UCB Roundtable: Pick One Player

Last month, the United Cardinal Bloggers did their annual preseason roundtable.  There were lots of questions asked and, as is my tradition, I went last with the group, which meant that most of the good stuff was taken.  I did get one out there though and the answers came in.  Good answers.  Solid answers.

And then I forgot to post them.

In my defense, I’ve been getting Playing Pepper posts ready as well as juggling some other spring things, but I really should have gotten this post and that last John Mozeliak trade post written and published.  So here, on the eve of the 2017 season, the final question:

For each of the following, give me one person who:
1) Will be a major reason the Cardinals win or lose
2) Won’t be in the organization come August 1
3) Will frustrate the fanbase the most this season
And now, the answers….
Mark Tomasik (RetroSimba)

Carlos Martinez will be a major reason why 2017 Cardinals win or lose. Without him, or if he is subpar, they lose.

Jordan Schafer won’t be with the organization come Aug. 1. Cardinals won’t have a place for him and someone else will give the two-way player a chance.  (Editor’s note: this was before Schafer went down with season-ending surgery.)

What will frustrate the fan base the most in 2017 will be the inconsistency of Trevor Rosenthal.

Laura and Holly (STL CardGals)

I would also have to agree that Carlos Martinez will probably be a big enough deal this year that if he lands on the DL for any extended period of time, the Cardinals could risk overall loss this season.

This is a tough one. I think for the past few summers we’ve been a little concerned that Matt Adams will be traded, which I think could be another possibility this year, particularly if he can’t get off the bench much the first half of the season.

Again, hoping this isn’t the case, but I’m thinking Kolten Wong might fall into this category again. The guy’s got all the heart in the world, but the fanbase already seems to be somewhat on the fence about his future here, at least playing 2nd.

Colin Yarbrough (The Redbird Daily)

Michael Wacha‘s performance will dictate whether or not this team competes in the division or simply for a wild card berth.

Low hanging fruit, but Eric Fryer won’t be on the team come August 1st. Carson Kelly will play his way onto the big club.

Fans will continue to be frustrated by Kolten Wong. I think he’ll have good enough numbers to warrant being in the lineup, but he won’t play at an all-star level. Fans have seen the tools, and will want more.

Zach Gifford (Redbird Rants and The Redbird Daily)

Dexter Fowler. It’s pretty simple, but scoring in the first inning is huge for win probability. Can he repeat his OBP skill from last year, or does he regress back to his career average (which is still pretty strong). Health has also been a little bit of an issue for him the last few years, and I think the Cardinals need him to play 150 games.

Luke Weaver? He’s the most obvious trade chip if the Cardinals are buying in June or July. I think they should trade Lance Lynn even if in contention, but that’s another story, and I don’t think its a move Mozeliak would make.

Matheny is the obvious answer here. It will be interesting to see how he handles the bullpen, would should be on of the best in the MLB. I’m not confident he’ll put those guys in their best positions to succeed. Kolten Wong is another strong candidate. I think both of them disappoint in 2017.

Josh Gilliam (Pitchers Hit Eighth)

I truly hope this is the season where we finally get to pick on the players instead of the manager. It will be a clean sweep of Adam(s) for my answers, as Wainwright has that look again. If he is the co-ace again, the Cards go into October happy.

On the other hand, if Waino isn’t bueno then he won’t get a mostly free pass again from the vocal BFIB. I do think Matt Adams is auditioning for other teams and will be used to fetch another arm or possibly the answer to the 3B riddle by the end of July. Peralta becomes the honorary Adam in the equation for possibly all three questions, especially if he isn’t moved and breaks down in September.

Bill Ivie (I70 Baseball)

The major reason the Cards win or lose will be the skipper himself, Mike Matheny. The manager has to figure out how to “let the boys play” a bit and get their footing under them. He’s been given a fairly steady lineup at this point, let’s see how much he tries to tweak it in the early months.

Who won’t be in the organization August 1? I think Matt Adams or Kolten Wong. Adams, I think, has a chance to be somewhere else before opening day (paging Colorado, I hear they need a first baseman right now). Wong will depend on his development and if Matheny pulls him early.

Who will frustrate the fans? Possibly Wong but more likely some inconsistency in the bullpen. I’m going to call this one a draw between Trevor Rosenthal and Brett Cecil. Both are going to be looked to for some high pressure innings and both have shown in the past that they can’t always be the one to handle that.

Allen Medlock (The Redbird Daily)

I’m completely impressed with Dexter Fowler. I think he’s a winning player and changed the atmosphere on club that had grown stale. His ability as a lead off hitter changes the complexion of the ball club.

This may be easy after the news over the weekend, but I don’t think Schaefer will be with the team in Aug. I will almost be surprised if Adams and Pham are still with the team after the deadline.

The most frustrating issue to me is the fact that we still have blacked out games in 2017.

The great thing about asking questions is, of course, that you can tidy up, get everyone’s answer, and then move along when nobody’s watching….oh, I just gave that away.  I guess I better come up with some answers as well, then.

–There are so many ways to go with the first one.  Yadier Molina has to stay healthy, I think.  If he’s down for any length of time, this could get ugly.  Also, Adam Wainwright really needs to be better than last year.  Lance Lynn and a resurgent Michael Wacha can pick up some slack, but not all of it.

–I’m starting to think that Harrison Bader might not be around, given the logjam in front of him and the players coming behind.  I feel like even with Yadi’s extension (if it happens) Carson Kelly has value to this organization and won’t be terribly buried.  Bader, though, could be part of a mid-season deal to bring in a quality solution to a problem.

–The frustration has already started with Kolten Wong and I can’t think of anyone that will be more polarizing to the fanbase.  That said, if Matt Adams plays much in the outfield, it could be him or the manager that put him there.

It’s always great interacting with my fellow bloggers and podcasters.  I look forward to doing it all season long!

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