This story was excerpted from John Denton’s Cardinals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
PITTSBURGH — Leading off today’s Cardinals Beat newsletter is, well, Cardinals leadoff hitter, Tommy Edman.
First, a quick story about the Cardinals’ strong feelings about Edman. Prior to Saturday’s game in Pittsburgh, I asked manager Oliver Marmol about how much of a luxury it was to have a player like Edman, who is smart and versatile enough to play second base and shortstop. Said Marmol, “Nothing really affects his approach or mentality or his overall game. He takes everything in stride. It doesn’t matter. I could tell him to go play center field and he’d do it.”
As fate would have it, starting center fielder Harrison Bader was scratched prior to Saturday’s game with dizziness and then converted center fielder Dylan Carlson felt left hamstring tightness that might keep him out for a couple of games. That led to Edman playing — yes — center field for the first time since 2019. In five innings in center field, Edman had one putout.
“I didn’t think we’d actually have to do it tonight!” Marmol said. “I went up to [Edman during the game] and said, ‘Hey, I need you to go play center.’ He said, ‘Go get me a glove!’ He’s a guy where nothing fazes him.”
This season, Edman’s worth to the Cardinals has never been greater. Entering Sunday, he ranked in MLB’s top five position players in bWAR alongside names like Mike Trout, Manny Machado, and teammate Nolan Arenado. Also, the Gold Glove second baseman came into the weekend series against the Pirates with the NL lead in defensive runs saved. That gave the Cards confidence that Edman could slide to shortstop so they could promote top prospect Nolan Gorman to play second.
Edman, a strong All-Star candidate, spoke with MLB.com about his career and life away from baseball.
MLB.com: What’s a hidden talent that you have or something that few people know about you?
Edman: My hidden talent is probably that I can do a Rubik’s Cube. I had one back in middle school and I used to do it a lot. I think I did it in under a minute at one point. I haven’t done it in a while, but I think I could still do it. I did it for the first time in like sixth or seventh grade and I got better and better at it.
MLB.com: Which teammate in your MLB career has been the most influential to your success and why?
Edman: I think when I first got called up, Goldy [Paul Goldschmidt] helped me out so much with preparation and routine and a lot of video work. I didn’t really know how to watch video on pitchers, and he guided me through that. Also, he helped me make sure that I had a routine, because all players need to have structure instead of just going about your day and doing random things. Seeing the way he went about his routine really helped me form my own routine.
MLB.com: When the game is over, how do you unwind, get away from baseball and turn things off at night?
Edman: The big thing for me is if I’m going to fall asleep, I’ve got to put my phone away. If I’m on my phone all night waiting to go to bed, I’m going to have a tough time falling to sleep. So having some time away from the field and away from technology in general is important to allow my mind to unwind. That’s very important for me. I spend probably an hour at the field after the game doing all my recovery stuff and getting any treatment I need, so that’s a good time for me to unwind. So by the time I head home, I’m over it for that game.
MLB.com: Who is an artist on your musical playlists that might surprise people?
Edman: For the most part, I’m listening to a lot of worship music right now. My walk-up song right now is by Elevation Worship and Brandon Lake, so that’s one guy I listen to a lot right now. My walk-up song right now is good because it reminds me to stay focused on God, but it’s also a good pump-up song and reminds me to be a soldier and a warrior for Jesus.
MLB.com: What’s the favorite moment of your MLB career so far?