Like most of my fellow bloggers have stated I’m going to predict a very nice season for David Freese barring injury. Unfortunately the way this season has started I’ll be more than surprised if he doesn’t land on the DL for an extended period.
Jaime Garcia set the bar so high for himself it’s going to be hard for him to repeat that success. Some regression for Jaime, but not a sophomore slump my any means.
As for Jon Jay and Allen Craig my gut feeling predicts a semi-breakout season for Craig. He’s done nothing but rake in Memphis and I’m hopeful with regular MLB at bats he can have similar production. As far as Jay goes I’m thinking Skip Schumaker type offensive numbers. To me Jay projects as a long term 4th outfielder while Craig could be the Cardinals right fielder of the future.
David Freese seems the best equipped to go big this season, though his hopes are limited by the same thing that prevented a breakout rookie season in 2010: health. And that reality leads to Allen Craig potentially performing better this year, if for no other reason than he might get more playing time (filling in for Freese) and can’t do much worse than his .282 BABIP last season. Bill James even projects him for a .350 wOBA, which is more in line with his minor-league numbers. Realistically, Garcia is going to look like he’s slumping, though he’ll probably simply be performing more toward what his numbers should’ve been last year: an expected FIP an entire point above his ERA.
Bob Netherton (On The Outside Corner)
For a breakout season, you have to go with David Freese because either way it goes, you’ll be right :-) He’ll either hit .280, 12 homers and drive in 75 runs or some part of a stadium will fall on him in a game and break some body part. David Freese is more than just a baseball player, he’s a walking anatomy lesson.
The sophomore slump will have to go to Jon Jay, although that’s not altogether fair. The lack of consistent playing time will hurt him somewhat. Add to that some expectations from last year that are unrealistically high, he will have the perception of slumping.
I do believe that Jaime Garcia will defy all of the projections and have a terrific year. Every once in a while a player comes along that just doesn’t fit the model, and I believe Garcia is that player.
Erika (Cardinal Diamond Diaries)
Ever the Cardinal optimist, I foresee our sophomores surging ahead this year. Jaime Garcia had a phenomenal first year. With his maturity and professional demeanor, I expect him to continue to grow with experience and step up again this season to make up for the absence of Adam Wainwright.
I am hopeful that both Jon Jay and Allen Craig will get enough playing time to further hone their big league skills. Jay did burst onto the scene last season with what could only be described as offensive magic last year, but slid a little back into the realms of reality as opposing pitchers became familiar. Allen Craig, on the other hand struggled offensively from inconsistent playing time. I think both their numbers normalize to some solid contributions in 2011.
And then there’s David Freese. Pardon me a moment while I stop and smile? OK… all better now. ;) Dave has worked his tail off over the winter rehabbing not one, but two ankles. Tagged with the “injury prone” label is never a good thing. This is the season that Freese makes us all forget about the past. If When he stays healthy, David Freese is going to have an amazing year. Back in 2010 we saw his power and range. I’m looking forward to a solid year for Dave! *fingers crossed*
Thanks to the UCB group above for joining the conversation!
The Cardinals play their first Spring Training game today! Doesn’t that just make your Monday better? Have a great week everyone! =)