As spring training 2013 is getting underway, the Cardinals have some exciting prospects pushing to break through to the big show. With youngsters like Kolten Wong, Oscar Taveras and Matt Adams in the pipeline, the future is looking bright.
With almost all the everyday positions locked up to start the 2013 season (second base being the question mark), how soon can Cardinal fans expect to see their top prospect talent hit the field?
The guy with the best shot of being there the soonest is second baseman Kolten Wong. But, according to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, second base is Daniel Descalso's to lose. Meanwhile, Matt Carpenter has been taking ground balls at second base this spring, so there is no clear cut starter.
With the uncertainty at second, Wong has a chance to make an impact. He hit well in the minor leagues posting a .300 average and a .363 OBP. He will need to prove he can hit at the big league level to stay.
Descalso has an excellent glove but hasn't proven he can hit consistently in the majors. Carpenter is not an everyday second baseman but has show he can hit. So there is room for someone to step up and take the position.
However, if Wong doesn't make the club out of spring training, I wouldn't expect him to be in the majors until a September call up.
Then you have Oscar Taveras. Some are expecting he will be in the majors by mid-season. The guy is a super talent and will hopefully stick at the big league level once he gets his shot. John Mozeliak says he is the best hitting prospect since Albert Pujols.
Talk about huge shoes to fill.
The issue at hand for Taveras is an outfield that is set to start 2013. The Cardinals feature Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran—all of who had a very solid 2012. Holliday and Beltran supply excellent power and Jon Jay has taken hold of the leadoff spot in the Cardinals lineup.
The quickest route to the majors for Taveras will be through an injury to one of the above mentioned outfielders. A point to consider is all of the 2012 starters have spent time on the disabled list at some point during his career.
It is very possible with the old knees of Beltran and the reckless abandon style of play from Jon Jay, that Taveras could be in St. Louis before June.
That brings us to Matt Adams. He spent a brief time manning first base for the Cardinals last season. He played in place of the injured Lance Berkman and did a decent job. But with Allen Craig having first base locked up for the foreseeable future, Adams will have to be a role player to make the club.
He can provide power off the bench, but is limited by only playing first base. If he makes the team out of spring training, it'll be in a role player position. Adams should be a September call up barring an injury to Allen Craig. It would not be surprising to see the Cardinals try and trade him in the meantime.
The prospect talent pool is as deep in Jupiter this spring as it has been in years. It will be exciting to see which of these prospects will step up and secure himself a future in the Cardinal lineup.