It's an admittedly small sample, but so far this season, the $120-million investment in Matt Holliday sure seems to be worth it.
Holliday is batting .476 with two homers, five RBIs, seven runs scored and a stolen base one week into the season. And, not only is he productive, but he is performing his planned role of preventing the opposition from being able to pitch around one clear threat in the heart of the order.
Albert Pujols congratulates Matt Holliday as Holliday touches the plate after hitting a home run. AP photo.
On Saturday the Brewers felt compelled to pitch to Albert Pujols with runners on second and third and two outs and Holliday lurking on deck. That scenarion was unimaginable last season and before. Pujols would have certainly received four wide ones and the opposition would have worked on the next batter. And Pujols made it pay off with a two-RBI base hit.
When teams have pitched around Pujols, Holliday has made them pay for that, too.
While some think the Cardinals overpaid for Holliday, I still believe he is the perfect guy to compliment Pujols in the batting order. Not only is Holliday a guy with enough power to provide a threat of turning a little bit of damage into a lot, he's a high average hitter who makes opposing managers believe that he has just as good of a chance to drive in runs as Pujols. Holliday also has under-rated speed and he has the same killer instinct and desire to win as Pujols.
Throw in the fact that he's also a righty hitter, so there is no reason for managers to pitch around Albert and bring in a lefty specialist, and I just don't see how Holliday could be a better fit for this club.
Holliday is capable of carrying a club when Pujols is cold... I still don't think Albert has been as hot as he is capable of getting since Holliday joined the Cardinals. Remember, Pujols was slowed by elbow problems late last year that caused him to have a stunning power outage. When Pujols gets into a groove, the Birds are going to score a whole lot of runs.