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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another good weekend for the young birds

Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012, at 2:32 PM

The Cardinals young guys had another good weekend, despite the team going 1 and 2 against the Astros.

While a couple of the better-known players like Freese and Beltran struggled over the weekend, several players shined.

Here's a quick rundown.

Allen Craig - Fresh back from an entire month on the disabled list and off-season knee surgery, Craig has already shown that he means business and wants some playing time. In four appearances, the returning Craig has gone 6 for 17 with a homerun, 7 RBIs and three doubles. Seven RBIs in 17 plate appearances is extremely impressive. That means as soon as he returned he started producing runs. I know it's still a small sample size, but it's definitely a good start. The real question is, with the return of Lance Berkman, how much playing time will he get? While Berkman will need some rest, it won't be often. The likely scenario is that he will be used to rest Berkman and Beltran and as a power hitter off the bench. Wherever they use him, he's definitely a good addition to this roster.

Tyler Greene - The young second base talent we've been waiting for to produce since last year, showed Sunday why the team has held on to him for so long. With two homeruns, a double, four RBIs, three runs scored and a stolen base, he had a day better than many great second basemen have in a lifetime. If Greene can hang in there and hit for average with a threat of power, he could land himself that second base job he and Daniel Descalso have been scrapping over. So far, he hasn't proven he can hit at the major league level, but that's what he aims to prove in the near future and if Sunday was any indication, he just might do it. Regardless, this is his last shot to show what he can do. With that being said, I don't feel he's had enough consistent playing time yet for us to make a fair judgment. Greene needs some time in the lineup every day before he will ever find his groove and have a hope of competing at this level. It's very possible that Sunday, he earned that extra bit of play time he needed.

Jon Jay - Ok, I'm going to do it again. Every time I say anything positive about Jon Jay, I get emails telling me I've lost my mind. I've touted him since Memphis and I still think he has a lot of potential. Currently, Jay LEADS THE MAJOR LEAGUES in batting average (.392). Surprised? I was. I know he has had a good offensive year, but I didn't know it was that good. On the defensive side of things, he's been showing great strides. I don't know what Jim Edmonds told the boy in Florida, but he clearly listened. He takes charge in the outfield and is running out good hits. He made five very impressive catches this weekend including a nice slide into the left field track before throwing to the cut-off man while sitting flat on the ground. To be frank, it's been a while since we got to watch impressive catches in centerfield on a regular basis. I still say, Jay has more potential than many recognize or appreciate. If he continues to grow, and that's never a guarantee, he'll remain a nice fit for the team. There's a lot of room in the bandwagon if anyone wants to jump on.

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The question for this week is: Who was the first Cardinal to hit 50 homeruns in a season?

One randomly selected winner of all correct entries will receive a copy of the A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions "2011 World Series Highlights" DVD. The video features tons of great footage from the entire World Series and also has a bonus disc that includes Game 5 of the NLDS between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay. A must watch for any true fan.

Enter by email, commenting below this post, telephone or by dropping by the Daily Statesman office before Thursday, May 10 at noon.

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To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com , call (573)624-4545 or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

Follow him on Twitter @coreynoles



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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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