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  • Jim Edmonds, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

    Fantasy slant...They got rayray leading off a this point

    St. Louis Cardinals OF Jim Edmonds was starting to have the year of his life in 2003, but injuries caught up to him and hampered his second half production. He received a scare in late May as he injured himself while making a diving catch. It was believed he had torn some cartilage in his ribcage, but he only missed a couple of games. He crashed into the wall in mid-June and suffered a hip injury, which kept him out for a few games. He also missed a couple of games due to a stomach ailment.

    He came back and rode a scorching hot June in which he hit .344 with 14 homers and 29 RBIs into the All-Star break. At the break, he was hitting .303 with 28 homers and 67 RBIs. He took part in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star festivities and suffered a strained right shoulder in the event. Edmonds slumped in the second half to a tune of a .214 batting average with 11 homers and 22 RBIs. The encouraging part of this second half slump was the fact that he was able to slug out 11 homers. The concerning part was that he lost so much bat speed that he struck out 54 times in 140 at-bats as opposed to striking out 73 times in his first 307 at-bats.

    He had his right shoulder operated on during the offseason. The surgery, known as a clavicular resection, is essentially when part of the bone is shaved to alleviate pressure on the nerves in the shoulder. Los Angeles Dodgers OF Shawn Green had a similar operation performed during the offseason as well.

    The injury was probably one of the major things that kept Edmonds in a Cardinals uniform. He was nearly traded to the Dodgers during the offseason for pitching - which would have likely been SP Odalis Perez and RP Guillermo Mota. The Dodgers didn't want to give up these two guys with the uncertainty around Edmonds' shoulder and his large salary. His salary is around $11 million per year, but he defers $2 million of his salary each year and agreed to defer even more so the Cardinals could go after pitching help. His stats since putting on a Cardinal uniform in 2000 are listed below.

    Table: Jim Edmonds, OF, St. Louis Cardinals - Stats Since 2000
    Year Avg. R HR RBIs
    2000 .295 129 42 108
    2001 .304 95 30 110
    2002 .311 96 28 83
    2003 .275 89 39 89


    Edmonds has always played the game hard and with reckless abandonment, so the minor injuries are expected during the course of a season. His games played total has fallen each year since his monster 2000 season. In that year, he played in 152 games. He played in 150 in 2001, 144 in 2002 and 137 in 2003. Edmonds will be 34 in June, and he will probably need to be more conventional on defense. He has won four consecutive Gold Glove awards, six overall, and he has possibly the most accurate arm in the league; but all of these injuries are adding up, and his team lost some key guys during the offseason. So the Cardinals need Edmonds healthy. The table below shows the changes to the starting lineup compared to the one in 2003.

    Table: St. Louis Cardinals' Losses/Additions to Starting Lineup
            Losses Avg. R HR RBIs
    OF J.D. Drew .289 60 15 42
    1B Tino Martinez .273 66 15 69
    2B Fernando Vina .251 35 4 23
    Total Production .272 161 34 134
             
    Additions Avg. R HR RBIs
    OF Reggie Sanders .285 74 31 87
    OF Ray Lankford .224 20 6 26
    2B Bo Hart .277 46 4 28
    Total Production .266 140 41 141
    *Note: All numbers, excluding Lankford whose numbers are from 2002, are from 2003.

    The Cardinals seem to have lost a lot of production based on name value, but they really didn't lose much of anything in the starting lineup except potential in Drew. The Cardinals did take a hit on their bench when they lost OFs Eduardo Perez and Orlando Palmeiro and 2B Miguel Cairo to free agency. So this bodes well for Edmonds since a lot was made of the Cardinals' losses in their every day lineup during the offseason.

    The player who will directly affect Edmonds the most is Lankford. Lankford enjoyed a decorated 10-year career with the Cardinals before being traded for SP Woody Williams in 2001. Lankford entered camp without much of a chance to win a spot, but according to Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, he has done so. He will likely start the season as the starting left fielder and will hit leadoff - ahead of Edmonds. He has been on fire since entering camp as he had a .333 batting average (16-for-42) with 1 homer, 5 RBIs, 10 runs scored and 4 SBs as of Friday, March 26. At 36, Lankford is not the player he used to be, and his knees became questionable the past few years, but the all-time leader in home runs at Busch Stadium appears to have something left in the tank. Once a frequent strikeout victim, he has shortened his swing and impressed hitting coach Mitchell Page with his approach.

    If Lankford can get on base frequently, as he's done this spring, Edmonds will clearly benefit from the RBI-opportunities. Behind Edmonds is a hitter's fantasy as he is followed by 1B Albert Pujols, 3B Scott Rolen, OF Reggie Sanders and SS Edgar Renteria. Three of the aforementioned drove in 100 or more runs last season. Sanders, who only drove in 87 last year, could have driven in many more had the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded a respectable lineup for the entire season. The probable starting lineup is detailed below.

    The Cardinals struggled with the leadoff slot in the order for much of the season in 2003. When Vina went down with a torn hamstring and missed a bulk of the season, Cairo was next in line. He soon after suffered a broken hand and 2B Bo Hart emerged in spectacular fashion. He was hitting over .500 after his first week in the majors but eventually cooled off considerably. Below is a table comparing how each Cardinal did in the leadoff spot last season.

    Table: Cardinals' Stats as Leadoff Hitter
              Player ABs Avg. R HR RBIs
    Fernando Vina 257 .249 34 4 23
    Miguel Cairo 117 .239 19 0 7
    Bo Hart 256 .285 44 4 23
    Kerry Robinson 32 .281 2 1 2
    Total 662 .263 99 9 55


    Another twist to the equation is the recent acquisition of IF Tony Womack. He's coming off Tommy John surgery and hasn't been cleared to play the field yet in Spring Training. He will probably start the season on the disabled list but could be ready by May. Womack may not be the .271 hitter that stole 29 bases in 2002, but he isn't the .226 hitter who stole 13 bases last season either. Expect him to get a large chunk of the playing time once he gets back to 100 percent.

    Another option, though this one will be coming off the bench to begin the season, is SS Hector Luna. He hit .297 with 2 homers, 38 RBIs, 87 runs scored and 17 steals. Luna, 22, is a Rule 5 draftee who will have to be on the 25-man roster for the entire 2004 season or be offered back to the Cleveland Indians for $25,000. As of Monday, March 29, Luna leads the team in RBIs with 12 this spring despite only hitting .259. Luna made 67 errors the past two seasons, so his defense can still use some work, but he could help out the club in a big way this season.

    The Cardinals traded OF Kerry Robinson Monday, March 29, to the Padres for OF Brian Hunter. Hunter, a known speedster that stole 74 bases a few years ago, is another option to plug into the leadoff spot. He only hit .235 last season and just turned 33. If the Cardinals suffer a large number of injuries again, expect Hunter to be one of the candidates to fill in. Until then, it's unlikely he will make the Opening Day roster.

    The second base job has been an unstable topic this spring. First, Hart was the man because 2B Marlon Anderson was struggling. Anderson turned his game up and is now hitting .288 as of Monday, March 29, with four steals. Still, La Russa was unsatisfied and waivers were asked on Anderson which led “Cardinal Nation” to believe Anderson was about to be traded or waived. Now a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been published saying that Hart will likely be optioned to Triple-A Memphis to begin the season after he has struggled so mightily this spring. So the Opening Day lineup looks like this:

    Table: Cardinals Probable 2004 Batting Order
                  Player Avg. R HR RBIs
    1. Ray Lankford .224 20 6 26
    2. Jim Edmonds .275 89 39 89
    3. Albert Pujols .359 137 43 124
    4. Scott Rolen .286 98 28 104
    5. Reggie Sanders .285 74 31 87
    6. Edgar Renteria .330 96 13 100
    7. Mike Matheny .252 43 8 47
    8. Marlon Anderson .270 59 6 67
    *Note: Lankford's numbers are again from 2002.

    Edmonds made his Spring Training debut on March 17 and busted out by going 2-for-2 with two doubles and a run scored. As of Friday, March 26, he's hitting .294 (5-for-17) with one homer and two RBIs in Spring Training, so he is showing no ill effects of the offseason surgery.

    Edmonds has always been a streaky hitter, but you know what you can expect from him every season. He's not your prototypical No. 1 fantasy outfielder, but he will fall in the mid-No. 2 range. You can expect an average around .300 with 30 homers, 90 RBIs and 90 runs scored, but if he has another month close to the likes of the one he had in June 2003, he could surpass these expectations. Then again, the beating his body takes during the course of a season and his advancing age could lead to a decline. However, the odds are in favor of Edmonds having another good year simply because of the lineup around him.

    After the Cardinals inked Pujols to a seven-year, $100 million contract late in the offseason, they solidified the heart of their order for years to come. Both Edmonds and Rolen are locked up for several years. Sanders was given a two-year deal before the season, so the only player remaining is Renteria. He will be a free agent after the 2004 season, and the Cardinals will probably try to address his situation first. SPs Matt Morris and Woody Williams and CL Jason Isringhausen will also be free agents after the 2004 season. Morris has already declined a three-year offer from the Cardinals, and since he acts as his own agent, he is known to be a shrewd negotiator. The Cardinals will clearly have some tough decisions to make after the 2004 season, and Edmonds might wind up on the trade market.
    edit: fixed tables..or tried.
    Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

  • #2
    Jim Edmonds? What is up with the gay fetish on this board today?
    Dude. Can. Fly.

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    • #3
      The Cardinals seem to have lost a lot of production based on name value, but they really didn't lose much of anything in the starting lineup except potential in Drew.
      The money quote from the article, IMHO. The lineup is as good as last year, the bullpen is better, and the starting rotation is as least as good. I don't see any reason not to believe the Cardinals have improved. The question is, have they improved enough.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kah2523@Mar 30 2004, 05:45 PM
        The Cardinals seem to have lost a lot of production based on name value, but they really didn't lose much of anything in the starting lineup except potential in Drew.
        The money quote from the article, IMHO. The lineup is as good as last year, the bullpen is better, and the starting rotation is as least as good. I don't see any reason not to believe the Cardinals have improved. The question is, have they improved enough.
        I think they are definitely a better team than last year. But like you said, it still might only be good enough for 3 place. Certainly not high expectations. Maybe it is a favor to the fans. That way they can't let us down.
        Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

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