The St. Louis Cardinals have sent both David Freese and Brett Wallace (their two best third base prospects) to minor league camp. This leaves Joe Mather, a converted outfielder, as the favorite to begin the season at third base. As I am certain most of you realize that the Cardinals expected third baseman, Troy Glaus, will begin the season on the disabled list and miss at least the first month of the season recovering from shoulder surgery. This will be the winner's chance to shine in the eyes of Tony LaRussa who already seems to have a slight man-crush on Mather.
"But", you might say. It will only be for a month or so and then Glaus will be back and our man will be out of a job. "Well", I would answer, "not exactly."
If Joe Mather impresses Tony LaRussa (and I obviously believe that he will), he is very likely to favor him coming off the bench as an extra infielder and outfielder. This is easily a recipe for finding 350-400 at-bats. I also happen to think Mather is a 30-plus homerun hitter waiting to break out.
Mather was drafted in the third round out of Mountain Pointe high school in Phoenix, Arizona - as a shortstop. He spent way too long in short season leagues and did not develop as quickly as the cards would have liked. But for two years he has been solid (if a little old in AA and AAA). He did not embarass himself in short stents in the major leagues either.
The best news for fantasy owners is that you're likely to get him for just a few bucks in even the deepest leagues. The Cardinals have another guy who began his major league career playing out of position as a temporary replacement for a more established but injury prone player. Damn, I wonder who that was???
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