Marlins Cardinals Spring Baseball

Right fielder Dexter Fowler strokes one of his three hits (in 31 at-bats) during 2020’s first spring training. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

If a couple of the regular outfielders don’t pan out, Tommy Edman will come into play. He had one less homer than Bader in 21 fewer at-bats and hit 99 points better. Edman wouldn’t replace Bader in center and never has started in center or left, having made all 11 of his outfield starts in right field last year. But manager Mike Shildt would find a place for him.

The various candidates all would hit in a different spot in the lineup. If Carlson plays, he could hit second or sixth. Bader likely will bat ninth, with the pitchers not having to hit, and he could join Kolten Wong as back-to-back base-stealing threats when the lineup turns over.  O’Neill could hit fifth or sixth. Fowler sixth or seventh, with a possibility of first and second. Thomas could hit anywhere from seventh to ninth. 

None of the outfielders has to drive in runs like Ozuna, but all should be able to approach his .330 on-base percentage.

One of the statistics that might surprise is that Fowler hit a career-high 19 home runs in 2019, four from the right side where he was awful the year before. But, even last year, Fowler hit only .211 righthanded and might sit against a number of lefthanders.

The urgency on the outfielders to produce is real because this likely is the weakest offensive component on the club.

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