Editor's Note: Two years ago, Site Manager Ben Humphrey asked readers to provide predictions for Cardinals baseball players. Last year, he renewed that request, and although Ben is in blogger retirement, we at VEB are re-renewing the request to predict how the Cardinals will do.
We will not get to every player on the 40-man roster, but we will get to most. There will not be a defined order for the players, but players most assured of playing time will go first so we can let some of Spring Training play out. We will ask for standard stats. For hitters: Plate Appearances, Home Runs, RBI (gasp!), Runs, Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, and WAR. As trying to figure wOBA on is very difficult, we will use a rough approximation based on OBP and SLG ((1.7*OBP+SLG)/3). For pitchers: Starts, Games, Innings Pitched, K/9, BB/9, ERA, FIP, WAR, and Saves.
Next up: Randal Grichuk.
All things considered, projecting Grichuk is no easy task. When healthy (which, up to this point in his professional career, is a very important qualifier to consider), Grichuk has performed quite well on the field. His hitting coach likens him to a Ferrari. And with just one solid (but also injury-riddled) season on his big-league resume, MLB Network ranked the 24-year-old outfielder the 44th best player in MLB "right now."
Now, I am not at all complaining about such a high ranking for an important member of the Cardinals (even though he had no business outranking Matt Carpenter), but what makes this scenario especially confusing is Grichuk ranked eighth among center fielders in MLB Network's "right now" positional rankings, behind Adam Eaton (6th) and Kevin Kiermaier (7th), both of whom placed lower than Grichuk overall at unranked (?) and 65th, respectively.
Some offseason Grichuk articles you may have missed that may come in handy when inputting your 2016 projections are Ben Markham's "Finding comps for Randal Grichuk" and Craig's piece titled "Thirty homers is a realistic goal for Randal Grichuk." Considering we ask for a projected WAR (which, by definition, includes a defensive component), it may also be beneficial to look ahead to Grichuk's defensive future, through the eloquent writing of John Fleming.
Grichuk's FanGraphs page with his Steamer projection can be found here, and the Cardinals ZiPS can be found here. Help us out. Tell us what think.