St. Louis Cardinals: Is Tommy Edman Legit?

What type of value does the young, versatile Tommy Edman provide for the St. Louis Cardinals following his outstanding rookie year?

Tommy Edman is a very intriguing player for the St. Louis Cardinals at just 25 years old. He can play almost any position and do so very well, he has great contact skills at the plate, and he’s super fast.

Playing only 92 games as a rookie in 2019 Edman posted a 3.2 fWAR. Some notable players this was higher than:

  • Manny Machado
  • Whit Merrifield
  • Paul Goldschmidt
  • Mike Moustakas
  • Nicholas Castellanos

Those are just a few of the surprising names he was ahead of and these guys also played close to 162 games compared to just 92 for Edman. At the plated Tommy Edman posted a .304 AVG,11 HRs, 17 2B, .850 OPS, and .357 wOBA. As a switch hitter, he was also effective from both sides of the plate, hitting .321 right handed and .298 left handed.

Whether or not Tommy Edman keeps up this type of production at the plate, he is still the real deal as an overall player. It’s not often you find a player with his type of speed, defensive skills/versatility, and a very good bat. The best comparison I think for him going forward is a player like Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals.

Merrifield and Edman have incredibly similar hitting profiles.

MLB Percentile Rankings (Merrifield/Edman):
  • xBA: 86th / 86th
  • K%: 74th / 72nd
  • xSLG: 42nd / 45th
  • xwOBA: 44th / 47th
  • Hard Hit %: 12th / 19th
  • Exit Velocity: 15th / 21st

It’s crazy how similar those hitting profiles are and shows that Edman projects as a similar hitter in the future. This would make sense as both guys are contact driven guys, who don’t strike out and have decent power.

They are also both incredibly fast as Edman is in the 97th percentile (29.4 ft/s) in the MLB in sprint speed and Merrifield is at the 86th percentile (28.6 ft/s). Edman had 13 SBs in just 92 games and posted a superb 6.6 BsR which ranked 11th in the entire MLB. Whit Merrifield is also a great base runner as he’s put up 99 SBs the past three seasons.

Defensively Whit Merrifield is very versatile just as Tommy Edman, but Edman may be even more versatile and skilled at each position. Merrifield’s career high in DRS (defensive runs saved) is 6 which he did in 2018. As a rookie Edman put up 11 DRS. 3 in the OF, 6 at 2B, and 2 at 3B.

Edman could certainly not live up to the Merrifield expectation as Whit has proven himself over multiple seasons, but Edman certainly looks like the type of player who could give such value to a team.

With all that Tommy Edman brings to the table, it’s safe to say that he is legit and provides a ton of value to the St. Louis Cardinals in the future. A switch hitter who rarely strikes out, with elite speed and elite defense at multiple positions is the kind of player every team would love to have.