While everyone is already in camp and most have been there for a while, today is the first full squad workout of the spring. Carlos Peguero gets the “last man in camp” award. Perhaps he had a good reason, but you’d think coming from another organization you’d like to get to your new club early, make a good impression. Whatever the case, the gang’s all here and if you have a calendar of firsts, today you get to check off another one.
Yesterday was competition day in camp, with everyone finding out that Jonathan Broxton can apparently bunt with the best of them. Which is pretty much absolutely worthless, since Broxton has all of eight plate appearances in his 11 year career, none since 2009, but it makes for a nice day at camp. (Adam Wainwright did outscore Broxton, which is a bit more relevant.) All in all, it was a good break from some of the routines of getting ready for the season. It’s almost like the team was having fun, though that seems impossible for a Cardinal squad, right?
Benjamin Hochman points out that this is like the Cards breaking things down into pieces, then working on the pieces to put the puzzle back together. It’s one of the great things about having this extra time before the games start. I know sometimes we talk about spring training being too long, but without some of that length, you don’t get to approach things in this way.
Over at the official site, it’s Jaime Garcia‘s turn in the spotlight. Jenifer Langosch writes that Garcia comes to camp pretty much with the same mindset as always, but the way everyone else looks at him is a bit different. I think most of us still worry about Garcia’s health, wonder if he’ll make it through the season, but not as intently as we have in the past. This time last year, everyone knew that Garcia was just playing out the string, that even if he could be healthy it was his last year in Cardinal red. Now, after showing what a healthy Garcia looks like, I think there’s more folks expect the Cardinals will pick up that last option year than are expecting to part ways with the lefty at the end of the season.
Derrick Goold writes about Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk and their relationship to each other. It sounds like it’s one of those “opposites attracts” types of friendships, especially when it comes to baseball. We think of Piscotty as the controlled hitter and Grichuk the free-swinging power guy, but they continue to learn from each other and tinker with their games with how the other one goes about their business. They’ll spend this year together in St. Louis and it should be fun for all of us to watch them, especially if they are back-to-back in the lineup.
Let’s go ahead and get started on our Cardinal Approval Ratings. We only wound up with 39 responses this year, so the outliers are going to wind up skewing the total more than normal. (There was at least one that gave single digits to everyone, which seemed really strange, but what can you do?) Today’s player is Matt Carpenter, who winds up with a 86.3% mark from the group, down a smidgen from his 88.1% of last year. It baffles me how Carpenter’s not in the 90% range, given all he does for the team. Perhaps that slump last year skewed some folks’ opinion of the leadoff hitter, I don’t know.
Our media representative is the aforementioned Derrick Goold. His mark this year–81.2%–is the lowest he’s had since he’s been on the ballot beginning in 2011. That said, it’s still right in the general range Goold grabs each year, just down a couple of points from his 83.7% mark of the prior polling.
Finally, the rating for Ballpark Village is down this year as well, though it places in the middle of the marks for the last four years. Last year it was 83.1%, this year 78.1%. I got to visit BPV for the first time this past season and I thought it seemed like a nice place to be at prior to or after games, but I also know it has been blamed for some other local locations closing, so I could see the competing factors when you get to rating.
We talk about the Braves this afternoon in Playing Pepper, so be sure to rejoin us then!