The Cardinals shocked the baseball world when they made a huge trade this season. I am of course talking about trading Dexter Fowler to the Los Angeles Angels. Fowler’s tenure in St. Louis was not a complete disaster. His first season and his last season were serviceable. The Cardinals moving on from Fowler leaves a hole in the outfield that will likely be filled with a young bat. The Cardinals will fill from within. There is a guy that will have to step up and it’s not the player that most would think.
With Marcell Ozuna signing with the Braves and Andrew Benintendi being traded to the Royals there are no impact bats on the market that are going to be able to step in and make a difference behind Goldschmidt and Arenado. The Cardinals are looking to step into the future with a projected outfield consisting of Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neil and Dylan Carlson. Each of the aforementioned outfielders are not above the age of 26 and none have proven to be an efficient major league player for a full 162 game schedule.
The Cardinals outfield youth will be a challenge to a team that is looking to contend immediately. St. Louis will likely have to look to its organizational depth to protect their team. While 2020 free agent signee Austin Dean impressed in spring training and when given opportunities in-season he is not the long term answer to the Cardinals question. Justin Williams was picked up in the trade that sent Tommy Pham to the Rays in July of 2019. Williams has been a long time prospect in every system he has been a part of. The former second round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks finished his first season with the Cardinals impressively with a slash line of .340/.427/.553. When healthy Williams has shown serious power, blasting 14 homers with the Rays in double-A (2017) and seven homers in 31 games in triple-A Memphis (2019).
The Cardinals have moved on from left-handed bats Brad Miller, Matt Wieters (switch), Kolten Wong and of course Dexter Fowler. The acquisition of Nolan Arenado will likely lead to less at bats for Matt Carpenter, the Cardinals will need to have more threats from the left side of the plate and Williams will find his chance to make the difference for the organization in late game situations, pinch hitting for O’Neil and Bader.