The team's official report date for pitchers and catchers is February 12. Position players are to report February 17. It's encouraging that all three players showed up early, as they are all facing crucial seasons.
Adams is looking to capitalize after a breakout season. He's set to be the team's primary first baseman this season, and will get a full workload for the first time in his career. Adams hit .284/.335/.503 in 296 at-bats last season.
Taveras enters the year looking to break camp with the major-league club. While he's the team's best prospect, the Peter Bourjos trade may have pushed him out of a starting role. But if Taveras can play well enough during the spring, he could easily find himself in some type of role once the season begins.
Rosenthal will look to improve after a strong rookie season. He wound up closing games at the end of last year, but was used as a starter early last spring. It's unclear if the team will try to utilize Rosenthal as a starter again, or if he's strictly a bullpen guy now. He put up a strong 2.63 ERA in 75 1/3 innings.
"I’m sticking with it," he said of the program he followed this winter. "It benefited me last year, and I want to gain ground on it this year and keep it going. It’s a combination of doing some good workouts with my guys in contact with Pete (Prinzi) and going from there."
Craig, who is working back from a foot injury, served as the designated hitter in Game 1 and 2. He could be available as a pinch hitter and may see some action in the outfield or first base in Game 4 and 5 for the
Adams had yet to drive in a run in the series before Wednesday's eighth-inning homer, yet he played an important part in his team's advancement to the National League Championship Series by hitting .316/.381/.526 and scoring three times in 19 at-bats.
Adams enters the NLCS against the Dodgers with zero at-bats against Game 1 starter Zack Greinke and Game 2 starter Clayton Kershaw in his career.
If there's one player whose September performance has dramatically improved his stock for 2014, it's
I already liked him as a sleeper with Carlos Beltran entering free agency but thought I was reaching when I ranked him 20th at the position for 2014 just a couple weeks ago. He had done OK in a part-time role but hadn't exactly made headlines since homering three times way back in Fantasy Week 2 (April 8-14).
But since taking over at first base for an injured Allen Craig Sept. 4, that's all he's done, batting .338 (26 for 77) with eight homers and a 1.038 OPS. Maybe he just needed the repetition of an everyday role to lock in the swing that made him a .318 hitter with a .927 OPS over his minor-league career.
If there's an organization I trust with the development of young hitters, it's the Cardinals. They've struck gold the last two years with Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter, and you could argue Adams has a better pedigree than both. He's 25 and proving he's ready right at the time they have an opening for him. It's like they planned it all along.
I'm beginning to wonder if 20th is high enough.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/31/2013 vs Boston|
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|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Batting Stats|
|Postseason Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2010||AFX-Quad Cities River Ba||121||464||71||144||41||0||22||88||33||78||5||1||.355||.541||.310|