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Most Disappointing St. Louis Cardinals Players in Spring Training so FarPosted Monday, March 17, 2014, at 7:03 AM
By COREY NOLES
With spring training rapidly passing by and Opening Day just around the corner, there's now enough of a sample by which to get a good idea of the overall performance of a few key players.
For the St. Louis Cardinals, several have stepped up and either surprised or tried and failed--this piece will focus on the latter.
Some players arrive in Jupiter, Fla., and everything goes as planned, but for others it's not so easy. Whether it's the hype that precedes them, the pressure or just trying to get back into the groove of a long season, for some players coming back can be a problem.
Sometimes it's an injury that causes the problem.
Every year there are a few.
Overall, the 2014 Cardinals are looking good, despite the normal bumps in the road. A handful of players, however, have struggled to live up to their potential so far during spring training.
Following are the three players off to the most disappointing starts through the first half of spring training.
3. Seth Maness
Spring training: 9.39 ERA, 7 games, 7.2 IP, 14 hits, 8 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 2.22 WHIP
In 2013, Seth Maness shocked in St. Louis when he arrived, functioning like a literal lucky charm for the Cardinals down the playoff stretch.
Need a double play? Maness was your guy.
That same luck has yet to carry over to spring training.
In his seven games through March 16, Maness has only three scoreless outings--something that was his specialty in 2013.
Despite his struggles, I'm not ready to count Maness out for 2014. He's a solid pitcher with a mature approach to the game that is, hopefully, just struggling to find his stride. Give him time.
2. Jaime Garcia
Spring training: N/A
Prior to the start of spring training, the hope was that a healthy Jaime Garcia would be able to push the Cardinals over the brink from good to borderline unstoppable.
While that characterization may still fit the team before the season starts, it's unlikely that the mode of thinking will be due to a healthy Jaime Garcia.
If Garcia turns out to be fully healthy, his impact will still be major, however, it's highly unlikely that will be any time near Opening Day.
Were it not for the next player, Garcia would have taken the top slot in this article.
1. Oscar Taveras
Spring training: .167/.167/.333, 1-for-6 overall, two games, 1 double, 1 run scored
The great hope of the Cardinals organization, whose arrival fans have anxiously awaited now for three years, will once again miss Opening Day.
Oscar Taveras, one of the most coveted outfield prospects in all of Major League Baseball, has had a rocky path to the big leagues, battling injury throughout 2013 and now early in 2014.
With the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporting contention within the organization regarding the extent of his issues, for Tavares to be among the first to leave spring training is highly disappointing.
After hearing throughout the winter that Tavares was believed to be ready for the season, his continued struggles are a cause for concern.
In reality, though, Tavares spent only a limited amount of time at Triple-A Memphis in 2013 and could probably benefit from the additional time for development.
Rest assured, his day will come very soon.
All stats are courtesy Baseball Reference; they are current through March 16, 2014.
Corey Noles is a Cardinals Writer and Columnist for The Daily Statesman. He also serves as a regular contributor to KSDK.com and Bleacher Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 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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