For those worried about the St. Louis Cardinals 0-2 start to spring training in 2014, you can officially calm down. The Birds thrashed the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon in Jupiter, Florida and there were some great performances by many of the team's regulars, most notably, Matt Holliday, who belted a pair of RBI-doubles before exiting the game early.
There was a lot to take away from in this spring training win over the Mets. Here are some of my random thoughts.
Wacha looks beefed up.
The star rookie looks like he hit the weights a little bit this offseason and packed on some muscle, which is certainly a good thing. It can only help him fight through the pain and agony of a 162-game MLB season.
Wacha struggled with command and he obviously spent most of his 39 pitches working on stuff, particularly his curve ball, which still looked sub-par.
But that is okay. The kid also showed his moxie, pitching out of a jam in the first inning. I do not know what "IT" is, but Wacha has "IT," even in an exhibition practice game.
Wow, Tim Cooney looks good.
What a performance, albeit against the scrubs of a bad team like the Mets, but Cooney looked unbelievable.
His control was on display, he had some pop on his fastball and showed off a power curve ball that looked MLB-ready in my eyes.
It is filthy how rich in young pitching talent this franchise truly is, considering Cooney falls quite a ways down the list of top prospects. But he is legit.
Pete Kozma had himself a nice game at the plate.
He is evil enemy No. 1 among Cardinals fans, but you have to wonder how Kozma would perform in a part-time role where his body would not wear down and he would be able to stay fresh and have little pressure?
Kozma is an above-average player in two important categories. He can certainly glove it. He had the second highest defensive WAR in the NL last season, trailing only the defensive gifted and talented Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves.
Kozma also has good speed. He stole a base today. He stole a base in the playoffs last year as a pinch-runner. He can steal bases when he actually gets on base.
Kozma could be very good as the No. 24 guy on the roster that serves the role of defensive replacement and pinch runner.
Randal Grichuk is going to make the outfield conversation very interesting for years to come.
This kid has pop and is making solid contact. He showed good patience at the plate by drawing a walk and the ball he drove to the center field wall was impressive and if Shane Robinson wasn't a Spring Training All-Star, Grichuk would be the leader in the club-house to claim a bench spot in St. Louis.
Kolten Wong is still trying too hard.
He is pressing. He looks lost. I am not giving up on this kid. He will figure it out.
Being a Mets fan must be miserable.
Think about it. Sure, David Wright is a superstar, but this team is without their stud young ace in Matt Harvey, their best free agent acquisition is a declining, injury prone outfielder and the team's best hitter, David Murphy, really does not have a position.
Part of the New York dismay certainly stems from the Cardinals though. The Mets never have been the same since Adam Wainwright threw that nasty yacker to strike out Carlos Beltran in 2006 that Cardinals fans will remember for eternity. So will Mets fans, just not for the same reasons.
Mets fans, you are welcome.
Thankfully Kevin Siegrist was throwing the ball hard today.
Of course the telecast did not have a radar gun accessible (who wants to focus on that during spring training? Answer: everyone), but he looked healthy and locked in.
It will likely be impossible for him to repeat his 2013 success, as I wrote about last week, but the Cardinals still need Siegrist to be very good in 2014.
There you have it. Man, spring training feels good, and in the meantime, lets go Blues!
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