By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
ADARI Grant has yet to receive his minor league assignment for the 2022 season, but the highly touted St Louis Cardinals prospect made enough of an impression in preseason minor league camp for franchise staff to take notice.
Cardinals minor-league infield instructor, Jose Oquendo, raved about the progression of the 18-year-old infielder, one of the youngest invitees to minor league camp.
“Like I told him, ‘you have been the biggest surprise to me,’(From) when I saw him in Santo Domingo for the first time to what he is doing right now is a complete change. He’s gotten better,” Oquendo told Daniel Guerrero of the St Louis Post Dispatch. “He has always wanted it. He has a strong desire to be a professional baseball player — and a good one.”
Gary Kendall, manager of the club’s Low A affiliate Palm Beach Cardinals, had an opportunity to see Grant for the first time.
“He plays with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of emotion. I see a guy that came over a little bit raw, and through the instruction of Jose Oquendo and the staff, I’ve seen this guy develop and learn the game and make quick adjustments,” he said.
“You know, guys that go far in this game make quick adjustments. And they’re quick learners. And (Grant) seems to be that type of guy. He’s a very quick learner. So I really like what he brings to the table. He’s a plus runner. You know, he’s coming along defensively. I’ve seen his bat improve, you know, so I mean, he’s got the world in front of them.”
Grant became the first Bahamian player to join the Cardinals organisation when they signed him in the 2021 class.
In his rookie season, he was assigned to the Dominican Summer League with the DSL Cardinals Blue.
He finished with a batting average of .220 with a .691 OPS on the season with 22 hits, one home run, six RBI and seven stolen bases.
“As soon as I’m on the field, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, but I think I’m the best. I don’t think anybody is better than me. That’s the way to be about it in baseball,” Grant said. Baseball is hard enough, so if you don’t have that confidence (and) you don’t think you’re the best, baseball can really attack you.”
After Lucius Fox received the call-up he said the Bahamian pipeline is sure to place more Bahamians in the major leagues.
“It’s motivation for sure,” Grant said. “But people don’t know there’s plenty young talent coming from the Bahamas. Plenty. There’s plenty guys after me that’s coming out.