How will Matheny implement speed in 2014?


by Brian Feldman / BaseballStL | @BFeldman

Posted on February 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 11 at 6:35 PM

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(BaseballStL) -- From the day Mike Matheny took over as Cardinals manager prior to the 2012 season he has preached a need for speed.  

He stopped short of saying he wanted to get back to the days of “Whitey Ball” in the 80s but he still wanted more.

It doesn’t take a veteran scout or front office executive to see the Cardinals have been a station-to-station team over the last few years.  There were small (and I mean very small) bouts of power which overshadowed the lack of foot speed on the roster but, overall, scoring runs for the Cards took several hits.

Base hit.  Base hit (guy moves to third).  Base hit to score him. 

That’s a lot that has to happen just to get one measly run. 

Well gone are David Freese and Carlos Beltran with Pete Kozma and - likely - Jon Jay headed to the bench.  

Arrived are Jhonny Peralta, Peter Bourjos and Kolten Wong.  Matt Adams moves into the everyday lineup.

Adams and Peralta don’t offer any speed but Bourjos and Wong do.

Sure, that’s only two of the eight projected everyday starters.  Sure it’s just 22 percent of the nine hitters in a lineup.  But that’s 22 percent more than they’ve had in the last, oh, 20 years. 

Bourjos can flat out fly.  Wong is very fast as well.  Both can alter a game with their speed.  Now the question is how will Matheny use it?  Will he unleash the duo to steal bases at their own discretion?  Will they drop down bunts for hits on a regular basis?  Or will the lack of speed in the rest of the lineup prohibit them from doing much of anything? 

There are a boat load of questions which will need to be answered down in Jupiter, Florida over the next seven weeks.  How Mike Matheny uses the newfound speed on the roster is without a doubt one of them.