Tuesday, March 4, 2014

UCB Roundtable: Which rookie will have the biggest impact in 2014?

As part of the United Cardinals Bloggers Annual Spring Roundtable, today I got to ask the question for discussion.  What I originally thought would be a straight-forward question turned into a bit more.

Here is the question I posed and the resulting discussion.


Despite several prospects graduating to the big leagues last season, including Shelby Miller, Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha and Seth Maness, the Cardinals still have one of the best minor league systems. 

Excluding Kolten Wong, who is projected to start at second, which rookie do you think will have the biggest impact on the Cardinals in 2014?  
Mark Tomasik, Retro Simba

Oscar Taveras. He’s likely to emerge as a run producer who gets significant playing time at all three outfield spots.
Matt Whitener, I70 Baseball

Whereas last year's team needed a lot of rookie contribution to make everything work, that's not the case this time around. The sophomores have established roles and the vets are all back for the most part, so it is considerably tougher to pick a rookie that makes a huge splash this year. Not due to a lack of talent, but simply because of available time to make a splash in.

With that preface, I think this year's top rook is finally Tavares, who wont get the early impact chance that everybody wants, but once he hits the field, has the type of talent to force his way into the mix and change what is established already. I see a year for Oscar that mirrors the type of year that Wil Myers had last year: mid-season promotion and increasing impact as the season gets older. He's the type of talent that is an internal trade deadline-like boost, and most importantly, provides a more stable option out of the #2 spot in the lineup, because that's a void that has not been able to be seamlessly filled like others have since Beltran moved on.

Daniel Solzman, Redbird Rants

Oscar Taveras is my answer.  I would expect that Randal Grichuck or Stephen Piscotty will see some playing time come September.

Bill Ivie, I70 Baseball

Taveras is the obvious answer, and I can't argue it. I think the team has a bright future, but most of the players are not quite ready yet.

Christine Coleman, Aaron Miles' Fastball

I agree with Bill, that Oscar Taveras is the obvious and inarguable answer. With the depth and talent (and youth) on even the 40-man roster, hard to see anyone else really having the chance to make a big impact.

Dan Boffa, Dose of Boffa

While we can all say Oscar, I am going with Tim Cooney. I've seen him pitch twice this spring and he's got command, a fine array of pitches and a poise out there that can't be taught. 

Sure we haven't reached the regular season grind yet but this talented lefty could definitely help the club, especially given Garcia's health concerns and John Gast's shoulder surgery comeback. Cooney may not provide a Wacha moment in 2014 but he could have a big impact down the stretch of a long season.
Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat 

While, as everyone said, you have to figure Oscar Taveras will be the answer to this question, I'm wondering if it might not be a bullpen arm that comes in and pulls a Kevin Siegrist or Seth Maness when someone (inevitably) stumbles.  Could that be Cooney, like Dan said, shifting from the rotation in Memphis to the big league pen?  Lee Stoppelman is my dark horse in that regard.

Mary Claussen, MLBVoice

Oscar Tavares.  He's got oodles of potential.  I'm excited to be able to see him this season (barring no more ankle stuff).

As you can see, the consensus is that Oscar Taveras will be the Cardinals top rookie in 2014.  However, I was surprised that no one mentioned Carlos Martinez in the discussion, which led to a discussion on Martinez' rookie eligibility, as follows.

Me:  What about Carlos Martinez?  He's still a rookie.

Daniel Shoptaw

For some reason, I think Martinez is technically not a rookie.  He didn't reach the 50 innings pitched requirement, but I think he might have had 45 days or more on the active 25-man roster before September. I could be wrong on that, obviously, but I'm thinking I remember that coming up last year.

Bill Ivie

There's a huge debate on Martinez' rookie status.  I've counted his service days and thought he was clear by a day, others have said that he is one day past rookie status.

For what it's worth, MLB does not show him in their rookie run downs.

Daniel Shoptaw

Cot's Contracts shows Martinez with 73 service days, but that should be counting September as well. Which would seem to back up Bill's contention that he was just short.  Like he says, though, Martinez never seems to be included in any rookie rundowns.  Someone Tweet at Goold and have him clear this up!  :)


I stand corrected.  According to Jennifer Langosch, Martinez is not a rookie.  This is from her January 13, 2014 article (in the comments section):
Martinez just narrowly misses rookie status. A player loses his rookie eligibility if A) he exceeds 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched or B) is on a team’s roster for 45 days or more (not counting September, when rosters expand). Martinez only pitched 28 1/3 innings in the regular season, but he did (just narrowly) surpass that 45-day mark for service time. As a result, MLB.com will not consider him for its prospect list.

Bill Ivie

From Goold on Twitter:  Baseball has him hitting just the mark.  Not a rookie.

So, from a discussion on rookies, we found out (or at least I did) that Carlos Martinez is no longer considered one.  However, I think Martinez will have a bigger impact on this year's team than Taveras, rookie status or not, and Daniel Shoptaw agrees:
Per Dan: "To the rephrased question (whether Taveras or Martinez would have a bigger impact), I'm going to lean toward Martinez, just because I'm not sure when Taveras will make the major leagues and I'm guessing they'll break him in gently with a rotation of him, Craig and Adams.  I don't necessarily think Martinez will start the year in the rotation, but what he does give to the team might be more than OT does."

Be sure to check out more discussions, like these, at the United Cardinals Bloggers site, as well as the individual site links provided above.

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