New Year's Resolutions for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014
As the New Year rings in, the St. Louis Cardinals have a lot to look forward to.
They are stocked up on talent at almost every position, are coming off a trip to the World Series and are poised to contend against the National League Central, all with a lower payroll.
Yeah, times are pretty good. But every team has room for improvement and the Cardinals are no exception.
Here are some New Years' resolutions for the birds from St. Louis.
Develop Kolten Wong
Kolten Wong has produced at every level of professional baseball at which he's had more than 60 at-bats. But Wong had some making up to do in the eyes of a few fans because he got picked off at the end a World Series game.
Wong was a .300 hitter during his time in the minor leagues and he is primed to play everyday at the big league level. He has a good glove, great speed and can hit the baseball given the opportunity.
In the event Wong flops, the Cardinals have signed veteran Mark Ellis, but even he knows Wong will be given every chance to prove himself.
I think Kolten Wong can be the guy everyday at second base for the Cardinals for years to come. He just needs the chance to get used to major league pitching and use his speed when he gets on base.
Ease Oscar Taveras into the Major Leagues
Given the fact that Oscar Taveras got only 186 at-bats in AAA Memphis due to an ankle injury, he probably needs some more time to simmer in the minors.
Taveras did hit .306 and drove in 32 runs in 46 games and has shown, when healthy, he is a big league talent.
With a crowded outfield of Matt Holliday, Peter Bourjos, Jon Jay, Allen Craig and Shane Robinson, Taveras will have to hit to get some at-bats in. Barring injury, there is no doubt in my mind Taveras will get the chance to play this season; it's just a matter of when.
I'm very excited to see Taveras in St. Louis and hope he plays his way into the lineup similar to the way Albert Pujols did in 2001. High hopes perhaps, but Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has made a comparison between the two.
Hit into Less Double Plays
It seemed like the biggest rally killer last season for the Cardinals was when the double play reared its ugly head.
The Cardinals finished second to the Minnesota Twins for the major-league lead in double plays hit into with 178. They led the National League in the dubious category by 15 over the second-place Colorado Rockies.
Matt Holliday led the major leagues with 31 ground-into-double-plays (GIDP). With the amount of runners the Cardinals hope to get on base this year, Holliday is going to have to figure out how to put the ball in play without making two outs.
He is an elite hitter with exceptional power, so hopefully he'll hit a better streak of luck regarding his double-play propensity.
With the departure of David Freese, the Cardinals don't have anyone on their roster that hit into more than 14 ground ball double-plays minus Holliday. It'll be exciting to see how many runs the Cardinals will score if they can keep out of the double-play in 2014.