Kids in the Outfield. How are they doing?

From Top left Lane Thomas photo by Jeff Curry - Gettyimages, Tyler O'Neil Photo by Baseball America, Harrison Bader photo by Patrick Smith - Gettyimages, Dylan Carlson photo by Chris Kohley - St Louis Post-Dispatch, Austin Dean photo by Jeff Roberson- AP. Justin Williams photo by Bill Greenblat UPI

One of the significant concerns of fans during the off-season was the Cardinals outfield. In particular, the offense output was the sticky point. At the end of 2020, arguably the best offensive effort in the outfield was Dexter Fowler .233/.317/.389 with 4 HR and 15 RBI (although Tyler O'Neill had more Hrs (7). O'Neill and Carlson had more RBIs (19 and 16, respectively). Fowler is gone, sent to Anaheim. Both Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson did end the year on upswings in a closer look, but it was barely noticeable. Hope was fleeting that the youngsters were any good.

Some fans still had hoped for a few of the kids. Most realized that last year was not a good one to base a lasting opinion on. However, many fans I saw wanted the Front Office to improve the outfield situation. While George Springer was seemingly out of the price range that the Cardinals were willing to go. People were suggesting Joc Pederson, Jackie Bradley Jr, or David Dahl. Some were even saying, Bring back Marcel Ozuna or take a chance on Yasiel Puig. Several fans even considered Kyle Schwarber. In the end, it seems the Cardinals are rolling the dice and banking on the youngsters. Many are not sure what that is based on.

So far, in 5 Spring Training games, the birds are 1-2-2. They are scoring a total of 24 runs, including being shut out twice. Early stats from the outfield competition are not instilling much faith. Collectively the main six are hitting just .265/.362/.320 O HRs 2 Doubles, 5RBIs, 5BBs, 20Ks.

The proposed starters O'Neill, Bader, and Carlson are 4-17, 1 double, and 1 RBI. So here is a quick look at what we have so far with the top six candidates based on current performance.

Photo by Jeff Curry gettyImages

Lane Thomas, in 10 Spring ABs he is hitting .500/.583/.600 with one double and 3 RBIs. He is tied for the team lead in RBIs with John Nogowski and Jose Rondon. He has the most hits on the team (5). He is currently listed as 3rd on the Depth Chart for ALL 3 outfield positions. Thomas has had very few big league ABs, but in 2019 he made the most of it, going .316/.409/.684, 4Hrs, 12RBIs in only 44 plate appearances. His hot start so far could bode well. I think he moves up the depth chart, and some guys should get nervous.

Photo By Michael Reaves Gettyimages

Tyler O'Neill has played sparingly, only three games and 7 ABs. He is sporting a .286 Ba with a .375 OBP. But so far, it has only been singles. Still playing good defense, so I do think Left Field is his to lose. However, unless he gets the thunder in his bat to start up, he may be looking over his shoulder after getting his K-rate down each of the last three years. Early results show it climbing, but hey, it is only 7 ABs so let's give it a little more time.