The Cardinals MLB roster has looked very unappealing at times this year. Struggling is an understatement, as the Cardinals are 24th in MLB in runs scored so far in 2017. However, the Memphis Redbirds’ offense has been rolling for most of the year. There have been several guys with a combo of power and average that the major league roster so desperately needs (and that fans are demanding). While none of these guys project to be a superstar talent, many of them can end up as starters for a MLB team some day. Some could potentially even attend a few All Star games in their future. Paul DeJong, Luke Voit, Carson Kelly, and Harrison Bader are all hitters who have shown this season that they can handle AAA pitching with ease.
Recent injuries to the Cardinals have forced them to call up Paul DeJong. He seemed like the most obvious choice, as he was giving AAA pitching nightmares. In only 46 games, DeJong led the team with 11 home runs, 31 runs batted in, and 23 runs scored while keeping a good batting average of .294. To put the home run total into perspective, 11 is tied for 7th in the PCL. DeJong is an all bat, no glove type of guy that has limited speed who has been rated the Cardinals best power bat in their system. His defense limits his upside long term and that might force him into the outfield eventually.
Luke Voit is a first baseman who has also been giving AAA pitchers a fit. He has a triple slash line of .324/.407/.564 in 50 games so far in 2017. The “3/4/5” guys are always very coveted by major league teams and fantasy baseball owners alike. Voit (26) is a little old for a prospect, but that is nothing new for the Cardinals organization. Last year Voit held his own in AA at Springfield (.297/.372/.477), so he received a promotion this year. Lets hope when his next promotion comes sometime in 2017 or early 2018, he takes a step forward once again.
Carson Kelly, the heir apparent to Molina at catcher, is another AAA hitter that is enjoying the Pacific Coast League pitching. Kelly’s triple slash is .326/.405/.548 in 37 games played. The Cardinals signed Molina to an extension earlier this season, so the Cardinals might have pushed Kelly’s time table back or even made him available via trade (if the MLB roster can get to the point where they need to upgrade this season….doubtful). Kelly took a step forward in 2016 offensively and has always been great defensively. If his bat continues to improve, he could become a very special player when he gets to the majors. I’d say his glove is (and has been) MLB ready, so he could get a cup of coffee later in the season if all continues to go well.
Harrison Bader is an outfielder who has risen quickly through the Cardinals farm system and even ended last season at AAA Memphis. While he did struggle there during his brief 49 game stint, he has looked equally promising this season. In 50 games so far this season, Bader has crushed 8 homers and scored 30 runs to accompany his .279/.345/.458 triple slash. While those numbers might not jump off the page for the PCL, Bader is only 22 years old and has show double digit homer and stolen base potential (19 HR/13 SB in ’16). Keep an eye on him to get a call up at some point in the 2017 season.
Article featured image of Harrison Bader (@aybaybader) – courtesy of MLBPipeline.com.