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Which 2013 St. Louis Cardinals will be in the best shape of their lives?

The St. Louis Cardinals will start reporting to the Grapefruit League later this month. It's time to figure out who we'll be overly excited about.


It's February 1, 2013, and February is only good, baseball-wise, for two things:

  1. Pitchers and Catchers will report, and then disappoint you by not doing very much for another few weeks.
  2. Everyone else is in the final stages of being in the Best Shape of His Life.

That's it. So now is your chance to be ahead of the Spring Training scuttlebutt by choosing your BSOHL candidate before he has then chance to tell you so.

I've got some pressing engagements this morning, so I won't be able to spend much time defending my own picks until later, but here's what I've got:

Best shape of his life: Adam Wainwright. Wainwright is coming off a year in which he underperformed his peripherals pretty badly, and between that and the specter of his Contract Season it'll only take a few solid innings before we start hearing about a return to the form he barely even left.

Worst shape of his life: On the other side, it'll only take one bad inning for Fernando Salas in the World Baseball Classic for everyone to worry about his health/readiness/loyalty. Nobody—in or out of the organization—seems especially eager to put their trust in Salas anyway, which is not a great sign for a pretty-good relief pitcher.

No shape at all: No matter what Jaime Garcia does between now and, say, this time next year, people will look at him with the same mix of disdain and sympathy you'd give a coworker who was fired for stealing legal pads and trying to resell them.