(KMOX, St. Louis) The Cardinals somehow someway are doing it again this October. And again part of the success this month and this season is due to the surprising play of some players who didn’t seem likely to help the Cards at all. If you go back to last year one of the biggest surprises to me was the play of Tony Cruz filling in for the injured Yadier Molina. Here’s my list of the top 4 who’ve done the same this year:
1-Joe Kelly. I don’t think this guy has been given the accolades that he deserves. He was thrust into the starting role due to Jaime Garcia’s injury, which at the time (June) wasn’t supposed to last long. But Jaime was on the shelf for a couple of months and Joe kept providing quality starts and stayed with the team as a valuable member of the bullpen once Jaime returned. I don’t recall anyone talking about Joe during spring training.
2-Matt Carpenter. His play all season long has been so consistent, especially from the offensive end of things. Whether it was becoming the Cards top pinch hitter or playing a variety of different positions due to injuries, Matt has filled the different roles nicely.
3-Trevor Rosenthal. Unlike Joe Kelly, there was a lot of conversation down in Jupiter this spring about how impressive Trevor was. Rosenthal, a starter, had success with the Cards double A affiliate Springfield early in the season and then got promoted to triple A Memphis. Trevor saw more success in Memphis and then was called up a few times in the second half of the season. His flashy triple digit fastball has many people asking about him, but his success on the mound out of the pen for the Cards includes more than just a fastball. He’s been another welcomed addition to the bullpen.
4-Pete Kozma. Some may have him ranked a little higher on this list and I can understand the argument. Here’s a guy who admittedly by some in the organization was almost off the 40 man roster this year and because of the injury to Rafael Furcal gets pressed into a September call up. He’s not a flashy glove type at short but still does a terrific job in the field. Hitting has never been Pete’s strength in the minors, but it’s a definite upgrade over Tyler Greene.
Scott Warmann is a co-host on the Sports Hub