The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season. This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason. More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter. Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.
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Player: Xavier Scruggs
Season stats: 9 games, 18 PA, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, .200/.333/.600 71 OPS+
Overall grade: C
Positives: Another one of the Cards that made his major league debut, which is always a cool thing to see….two of his three hits in a Cardinal uniform results in an RBI, including a double for his first major league knock….hit .286 with 21 home runs down in Memphis.
Negatives: Striking out seven times in 18 plate appearance is a tough thing to swallow….struck out 114 times in Memphis against only 53 walks….wasn’t able to do enough to make Matheny and John Mozeliak put him on the postseason roster, even though they would be facing some tough lefthanders.
Overview: Scruggs was promoted right after the Memphis season was done, missing their playoffs for his first shot at the big league life. He then got into just nine MLB games, often as a pinch-hitter. The idea that he would give Matt Adams a rest against left-handed pitching wasn’t tried out as much as many fans expected and, given that lack of use, it was tough to argue that he should be on the postseason roster, even if he’d given the bench a little more pop.
Scruggs is 27 and should be hitting his prime. It’s possible he’s going to struggle in the jump from AAA to the majors, but his skill set doesn’t seem to be that different than Randal Grichuk‘s, save the glove portion. Grichuk had a few more homers in Memphis this season, but their lines aren’t terribly dissimilar. Grichuk seems to be locked in to right field next season, so could Scruggs get the benefit of the doubt and become that right-handed bat the Cards are looking for that can play first?
Given Mozeliak has already said they are looking outside the organization, it’s not exactly the best position for Scruggs to be in. That said, until someone else is signed, it would seem to be his for the taking.
Outlook: My guess is we’ll see Scruggs spending most of his season at Memphis next year with some callups to the majors. I can’t see Mozeliak entrusting him with that power responsibility, especially after the void created by the passing of Oscar Taveras. Still, Scruggs really seemed to appreciate his opportunity and had a wonderful personality, so I’m hoping that he’ll get a few more chances in a Cardinal uniform.