I do not pay much attention at all to Spring Training statistics. I couldn't tell you anybody's ERA, batting average, home runs or strikeout numbers so far. I'm aware Mike Leake had a good start, and that Marco Gonzales is doing well, but as far as numbers go, I don't think it helps to dive too deeply in numbers when players are at different parts of the readiness program and a generally small sample size.
That said, it is important to pay attention to themes or narratives that develop as they can be important. Here are my takeaways after another week of games.
Matt Holliday to first base is a thing that is happening
The idea that Matt Holliday would give first base a shot last season was met with much derision given first base is hard and Matt Holliday had never played there in his entire big league career. As a result, when Holliday was working out at first base in winter, there was still a considerable amount of skepticism regarding the move. Sure, he was working out there, but working out there does not translate to games. Besides, the Cardinals had Brandon Moss and Matt Adams battling at first with Stephen Piscotty learning the position and gaining experience there, a role for Holliday was not clear. The role is becoming more clear.
The Stephen Piscotty experience at first has been suspended as he takes over as the regular right fielder. With two left-handed options at first base, a right-handed option could be helpful and Matt Holliday keeps playing at first base. He has not been tested much, but that the Cardinals keep playing him there is an indication that it could carry over to the regular season. The biggest winner in this situation is Tommy Pham, who stands to get considerably more playing time in the outfield if Holliday makes a bunch of starts at first base. If Pham stays healthy and plays well, he could be battling Moss and Adams for playing time, even against right-handed pitchers.
The Cardinals really do want to see what they have at shortstop
Jhonny Peralta's injury is still the most significant piece of baseball news to happen this spring in Cardinals camp. While there have been rumors on Erick Aybar, Nick Ahmed, and now Ruben Tejada a free agent, the Cardinals have had some opportunity to bolster the shortstop position from outside the organization. While the team could still make a move before the season start, they have shown legitimate interest in seeing how Jedd Gyorko and Aledmys Diaz can handle the position.
The two potential shortstops continue to alternate starts at shortstop, and while there is still considerable speculation about whether Gyorko can actually handle shortstop on a regular basis, the Cardinals continue to give him a chance. Diaz has a better glove than Gyorko, but his questions regard whether he is ready to make the leap to the majors after expecting to start the year in the minors. For now, it appears one of those two will start the season as the Cardinals' shortstop.
The pitching is still healthy
Another week has passed without a major pitching injury, and perhaps nothing is more important for the Cardinals than maintaining health in the rotation. The Cardinals do have multiple options in reserve, but a rotation of Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, and Mike Leake has the opportunity to be one of the best in baseball. The first four pitchers have injury histories or concerns that could present themselves at some point in time, but every week that goes by without a setback is a positive one for the Cardinals.
Enjoy your evening and your weekend.