The St. Louis Cardinals are in 1st place in the NL Central with a record of 22-14. What’s more impressive is they have done that despite pathetic performances from some of their most recognizable players like Dexter Fowler, Kolten Wong, and Matt Carpenter. Now with their leader Yadier Molina out after being hit in the bollocks, they are in serious need of offense.
If only they had a player who was batting over .360 just sitting on their bench…Oh wait, they do! Jedd Gyorko, who can play any position in the infield, is sitting on the bench with a .366 BA and a 1.188 OPS. So why has he only had 41 at bats in 36 games? Why is one of the best hitters on the team being treated like a leper? Well, he doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plans in the infield like Kolten Wong or Matt Carpenter do. Gyorko is also losing AB’s to Jose Martinez, who has been a strong contributor at 1B and in the OF since last year. Even though Gyorko is the odd man out, he shouldn’t be. Clearly, he is better than Kolten Wong, and he is playing much better than Carpenter has this year.
The Cardinals front office has a love affair with Kolten Wong. Wong, who is batting an anemic .196 through 33 games this season. He is a career .253 hitter with an OPS of under .700, and has never hit more than 12 home runs in a season. And it’s not as if Wong has not had every opportunity, the former 1st round pick has been promoted and given all the chances he could ask for, and routinely has under-performed. Sure, he has shown flashes, but he hasn’t put it together for an extended period of time. His defense is raved about, but his fielding percentage is only .979 in his career. He is just not a very good baseball player.
Jedd Gyorko, by contrast, is a career .247 hitter, but has hit 50 HRs over the last two seasons with the Cardinals. He did that while playing every single infield position. Granted, he is not an above average fielder, but his career fielding percentage is .988, 9 points higher than Wong. So why is St. Louis depriving this man of playing time? It just doesn’t make sense, and any baseball fan can see that. Mike Matheny and the front office need to realize that Wong is not an everyday player. They also need to sit Matt Carpenter more until he can work out his issues. Carpenter, who I absolutely love, has been even more pathetic than Wong this season, batting .147 with 3 home runs in 33 games.
Gyorko deserves to be in the lineup everyday in place of either Wong or Carpenter. They could play all three on a given night and plug Martinez in the outfield, and give one of those players a rest. Dexter Fowler could probably use some time to figure his struggles out, he is hitting .154 through 33 games this season. Why are the cardinals still throwing their struggling players out there every night if they aren’t getting better? I’m not saying guys like Carpenter or Fowler should lose their jobs, because those two guys have a strong track record, but if they aren’t playing well, then bench them in the short term. Kolten Wong on the other hand, should not be a starter and ideally I would play Gyorko at 2B with Martinez at 1B and Carpenter at 3B. The Cardinals have flexibility on their roster, with several players who can play at different spots, and it’s about time they took advantage of that and play the guys who are actually hitting.