Caleb On The Cardinals | 5 burning questions with Dan Buffa

Caleb on the Cardinals

BY DAN BUFFA AND CALEB VAN GRACK, SPECIAL FOR THE JEWISH LIGHT

What were you doing at 11 years of age? Young Caleb Van Grack is tackling St. Louis Cardinals baseball. When Dan Buffa was eleven, his best bet to express Cardinals opinions came at the 7-11 at Chippewa and Brannon. Jewish Light’s youngest sportswriter (ever?) has brought you weekly observations and insights on this 2021 team, so I thought it was a good time for a short Q&A. 

Buffa will ask the tough questions. Caleb serves back some answers. While the Cardinals and Brewers take a break in their series, enjoy this discussion between our two sportswriters. 

*Look for Buffa’s questions or further comments in bold* 

Buffa: Who is the most important player on this team and why?

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Caleb: Yadier Molina is the most important player on the Cardinals because he is a very good leader, is great at hitting, and is the best defensive catcher in baseball. With these traits, Molina can make the whole team better.

Buffa: Per Katie Woo of The Athletic: “Dylan J. Carlson.” St. Louis’s newest reporter asked fans on Twitter for a fun replacement word for Carlson’s middle name, after he hit a grand slam on Wednesday. So Caleb, what’s the “J” stand for?

Caleb: The J. stands for “Just Did It.” Nike says “Just Do It.” Well with every home run or hit Dylan Carlson “just did it.”

Buffa: Speaking of the rookie outfielder, where should he hit in the lineup?

Caleb: I think Dylan Carlson should be 5 th in the lineup. Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado should stay in the top three. Yadier Molina should be fourth because he is most likely to get a hit with a runner in scoring position. Dylan Carlson should bat fifth because he is the next best hitter on the team. Dylan Carlson should definitely not be at the bottom.

Buffa: What would you do with Matt Carpenter if you were the manager? How should Mike Shildt get the best use out of the veteran infielder?

Caleb: Matt Carpenter was an MVP contestant recently, so you would like to have him on the team. But Carpenter should not be on the team right now because he has not been able to hit now or in the spring. I really like Carpenter but he is not the player that he was.

Buffa: In a season full of new faces and beginnings, which Cardinals player emerges as the most surprising contributor. Who comes out of nowhere to push this team over the top? 

Caleb: I think Matthew Liberatore could be the Cardinals surprising contributor. The team could use a lefty pitcher in the bullpen or as a starter, and Matthew Liberatore could become an important player for the team later.

Buffa: If the Cardinals had to acquire any player you chose, who would it be?

Caleb: Mike Trout or Juan Soto would be perfect but they have no chance. So I think Max Scherzer would be the best acquisition because they could use his pitching and there is a chance the Nationals might offer him for trade if they are losing this season.

I really like the Scherzer idea. This team will need more pitching. The offense will need time of its own to start firing on all cylinders. The rotation is a question mark, and that’s after Miles Mikolas and Kwang Hyum Kim return. While the bullpen is a big strength, the starters will need to give more. Also, I think Scherzer’s intensity sync with Nolan Arenado’s game-day energy. Oh, and there’s a Dylan Carlson kid in the mix hitting homers every other night.

Thanks for reading. More from Caleb to come.