Matt Holliday, LF (.272/.370/.441 +20 HR in 2014)
Jon Jay, CF (.303/.372/.378 +20 HBP [led league] in 2014)
Jason Heyward, RF (.271/.351/.384 +11 HR, 20 SB in 2014 with Atlanta Braves)
Chris Coghlan, LF (.283/.352/.452 +9 HR in 2014)
Dexter Fowler, CF (.276/.375/.399 with Astros in 2014)
Jorge Soler, LF (.292/.330/.573 +5 HR in 2014)
Analysis: The Cubs have an outfield with potential — Soler showed major upside in his limited time last year, and at 22 years old it’s fair to guess that he will only improve. Coghlan is a veteran but still only 29, and a solid player for the Cubs. The acquisition of Fowler will give the Cubs an upgrade in centerfield as well. The Cubs outfielders definitely have the potential to be one of the team’s strengths in 2015, but they also have a bright future. However, the Cardinals outfield is full of established and proven players. Newcomer Heyward gives the Cardinals a versatile hitter as well as a Gold Glove-caliber defender in right field, Holliday will be the usual rock in left, and Jay showed signs of breaking out in 2014. The Cardinals know what they have in the outfield already, and are certainly very happy with what they have.
While the Cubs absolutely have some exciting guys in their outfield, the Cardinals have guys they know can contribute to the team. The Cubs still don’t know exactly how Soler will turn out. His numbers in his 24 games are impressive, but can he stay at that level during the grueling 162-game marathon that is the MLB season? Fowler has potential, and it’s been on display at times, but it seems like he doesn’t have the ability to stay on the field consistently. Meanwhile the Cardinals have a three time All-Star (2010-12) in Holliday, a guy who just won’t quit in Jay, and former All-Star right-fielder in Heyward. The Cardinals know exactly what they have in their outfield, and it looks pretty good.