

Ironically, when Grichuk went onto the disabled list for the second time, in August, it opened the door for the return from Triple-A of a third outfielder, Tommy Pham. Pham essentially stepped in for his fellow rookie and immediately contributed down the stretch.

Coming into the season, The Cardinal Nation had Grichuk and Piscotty ranked among the system’s top five prospects with Pham at 13.

Here is the tale of the numbers. In aggregate, they contributed 29 home runs, 104 RBI and all told, an impressive 5.6 bWAR.

Randal Grichuk (4) 3.2 350 17 47 0.276 0.365 0.329 6.3% 0.548 13.4% 0.877 31.4%
Stephen Piscotty (5) 0.9 256 7 39 0.305 0.372 0.359 7.8% 0.494 10.2% 0.853 21.9%
Tommy Pham (13) 1.5 173 5 18 0.268 0.333 0.347 11.0% 0.477 9.8% 0.824 23.7%

Together, the three rookie outfielders were significant contributors to the 100-win 2015 Cardinals – to the point they are all currently expected to be members of the 2016 opening 25-man roster.

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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11 Responses to “TCN Blog 2015 Top Story #6: The Rookie Outfield Trio”

  1. crdswmn says:

    I am just curious, given that Jay and Bourjos are both gone now, who is going to step in to be the back up CF if/when Grichuk/Pham is injured? It’s not like either of them are that durable. Who is slated to be the CF in Memphis? Is Tilson going to start in Memphis?

    None of Holliday, Piscotty or Moss can play CF (though I wouldn’t put it past Matheny to try, given that he played Grichuk when he couldn’t throw).

    • blingboy says:

      Mo will not rely solely upon Tilson. Guillermo Heredia Molina is still unemployed, I believe. Supposedly AAA worthy at the least.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Tilson will be at the ready at Memphis. Martini should be the backup CF for Memphis.

      • blingboy says:

        I always forget about Nick Martini. A good soldier who will be in his 6th pro season. Apparently, he seldom distinguishes himself so as to generate any buzz. Sort of an outfield UT who played a lot of CF in the past, but had to move aside more recently. I know nothing about whether his CF defense would fly in a ML fill in role. If he is a regular in Memphis’s outfield, the opportunity will be there. Good luck to him.

        • crdswmn says:

          There is the issue of Martini not being on the 40 man. Jeremy Hazelbaker has about 1400 minor league innings in CF, but he is also not on the 40 man. They can of course be put on if needed, assuming there are spots.

          There are 2 minor league OFers on the 40 man, Tilson and Anthony Garcia. Garcia has played all of 1 inning in CF and that was in Rookie ball. Tilson has yet to play in AAA.

          I believe Mozeliak to be smart and competent. He has to know that his CF back up ranks are painfully thin and that he is relying on two guys with not so upstanding health histories. So I choose to believe, until proven otherwise, that he is still looking for another outfielder who can play CF. Who that may be is anyone’s guess. If he is not looking and is planning to rely on Grichuk and Pham with little back up readily available, then we need to wrap both of them up in bubble wrap and hope that the universe is kind.

          • Brian Walton says:

            Is CF really any more thin than other positions on the team? How about catcher? Molina is getting older and has been banged up every year and Pena is no kid, either. Behind them is Ohlman, with the exact same experience as Tilson. What about 3B? Who is there after Carpenter other than Patrick Wisdom?

            • crdswmn says:

              Since this was a post about the OF, I was focusing on that. OFers who can play the corners are generally more plentiful than ones that can play CF so that position seems to be more vulnerable.

              Carpenter has been pretty durable, unlike Grichuk and Pham, but yes, there is always the possibility of injury to Carpenter. Gyorko can play 3B. Do we still have Dean Anna? He can play 3B. What about Diaz, can he play 3B? Both are on the 40 man.

              As for catchers, that has always been a worry. In the past there have always been catchers in the minors to bring up in a pinch, in fact there have been times when there have been 3 catchers on the roster at one time. I know Easley, Tartamella, and Stanley are gone, but didn’t Mo sign a couple of free agent catchers?

              • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                Moss plays the corners …….. gyko plays 3rd when necessary…… if the kept RG out of the weight room……he would be just fine…… MM is an idiot with the weights priorities……..

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Martini hails from a suburb northwest of Chicago, whereas Tilson is from due north of Chicago.
          Last year, Memphis had Rafael Ortega in center. He did so well, Ortega is nowon the 40 man of the Angels as trout insurance. As you know, we love left swinging centerfielders, who get on base.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            2016 will be a good year for moving people up the ladder and learning what they can do. One good thing about the cards system is it is focused on development and not full of castoffs.

  2. Bw52 says:

    Eric Fryer is minor league FA Catcher the Cards signed.He has parts of several seasons in the majors.I also think Mo will sign some more minor FAs with MLB experience for OF and INF.

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