Predicting the Full 2012 Postseason Roster for the St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are within only a small handful of games of clinching their third playoff berth in four years. While they have yet to officially clinch, it is still a good time to look at how a potential playoff roster might look for the 2012 Cardinals.
With that being said, the road to the end of the season has been a tough one for the defending world champions. Rookie manager Mike Matheny, left to fill the shoes of one of MLB’s all-time winningest managers, Tony La Russa, has not had it easy this year, but he’s managed to hold everything together.
Through injury after injury and slump after slump, the Cardinals have managed to push their way to within grasp of the playoffs again. Once they reach October, as Cardinals fans learned in 2011, anything can happen.
Despite the struggles, the Cardinals have many things to be thankful for going into the postseason—great starting pitching and an offense capable of being explosive.
The majority of the playoff roster is a done deal, but there could still be a few surprises.
As of press time, the Cardinals' lead for the second wild-card spot sits at four games thanks to the team’s ability to beat up on the weaker teams down the stretch. The last six games of the season, however, won’t be easy.
As October nears, here is a prediction for what the St. Louis Cardinals could look like during the postseason.
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Kyle Lohse (16-3/205 IP/2.77 ERA)
Adam Wainwright (13-13/192.2 IP/4.02 ERA)
Chris Carpenter (0-0/5.0 IP/3.60 ERA)
Lance Lynn (17-7/170.2 IP/3.69 ERA)
Jaime Garcia (6-7/115 IP/3.99 ERA)
The battle for backup starter
This will likely go to Lance Lynn, but there are other possibilities. However, Lynn's consistency and valuable postseason experience would likely give him an edge.
Jaime Garcia, who has had his ups and downs in 2012, may not be used, but could be available in a bullpen role to help shore up the team’s long-relief options.
If he’s not needed immediately, Lynn could even spend some time in the bullpen. One or both of them will likely be brought along to use in “mop-up” situations if a starter goes down early.
Garcia makes the roster.
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Jason Motte (4-5/40 S/69.1 IP/2.86 ERA)
Fernando Salas (1-4/57 IP/4.26 ERA)
Edward Mujica (0-0/24 IP/1.13 ERA)
Mitchell Boggs (4-1/70.1 IP/2.30 ERA)
Joe Kelly (5-7/103 IP/3.58 ERA)
Sam Freeman (0-1/18.2 IP/5.30 ERA)
Trevor Rosenthal (0-2/20 IP/3.15 ERA)
Marc Rzepczynski (1-3/45.1 IP/4.37 ERA)
The battle for middle relief
The Cardinals will likely take Joe Kelly on the postseason roster because he has shown strong ability late in games to this point. However, they will still need at least one and possibly two additional relievers.
Sam Freeman has been used in key situations recently and seems to be garnering the favor of the powers that be making him a likely candidate to be picked up. With use of Rzepczynski declining and the high hopes for Trevor Rosenthal’s future, it’s quite predictable which of the two will get the nod.
Shelby Miller, due to not being added to the active roster before Aug. 31, 2012, is ineligible to be placed on the playoff roster.
Freeman and Rosenthal will likely make the roster. Rzepczynski may very well stay home.
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The battle for second base
Once the Tyler Greene trade happened, we began to see more continuity at second base and more of that can be expected. Matheny has regularly gone with Descalso in recent weeks.
The battle for shortstop
Battle might be a stretch for what has happened in the vacuum left behind Rafael Furcal following his season-ending elbow ligament injury.
Pete Kozma, who struggled badly at Memphis in 2012, has come to St. Louis and taken a commanding ownership of the position both with his glove and bat. Prospect Ryan Jackson was called up in September but has barely even taken the field.
The Cardinals have good confidence in Kozma, and he is currently showing the fanbase exactly why—clutch hits and good defense.
The battle for backup catcher
Backing up a catcher of Yadier Molina’s caliber is definitely a dull position, but Tony Cruz has stepped up and been good when Molina has needed time off. Cruz will definitely be the main backup, but the Cardinals have two additional catchers on the active roster—Bryan Anderson and Stephen Hill.
Anderson has seen more play time of late and can be expected to make the jump onto the postseason roster.
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CF Jon Jay
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
1B Allen Craig
3B David Freese
C Yadier Molina
SS Pete Kozma
2B Daniel Descalso/Skip Schumaker
As the season winds down, Cardinals fans can expect to see much of the same everyday lineup on a regular basis if the team makes its way into postseason baseball. I look for no changes to the outfield unless Matt Carpenter is used to rest Beltran for a game or two.
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The battle for pinch-runner
When it comes to speed off of the bench, the race comes down to two guys—Adron Chambers and Shane Robinson. If the roster spots are available, I expect both to tag along for the October ride, but if it comes down to one, the speed award goes to Chambers.
With that being said, Robinson’s bat and glove are of more value. With Carpenter and Schumaker already in the mix as backup outfielders, the chance is slim they would want to take two more outfielders on the roster.
Projected Playoff Roster
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RHP Chris Carpenter
RHP Kyle Lohse
RHP Adam Wainwright
RHP Lance Lynn
RHP Mitchell Boggs
RHP Jason Motte
LHP Sam Freeman
LHP Jaime Garcia
RHP Edward Mujica
RHP Fernando Salas
RHP Trevor Rosenthal
RHP Joe Kelly