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.
Up next: Yadier Molina.
It is March 7th, the Cardinals have played four spring training games plus an exhibition against Austin Gomber's Florida Atlantic University, and their franchise catcher Yadier Molina has yet to even swing a bat. Yet, he reportedly may begin swinging one this week. Will Molina be ready for opening day? It may be his personal goal, but still, the Cardinals certainly shouldn't rush him back. That being said, if he decides he is ready to play on opening day, the Cardinals will likely let him play, as Bernie Miklasz wrote for 101 ESPN last week.
Unlike his throwing-hand thumb injury in 2014, the one he suffered last season will likely have an even bigger impact on his hitting ability as the bottom hand (his left) plays a vital role in swinging the bat. As you can see in the table, Molina's power plummeted last season (to an isolated power of .080, ahead of only two catchers with at least 350 plate appearances). Thus, given the unpredictability of both the strength and the health of his left thumb, what can we expect from Molina at the plate this season? Will he become even more contact oriented or will his power return to pre-2015 levels? Let us know what you think below.
You can find Molina's Steamer, ZiPS and FanGraphs Depth Chart projections on his FanGraphs player page.
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