Perhaps it all started with David Eckstein, who wasn’t even really the Cardinals go-hard that always seemed to play above his head but infatuated Cardinals Nation anyway (and they’re always white. So, so white). Eckstein came from somewhere else, of course. But there’s always one Cardinal who you just know is going to annoy the piss out of you for a decade because they’re just so…Cardinal.
Oh there have been failed attempts. Skip Schumaker. Brendan Ryan was actually cloned from Eckstein but never really worked out. Colby Rasmus was going to be the outfield version until he bitched his way out of town. They even imported Ryan Theriot to be that guy. There was a time when it was feared Daniel Descalso would be that (and he ended up annoying the piss out of us anyway). Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty or Peter Bourjos definitely had chances which they never really took. So we guess it’s been a while since the Cards have had that squeaky clean, try-harder-than-you piss-ant that their fans hold up as all that’s good and right about baseball and why they’re just better than you because they recognize it and you don’t. Usually it’s right alongside a minority actually doing the work, but we’ll leave that this time. Sadly, this year it’s worked.
We give you Tommy Edman.
It’s always a bad sign when they have a y at the end of their name, just to more greatly portray their down-home-ness. Go by Tom, you’re a fucking adult, dude. Or supposed to be.
Anyway, Edman came up in July and all he’s done is hit, field, and run exceptionally. He’s been worth nearly three WAR in barely half of a season, and at 24 he’s going to be the rash in our ass for a long while it seems.
Is he a product of the Titleist baseballs? Yeah, a bit. Edman had never slugged much over .400 at any level in the minors until getting to AAA this year, where of course they’re setting all kinds of records for homers and power. Suddenly he was slugging .513 in Memphis when he’d never managed over .403 before. That’s continued in the Majors, where he’s got 11 homers in 89 games after hitting seven all of last year in AA and AAA.
Yeah, Edman hits the ball pretty hard, with a near 25% line-drive rate and a 40+% hard-contact rate. Whatever. This shouldn’t be happening and fuck him.
Still, the dude knocked Matt Carpenter out of the starting lineup, and Carpenter had been the Cardinals’ most consistent hitter for years, doing whatever they needed. That’s no small feat. And we can’t take Edman’s fielding and speed away from him, and they’re not going to go anywhere even if the baseball returns to the land of normal physics soon. Because of that speed, Edman is always going to run a high BABIP as he beats out infield singles more than most. Because of course this guy for the Cardinals has to beat out infield singles. It’s like a goddamn law.
If they aren’t already, the stands of Busch are going to be littered with Edman jerseys soon. There will be shots and shots of home-schooled children (if they even get that) in Edman shirseys while their parents tell them about how Edman plays the game the right way as they wait for his autograph. You can see it now in your head. You know it to be true. He’s going to get some sort of game-winning hit in the playoffs too, probably off his knuckles that has no business landing in the outfield unscathed as you go reach for your revolver. It’s going to happen, accept it now.
With Edman, DeJohn, Wong, and Goldschmidt, the Cards infield seems cemented for a long while now. You know the targets, you know the opposition, so you might as well plan for the “Edman-is-better-than-Baez” debates now. They’re coming, you can’t stop them. What it will mean is that Edman isn’t nearly as fun as Baez, and that’s why they’ll say he’s better. Better fundamentals. Respects the game more. Doesn’t need attention. Just wants to win. You know what they’ll really be saying.
You can script it out from here.