St. Louis Cardinals Prospects Who Could Impact the 2014 Season
I'm sure I am not alone when it comes to the excitement I have about the 2014 season and what it holds for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Coming off their second World Series appearance in three years, the Cardinals appear primed to make a deep run into October in 2014.
Their roster is pretty loaded, and they actually reduced payroll heading into next season. However, no matter how loaded a roster may be, there are always injuries, slumps and unforeseen circumstances.
Here is a look at some of the prospects from the Cardinals' pipeline that may have an impact in 2014.
Everyone in St. Louis is waiting for the debut of Oscar Taveras. He has been highly touted for the last few years and was the No. 3-ranked prospect coming into 2013.
While he didn't have a complete season to showcase his talents, due to injury, Taveras has shown flashes of potential.
Taveras will almost certainly start the season at Triple-A Memphis to get some more work in due to his short year in 2013. But the time will come this summer when Taveras is suited up for the Cardinals.
With Allen Craig's propensity for injury and Jon Jay's slumping habits, Taveras could be in St. Louis before the end of May as a fourth outfielder.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is no dummy when he makes trades. Clearly he wanted Peter Bourjos as a guy who would compete for an everyday spot in center field, but Mo made the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sweeten the pot when dealing third baseman David Freese.
I don't think Randal Grichuk was just a throw-in piece. The guy has legitimate pop in his bat.
Last season, Grichuk smacked 22 home runs in 128 games for Double-A Arkansas while part of the Angels farm system. In 2012, he hit 18 home runs and batted .298, so there is potential the Cardinals can continue to develop.
Again, with injuries and the unknown, it is not too far a stretch to think Grichuk could be in a Cardinals uniform by the end of the summer and bring his pop to the bench.
Big surprise here, right?
There is no doubt that Kolten Wong will have an impact, positive or negative, for the Cardinals in 2014.
I have written a ton about his upside lately, and I am a believer that he will produce at the major league level, given he gets his at-bats in.
We know he has a strong arm and a good glove, so now everyone is waiting to see the production at the plate from the .300 career minor league hitter.
Wong batted a paltry .153 in 59 at-bats in 2013. It would not surprise me at all to see Wong around .275 with 25-plus doubles and 30 stolen bases at the end of 2014. The potential is there; now it's time for Wong to produce.