With names from Cardinal teams past popping up everywhere – Mark McGwire is the team’s new hitting coach and possible pinch-hitter (depending on whether Tony would ever really push for such a thing), and now Jim Edmonds has “challenged” LaRussa to give him a roster spot (believe what you will there) – I thought it might be fun to pick out a lineup and pitching staff using the best players from the 2000 team that included both McGwire and Edmonds and the 2010 team.
Call it a 10-year reunion team of sorts.
Catcher – Yadier Molina (2010)
Yadi gets the nod over his mentor, Mike Matheny based on superior offense.
First base – Albert Pujols (2010)
McGwire didn’t play a full season in 2000, limited by injury to 321 plate appearances. His performance at the plate in those PAs was excellent, but give the nod to Pujols here for durability and defensive upgrade.
Sorry Mac, you’re still relegated to pinch hitting duties for this team. Maybe an inter-league designated hitter?
Second base – Fernando Vina (2000)
Better bat than Skip Schumaker (dig Vina’s .380 OBP) and a better glove as well. Not much of a decision, in my opinion.
Shortstop – Edgar Renteria (2000)
Brendan Ryan’s improvement aside, I’d still prefer to have Edgar at short. I’m willing to be proven wrong with a breakout year from Ryan in 2010.
Here’s hoping Freese wins the advantage in 2010.
Two positions here are no-brainers. I really wanted to cop-out and platoon Drew and Ryan Ludwick, but Drew’s .880 OPS in 2000 was stout and when healthy, I think Drew was the better outfielder.
Outside of the top three, this is where the decisions start getting difficult because we’re projecting 2010 performance. I can make a pretty educated guess that Brad Penny isn’t going to win the Cy Young in 2010, but you really never know.
Ankiel made the cut because of his ridiculous strikeouts per nine in 2000, and because I think it’d be hilarious to watch opposing teams chase the curveballs of a Carp, Waino, DK, and Ankiel front four.
That fifth slot really could go to any of Lohse, Penny, or Garrett Stephenson – I gave the nod to Lohse, perhaps in a bit of wishful projection for the upcoming campaign.
Again, many others merited mention – Blake Hawksworth, Mike James (did he really pitch that well in 2000?), Mike Timlin – but I’ll take the potential of Motte’s arm and learning a little more about pitching in 2010.
Obviously there’s no real science to this, I’m just picking out names based upon who I prefer or had a better statistical season than another player (or another player projects to have).
Who would you select?