A St. Louis sports alternative..

Saturday, March 23, 2013

UCB Roundtable: Which Cardinals' players will improve the most from last season?

With the season set to begin in just a matter of days, many baseball fans are preparing research to draft their fantasy baseball teams. Others are simply familiarizing themselves with their favorite St. Louis Cardinals players and their performances in 2012 in order to set expectations for 2013.

Of course, it is impossible to expect players to perform at the same level from year-to-year. Some players will be get better and others will be worst.

We decided to ask the United Cardinal Bloggers back in February who they thought would improve their performance over last season. You can find the responses below.

Bill Ivie of i70baseball.com

Pete Kozma is in a good spot to improve on last year and prove he can do it for 162.  It will be interesting to see if the kid can produce at the level he needs to.

Wes Keene of Keene on MLB

At this point, we have to hope that Kozma is the one who can dramatically improve over last year. Whether that is really the case or not, I don't profess to know.

Daniel Shoptaw of cardinal70.com

While Kozma (assuming he can hold the job) should beat a lot of his counting stats from last year, you also have to toss Allen Craig into that mix.  He missed a month or so of last year as well and could be very impressive in a fully healthy year.

Danile Solzman of redbirdrants.com

If Kozma can consistently produce this season, the Cardinals may have found the longterm solution at shortstop.

Bob Netherton of On the Outside Corner

I fully expect Pete Kozma to be the next Tyler Greene and not be able to do in the big leagues what he did in the minors, except in Kozma's case, that is something of a good thing.  For years we've heard the stories of disappointment in the minor league system, but the kid worked hard last year after losing his job to Ryan Jackson.  He improved his game and stepped up at the right time last September.  No pouting, no staring at unicorns in the outfield, he just got better. 
I hope that he can prove to be a very dependable defensive shortstop for the Cardinals  this season.  It will be nice to see some of those ground balls up the middle actually stopped and played for outs rather than hits.   He may not be as acrobatic as Rafael Furcal, but that's no longer an option, so no sense lamenting over the loss.  Kozma will be just fine, and he might hit just enough for us to forget all the bad press he's gotten in the last couple of years. 
I also expect to see a bit of an up-tick for Daniel Descalso.  I suspect we'll see him playing second base more than a lot of fans are expecting.

J.D. Norton of Bleed Cardinal Red With Me

I think Fernando Salas will have a good year, he was better after the kideny stones.

Christine Coleman of Aaron Miles' Fastball

I think that Adam Wainwright will improve over what he did last year, and I think Lance Lynn will improve on the bad parts of the second half/postseason.

Dathan Brooks of Cards Tied for First

It's hard to imagine Waino not showing a significant improvement over last year.  He's a full season removed from TJ recovery, and let's face it--he's a better pitcher than that.  Oh, and the whole contract year thing.  He might win 21 games and contend for CY again in '13.  I think few, including national media would be shocked to see that.  Personally, I'd like to see Marc Rzepczynski be the guy who takes things to a new high this season--that is not only possible, but would help buoy the team in a lot of ways.

Matt Whitener of Cheap Seats Please

I'd say Allen Craig. For whatever is lost from a potential (and likely) Beltran decline, Craig could more than make up for. This is a guy that had 57 extra base hits in just 119 games. If he makes it up to 140 games, the power numbers will start to reach the Matt Holliday level and even if the average slips some to the .285-.290 level (he's a career .300 guy in quite limited action), that difference in pop will put a completely spin on his season and the team.

Mark Tomasik of RetroSimba.com

If healthy, Jaime Garcia should be able to return to at least a 13-win season.

Mark Sherrard of Cardinals Fan in Cubs Land

I think I have to go with Wainwright and Craig as the two most likely to improve over last year's numbers.  Wainwright will be another year removed from TJS and Craig should have a full year of playing time.

The United Cardinal Bloggers is an organization of quality, active bloggers who interact regularly and respectfully as they report and opine about the St. Louis Cardinals.