St. Louis Cardinals: 5 Most Improved Players in 2012

Adam SpencerCorrespondent IMay 8, 2012

St. Louis Cardinals: 5 Most Improved Players in 2012

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    The St. Louis Cardinals haven’t missed a beat after winning the 2011 World Series.

    They may be without Albert Pujols, but plenty of other players have stepped up to keep the Cardinals competitive.

    They are one of the best all-around teams in the entire league, thanks to the improvements of several key players.

    Let’s take a look at the five most improved players on the St. Louis roster this season.

5. Tyler Greene, 2B/SS

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    I’m still not a huge Tyler Greene fan, but I have to give him credit for his performance so far this year.

    He’s been a serviceable infielder, something he hasn’t been for the past few seasons.

    He’s still only hitting .250, but has shown some flashes of power, hitting three homers and driving in eight runs.

    If he can continue improving this season, he could be the everyday second baseman year.

4. Jake Westbrook, SP

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    Westbrook was terrible down the stretch last season. He wasn’t even on the roster during the National League playoffs, though he did make the World Series team.

    This year, he’s in much better shape and has been throwing the ball like he’s capable of throwing it.

    He’s 3-2 with a 2.18 ERA and has only given up one home run.

    If he can continue to keep the ball in the park, he’ll continue to be successful.

3. Jon Jay, OF

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    Jay took over the center field job last season, making Colby Rasmus expendable.

    Now he’s taking his game at the plate to the next level, becoming a very productive hitter.

    He’s currently hitting .381 with two home runs, eight RBI and 14 runs scored.

    If he can be a .300 hitter this season, the Cardinals offense will be in great shape.

2. Allen Craig, 1B/OF

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    Craig was outstanding in last year’s World Series, picking up big hit after big hit to keep the Cardinals alive.

    But he started this season on the disabled list, missing the first part of the season.

    He’s healthy now though, and he hasn’t missed a beat.

    In his five games played this season, he already has two homers and nine RBI to go along with a .421 batting average.

    With Matt Carpenter and Craig playing great baseball, Lance Berkman can take his time getting healthy.

1. Lance Lynn, SP

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    No one saw this hot start coming from Lynn, who was previously a bullpen guy for the Redbirds.

    The Cardinals haven’t missed the injured Chris Carpenter at all, thanks in large part to Lynn’s amazing start.

    He’s 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his six starts this season and has struck out a team-leading 37 batters.

    If he can keep up this pace, it will be impossible to move him to the bullpen when Carp comes back.