Know your enemy: MLB scout breaks down the Cards

Know your enemy: MLB scout breaks down the Cards
October 22, 2013, 11:00 pm
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The only meetings between the Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals this season came back in March, in Grapefruit League play, so it's been a while since the Sox played the Cards with anything at stake.
      
With that in mind, we spoke with a long-time scout, whose coverage this season included the Cardinals, to provide us with a detailed scouting report on the National League champions.
    
MATT CARPENTER, 2B
Tremendous year...really improved with bat...quality leadoff guy...offensive player...self-made...likes to cherry-pick first pitches...will go opposite gap on pitches on outer half...likes ball out and away from him...can turn on plus fastballs in, which he couldn't do earlier in the year...if you can command a back door breaking ball or changeup down-and-away, has difficulty with both ...inside-out swing vs. lefties...handles ball down against lefty hitters...a third baseman playing second base...glove issues...arm good enough...has had transfer issues on double plays.

CARLOS BELTRAN, RF
Money player...big-game player...lives for spotlight...comfortable in St. Louis and it shows...quality hitter...terrific bat speed still...from left side, likes pitches down-and-in...better against pitches up in zone from right side...pitchers really have to command down-and-away sinkers because he tends to pull...good power from both sides, especially against anything elevated...very accurate arm...tough guy to challenge when in good throwing position...veteran outfielder, but somewhat limited range due to bad knees.

ALLEN CRAIG, DH
Real good money player...great with RISP...waits for pitch and goes and gets it...runs well when healthy...huge inner-half power on fastballs...mostly looks out over plate a lot, especially later in the count...throw him breaking balls early in count, then mix four-seamers in and sinkers out...better slider hitter than curveball hitter...good velocity can eat him up...premier RBI guy...looks for pitches up vs LHP...has big hook swing vs. LHP that could do damage at Fenway...have to mix it up with him...good at taking late-count fastballs to RF.

MATT HOLLIDAY, LF
Cards' best power threat...extremely strong....big-time strength guy...high-ball hitter...uses right-center well...has power to all fields...good breaking ball hitter...drops the head on down--and-in fastballs or looks for something out over plate to drive...go in on him, and up and down body line if he's pulling ball, you can sweep breaking balls away...when pulling, much easier to pitch....Adequate at best in outfield...arm is usable, though not very accurate.

YADIER MOLINA, C
Best catcher in baseball...second manager on the field... runs game well...no peers defensively....great arm, very accurate...understands pitching staff....swings at a lot of bad pitches, hacks away...no need to throw a good early-count strike...big time inner-half fastball hitter...will try to hit those off or over wall...expands zone up-and-away...sliders down and away are tough for him to resist...very aggressive early fastball hitter.

MATT ADAMS, 1B
Big, strong kid with big power...would be DH in A.L...raw power..needs to extend arms...launches anything down middle....has learned to cover middle in-and-down better...plus fastballs can burn up and in, but will wear out average fastballs...very good belt-thigh hitter...threat at Fenway to take pitches and hit them off the wall.

DAVID FREESE, 3B
Very aggressive high-ball hitter...really wants his hands and arms to do work...cheats to get to fastballs...good pull power with ball up in hot zones...pitchers have to go down and away, soft, on him.. late in count, tends to go opposite field...the later in count, the more he tries to drive ball to gaps...swing is stiff high-ball hitter...has been a good post-season player...gets by on arm at third...good body control...average range...hard to bunt against because he has good hands charging ball.

JOHN JAY, CF
Not a good outfielder...aggressive, first-ball, fastball hitter...gets good look at inner third...tracks back-door breaking balls well...one of few guys inlineup who goes for early-count pitches...tries to inside-out middle fastball...make him uncomfortable with down-and-in breaking balls...takes questionable routes in outfield average arm at best.

PETE KOZMA, SS
Played better in last month than whole season...defense only...good defender....plus range overall...contact hitter, sits and waits for fastballs...gets very defensive with two stirkes...struggles with breaking stuff down in the zone basically a defensive sub..arm not great...is better getting to balls behind the second base bag than in hole because of shorter throws.

DANIEL DESCALSO, INF
Generic infielder...plays all over, but not very good anywhere..hands hitter...looks for something early in count, but will go other
way a lot.


OF SHANE ROBINSON, OF
Opposite-field hitter with slider bat speed..dangerous Fenway hitter because of warning track power...can hit mistakes on inner half out...good bunter who can run some.

ADAM WAINWRIGHT, RHP
Doesn't have velocity used to have...good cutter and curve...intelligent pitcher...fastball is 88-91 mph, can cut it and sink it...best pitch is 12-6 curve, which throws to both sides with very good command...throws two slider speeds: one is 83-86 mph; other is more like cutter at 87-89 mph...will go with whichever is working that day...workhorse...manages to adjust abilities...big workload during season can shorten outings in post-season.

JOE KELLY, RHP
Strictly a fastball guy...will run the fastball from 93-96 mph...will ride his sinker in, but doesn't command it to right-handers as much as he should.

MICHAEL WACHA, RHP
Good velocity, with fastball at 90-94 mph, will touch 96 mph...has very good changeup...will throw it early, and isn't afraid to double it...throws fastball in, will move breaking balls away...can throw change to both sides...has really come on in the last month...against left-handed hitters, tends to be strictly fastball/change...will throw breaking balls more to right-handers.

LANCE LYNN, RHP
Mostly a fastball guy....has big-time velocity from 92-96 mph...has hard slider, which he throws 86-89 mph and acts almost like a cutter...will throw it away to righthanders...changeup comes and goes and is barely a secondary pitch.

SHELBY MILLER, RHP
Has plus velocity...throws four-seam fastball up in zone, two-seamer down...also has curve and changeup...if he has a good change, becomes strictly a fastball/change pitcher...doesn't challenge in as much as should, but capable of pound lefties in.
      
TREVOR ROSNETHAL, RHP, CLOSER
Starter in waiting...can be power starter...fastball is 95-98 mph...will throw slider away to righties, but basically challenges with fastball.

CARLOS MARTINEZ, RHP, SETUP
Hardest thrower on staff with fastball from 97-100 mph...good late action..can run in on righties' hands...has slow curve at 80-82 mph to occasionally mix in.

KEVIN SIEGRIST, LHP
93-97 mph fastball with decent movement...great downward angle in strike zone.

JOHN AXFORD, RHP
Fastball is 95-97 mph...has closer experience, but better in setup role.