The left side of the infield and catcher will be in the spotlight today.
Shortstop: With Jhonny Peralta signed for this season and the next three, and the price tag attached, it’s doubtful he’s going anywhere. Though, with his current slump, it’s a good time to look at who is getting playing time at Memphis and Springfield.
Pete Kozma is a familiar name for Cards fans. He is getting the majority of playing time in Memphis and most likely will for the remainder of the season. A solid glove helped him reach the majors, but a below average bat keeps him at AAA. September call-up is a given, but only an injury gets him back to St. Louis before. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kozma in a different uniform this year.
A little more on shortstop Aledmys Diaz. He played multiple infield positions in the Cuban League and has settled in at shortstop with the Cardinals. He is smooth in the field, with good range. He makes tough plays look easy, but also has the tendency to make easy plays look tough. His bat has plenty of pop and I can see a big league future consisting of 20-25 Hr’s with a boatload of doubles. His plate discipline is lacking, but most likely isn’t as bad as the stats would tell show. Speed and fluidity on the base paths is apparent, and a 25-30 stolen base season isn’t out of the question.
The biggest question is how 23-year-old Diaz fits into the Cardinals long-term plans. Had they not signed Peralta, I think Diaz is on the St. Louis roster by the end of July. Now, I am doubtful he advances to Memphis before the All-Star break, which is not a bad thing for development.
Third Base: Matt Carpenter is at third base, and most likely will be at third base for a long time. He is signed through the 2019 and is a major roadblock for anyone in the Cardinals system hoping to make the roster at that position.
Scott Moore is a journeyman third baseman. He has had stints in the majors with various teams, but hasn’t played a full major league season. At age 30, he would be an emergency replacement in St. Louis, but barring an injury, a return to a Major League roster is unlikely.
Curt Smith was originally drafted by St. Louis, and after a three-year hiatus, finds himself back in the Cardinals system. At 27, his experience and clubhouse leadership has been important at the AA level. He gets playing time at 3rd and 1st, and isn’t much of a threat for promotion past the AAA level.
Patrick Wisdom was promoted the AA to start the season. As for the transition, let’s just say the fielding has been an issue. With a fielding percentage that starts with an “Eight”, it’s obvious there is work to be done. He is still young for this level and his bat is still a mystery. He gets good solid contact, but strikes out too often. He will spend all of 2014 at Springfield.
Catcher: Not much really needs to be said. Yadier Molina will not be replaced. It’s a matter of who may be next in line for the occasional start when he needs a day off.
At Memphis, Audry Perez is the most major league ready. Good defensively with very limited offensive upside. He would most likely be the first call-up if needed.
Springfield boasts two catchers, Travis Tartamella and Cody Stanley. Neither will remind you of Johnny Bench with their bat, but they are solid defensively, with each throwing out 50% of attempted base-stealers.