David Freese prepares to hoist the World Series trophy after winning World Series MVP honors.
After winning the 2011 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals had to deal with a very tumultuous offseason as they lost a long time superstar in Albert Pujols. However, the Cardinals will get back a pair of supremely talented pitchers in Chris Carpenter and the returning Adam Wainwright. Plus, they will still field a pretty solid offense centered on a re-emerging Lance Berkman and ever steady, and healthy Matt Holliday.
Boom: Outfielder Matt Holliday.
The departure of Albert Pujols certainly does not help the Cardinals lineup, but having a healthy Holliday certainly will help. I don’t think you can expect Coors’ Field Holliday, but you also don’t really have to worry about even seeing last years version either.
Holliday will have a remotely pressure free year as all eyes will be on Berkman to see if he can repeat last years performance, Carlos Beltran the teams newest addition, or the returning staff ace in Adam Wainwright. Holliday isn't story No. 1 in St. Louis, so that automatically helps him out.
Why will he boom?
For Holliday to be a breakout performer this year, he’ll need to climb above that magical .310 batting average mark that he has hit consistently in his career and top the 30 home run plateau. Both are definitely in Holliday’s future.
Bust: Third Baseman David Freese.
Yeah, I know. I already have a theme with National League Central third basemen busting, but I doubt the trend will continue long.
Simply put, his World Series performance won’t hold up. Too many expectations after the break out World Series performance. So far in the major leagues Freese has played in just 184 games over three seasons with a .298 average, 15 homers, and 98 RBI’s. In the 2011 postseason, he played in 18 games, hit .397 with five homers and 21 RBI’s; oh, and a 1.258 OPS.
A lot of people will be expecting so much more out of Freese when in reality he’s a .300 hitter with maximum 15 homers a season at third base. It was magical what he did in the latter stages of the Fall Classic against the Rangers, but he isn't a player capable of replicating that magic on a consistent basis.
Why will he bust?
The power leaves a lot to be desired, especially at third base, and his postseason, especially World Series, power and clutch display will cause a lot of people to expect more than what he can produce with the skills he has. In one word, over rate. I'm not saying Freese is overrated, anything but that. I'm saying that a lot of people will over rate what he can do simply due to his fantastic World Series performance.