Even after showing the same promise that he displayed during his first stint with the Cardinals, Magneuris Sierra is headed back to the minors after a short cameo in the big leagues.
Rookie outfielder Magneuris Sierra–who has arguably been the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals’ biggest surprise, even as Mike Leake makes a strong bid at a spot on the NL All-Star team–wasn’t supposed to be back with the big-league club for long when he was recalled from Double-A Springfield on Friday. Third baseman Jedd Gyorko was set to take two days of paternity leave, and Sierra was just called up to fill a hole on the roster for those two games.
Somehow, though, it still feels a little bit surprising that the 21-year-old is headed back to the minors with Gyorko set to return to the team for Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Derrick Goold reported on Saturday that Sierra would report back to Springfield.
While he didn’t see action in Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 loss to Chicago, Sierra was one of the Cardinals’ few offensive performers on Friday, driving in a run with a single and collecting a walk in a 3-2 loss during which the Cardinals collected just four hits against John Lackey and the Cubs’ relief corps.
Sierra currently possesses an eight-game hitting streak, which is the longest streak ever by a Cardinals player to start a career.
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He has a team-best .375 batting average and a spectacular .429 OBP. With that said, there’s reason to be skeptical about Sierra’s true big-league readiness; despite his plus speed, none of his 12 hits have gone for extra bases, and his 82.40 MPH average exit velocity ranks last among Cardinals position players according to Statcast. He hasn’t been an off-the-charts spectacular hitter in the minor leagues, either.
But with the team currently in the midst of a 5-12 skid (which, perhaps not coincidentally, began as soon as Sierra stopped receiving regular playing time), why not at least allow the player who has been the team’s most successful hitter an opportunity to cool off and prove himself unworthy for further big-league action? The movement among fans to cut Jhonny Peralta is perhaps a bit harsh, but it’s not as if the Cardinals have any real use for John Brebbia or John Gant in their bullpen. They could easily return to a 12-man pitching staff, at least for as long as it takes for Sierra to return to earth.
On the bright side, the Cardinals will get back Gyorko, who has been their cleanup hitter and arguably their most dependable defensive player this season. In 173 plate appearances over 44 games, the 28-year-old has a .321/.370/.650 slash line with eight homers. Given the fact that Gyorko could come back with the oft-talked about but non-scientifically proven “daddy strength,” he has the potential to provide an unbelievable boost to the Cards’ lineup.