With only six days before the start of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals took further steps to finalize their Opening Day roster as Harrison Bader, Josh Lucas, and Luke Voit were optioned to Memphis (AAA) this morning.
Over his last 16 games, Bader had hit .364 (12-33) and made some highlight reel catches in the outfield. Similarly, Voit had hit .375 (6-16) over his last eight games.
While both players could compete at the plate, they were limited by the amount of positons they can play in the field.
Bader is a plus defender at all three outfield spots, but cannot play the infield.
Voit can play first, has worked on left field, and is an emergency catcher. But that doesn’t match the defensive flexibility of Yairo Munoz, who will now open the season on the Cardinals bench.
Heading into the weekend, Munoz had played six different positions for St. Louis:
Shortstop (54.0 innings)
Right Field (17.0)
Third base (14.0)
Left Field (7.0)
Second Base (4.0)
Center Field (2.0)
Besides the ability to play multiple positions–which will serve as a compliment on the bench to Greg Garcia and Jose Martinez, the 23-year old Munoz has also hit .375 (18-48) this spring.
The competition has been just as fierce for the remaining bullpen spots as Lucas was unscored upon this spring and had struck out 12 batters in his 11.1 innings pitched.
But with options remaining on his contract, Lucas will begin the season with the impressive roster in Memphis which will also include Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Austin Gomber, John Gant, Carson Kelly, Tyler O’Neill, and likely Patrick Wisdom.
The Cardinals still have 26 roster players and 10 non-roster invitees in camp.
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com