Better in 2019

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This topic contains 102 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by Avatar gscottar 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #83044
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    14NyquisT
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    I should have mentioned the intangibles of a mostly empty DL, a rookie or two stepping in ala Bader in
    ’18, plus if the FO decides that keeping their mistakes off the field would be better for the team. These go into the luck column.

    #83046
    Brian Walton
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    NJ, I agree on the superstar point and have been consistent about it since Albert left.

    Having said that, note that Pujols was 31 when the Cards won it all in 2011. Goldy is 31 now.

    #83047
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    NJ315
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    and maybe that what part of not signing him long-term. If he would have been maybe 28 they might have considered the 10 year contract.

    #83048
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    gscottar
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    The NLC is a lot tougher than it was in 2006 for sure and probably 2011 as well. We need to build a team that will win the division. The playoffs are a crapshoot. One of the best Cardinal teams ever (2004) didn’t win the WS but one of their most mediocre (2006) did. Building a team to win the WS is almost meaningless because there are so many unpredictable variables but building a team to be better than four other specific teams is a more tangible goal. The only thing that matters to me is are we better than the Cubs, Brewers, Reds, and Pirates. IMO we have not done enough to create much separation if any at all.

    #83052
    stlcard25
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    Gscottar, the thing that worries me now that didn’t a few weeks ago is the starting pitching. With a healthy Cmart, I think you can make a solid case that the Cards have the best SP in the division, at worst tied with Chicago if you think they can beat Father Time forever. They might have the best offense of the bunch too, and the defense likely will be stellar. The bullpen is a question mark but they could be better than anyone but Milwaukee there with the high octane arms.

    Now with Cmart a potential loss for the season (in terms of being a starter), it would take a gallant performance from Waino and/or a step forward in health or consistency from Reyes, Gant or Hudson to say they are on the Cubs level and the Brewers might finally take a step forward there. I see the Cards as a 90+ win team along with Chicago and Milwaukee a small step back. With Martinez I’d say they could be a clear favorite. Now they may need a Kuechel or Kimbrel type player to be comfortable. I don’t expect them to sign them and instead hope that the chips fall their way for a change in the injury and luck department.

    #83059
    Brian Walton
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    Right about the future, NJ, but the subject here is 2019. I was responding to your point that Goldy is “on the wrong side of 30”. I pointed out he is the same age Albert was when they were last World Champs. That seems relevant to 2019 to me.

    #83086
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    gscottar
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    stl, at this point the Cards, Cubs, and Brewers are all probably within 3-4 games of each other. It is a razor thin margin either way. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a tiny regression from the Brewers but they are at least an 87-88 win team. I think the Cubs have a better starting five than anyone in the division but do they have the depth? The Cubs also have the best starting lineup in the division but it is really really close. The division will come down to injuries most likely. The other big factor is the trade deadline. The Cardinals have been stagnant there the last several years and that must change!

    #83165
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    bccran
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    Some basic questions for 2019 –

    1.) RF – who will eventually end up playing most.

    2.) Munoz vs. Robinson for the last position player spot on the roster?

    3.) 5th starter if Carlos can’t go? 6th starter if Carlos can’t go and Waino is ineffective?

    4.) Bullpen makeup. Here are the ERAs from last year –

    Reyes – 0.00 (21 AAA innings, 4 MLB innings)
    Webb – 1.76 (15 innings with Cards)
    Hudson – 2.63
    Gallegos – 2.64 (AAA)
    Ponce – 2.73
    Schreve – 3.07
    Brebbia – 3.20
    Gant – 3.47
    Hicks – 3.59
    Miller – 4.24
    Gomber – 4.44
    Leone – 4.50
    Mayers – 4.70
    Cecil – 6.89
    Gregerson – 7.11

    #83230
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    bccran
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    Gallegos didn’t help his case today.

    #83233
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    Robert Reed
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    “Gallegos didn’t help his case today.”

    Yeah, I’m generally skeptical of castoffs from smart organizations like the Yankees. Better probably to poach from the stupid franchises that can’t identify talent as well. Like when the Cards got Kiko Calero from K.C. years ago, or Mujica from the Marlins, etc..

    For me Gallegos wasn’t the most frustrating guy, though. That title goes to Dakota Hudson, clear cut. Two out, two strikes, nobody on base. And five minutes later 2 runs were in and Hudson was knocked out of the game, with 2 runners still on board after 4 straight singles. Yes, two hits never left the infield. But that’s not really the point.

    Here’s a hint, Mr. Maddux. When Dakota Hudson has two strikes on a batter, for the love of common sense let him throw some 97 MPH high heat once in a while. When the opposing batter knows for a fact that every single pitch is going to be in the bottom half of the zone or below — regardless of the count, regardless of whether a grounder is needed or not — it makes his very difficult job sooo much easier.

    I understand the groundball preoccupation. Quick outs. Double plays when necessary. But when you’ve got a hitter in the hole, and the bases are empty, what on earth is the catcher doing setting up the same target, the same darn bottom-of-the-zone, middle-of-the-plate target that he does on a 2-1 count with a man on first and one out?

    Don’t listen to Kevin Costner. Strikeouts are good. And Hudson’s refusal to use the top of the zone (and above) to overpower hitters bit him twice today on 2-strike base hits. Yeesh, if only because of game theory, it’s a smart idea to at least present the possibility that a Dakota Hudson pitch might be thrown at the top of the zone once a month.

    Before going outside to yell at a cloud, I’ll end my rant with a quote from Dakota Hudson’s Brooks Baseball page:

    “His fourseam fastball (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 10 of them in 2018) generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, is blazing fast (98 MPH), has less armside movement than typical and has some natural sinking action.”

    Sounds pretty good to me. How about using it, Mr. Maddux?

    #83241
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    bccran
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    Hudson, if developed the proper way, could be an important part of the Cards for the next few years. A heavy, sinking 95mph fastball coupled with a high 97mph four seam in a devastating one two punch.

    #83242
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    dac8b9
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    Rob, are we sure Hudson’s reluctance to pitch up in the zone is at the direction of Mike Maddux and not a result of Hudson’s personal preference? Or are you suggesting that as the pitching coach, Mike Maddux should have made that suggestion by now? I agree with you that Hudson should mix in more fourseam fastballs up in the zone because he just doesn’t generate enough strikeouts as is. I know they’re all young and still have time to improve, but the main reason I am more optimistic about Flaherty than Hudson or Hicks is that Flaherty uses the whole strike zone and can throw his secondary pitches for strikes reliably. In contrast, last season Hicks and Hudson were too in love with the sinker and neither could consistently throw a breaking ball for a strike. As a result, hitters would sit on their sinkers and it made their sinkers less effective despite excellent velocity and movement. While they generated a lot of weak contact, they also had far fewer strikeouts than one would expect based on their stuff.

    Thankfully, Hicks seems to have addressed these concerns in the off-season. Thus far in Spring Training, he has been able to throw his slider for strikes reliably and has mixed in a fourseam fastball to hitters. Unfortunately, Hudson seems to be the same pitcher he was last year.

    #83244
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    Robert Reed
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    Thanks for the feedback, cranny and dac.

    “Or are you suggesting that as the pitching coach, Mike Maddux should have made that suggestion (Dakota Hudson throwing fourseam fastballs up in the zone periodically) by now?”

    Absolutely, dac. And more broadly, not just Maddux but the entire organization from the day Hudson was drafted. It makes perfect sense to avoid the top of the zone if you’re a soft-tossing sinkerballer like Seth Maness, or even a mid-velocity Matt Bowman. But with Hudson’s blistering heater, it’s a clear waste of talent to keep the ball exclusively down, down, and down some more. And if they won’t work on an occasional fourseamer up above the hands now, in Spring Training, then when?

    Hudson could eventually be that rare pitcher who combines very high groundball totals with good strikeout rates. As you said, cranny, it would be devastating. (It would be prime Arrieta — the pitcher Hudson was coincidentally likened to by Rob Ozga before Dakota was drafted.) But…well dac summed it all up very effectively in the comments re Hudson, Hicks, and Jack Flaherty.

    Avoiding the top 1/4 of the zone (and above) means pitching scared. And to paraphrase a poker axiom, scared pitchers don’t win.

    #83245
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    CariocaCardinal
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    I’m starting to wonder if Webb is putting himself in a position to crack the opening day roster. He has been overlooked mostly because he is a lefty with options but he was statistically pretty good last year and has been very effective in Spring training so far.

    #83252
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    gscottar
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    Absolutely CC! I feel 10 times more comfortable with Webb than I do Shreve.

    #83253
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    Cardinals27
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    As far as Hudson goes, I’d like to see him develop a change up. Maybe a fork ball/splitter? He could become a bigger strikeout guy, and it would add to his value as a future starter.

    #83404
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    bccran
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    Is it better to be a bigger strikeout guy, or continue to get grounders with that heavy 95mph sinker, and keep the pitch count down?

    #83406
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    Robert Reed
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    “Is it better to be a bigger strikeout guy, or continue to get grounders with that heavy 95mph sinker, and keep the pitch count down?”

    Start every AB by going for the groundout — as you say, cranny, it gets quick outs, keeps the pitch count down. But once you get to 0-2 or 1-2, 80-90% of the time you go for the whiff with the high cheese. If it’s 2-2, sometimes go high heat, sometimes the sinker/slider for a groundball.

    At least, I’d say that’s the way to do it if you have a 97 MPH fourseamer. If you get way ahead in the count, and then just pound the bottom of the strikezone like it’s the start of the at-bat, you’re letting the hitter off the hook.

    I think Hudson can be a solid #3/4 starter for the Cards doing exactly what he’s been doing, that’s how good he already is. But with either improved command or a meaningful increase in high fourseamers, he can be a #1/2 kind of guy. I know some people have misgivings about his delivery, his ability to stay off the disabled* list, but he’s been healthy & durable for three years running, so I think he’s 100% starter until proven otherwise.

    * I’m insensitive, so I’m going to keep saying this for a few years. I despise outrage culture and hate language fascism. I’m so mean, I know.

    #83407
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    Nigel T
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    Bob your insights are always a delight, and your civility is not in question.

    #83408
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    Nigel T
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    Hudson is way ahead of Gomber. Gant, Ponce, Cabrerra, and Woodford. I could see him holding down Martinez’s spot while he remains behind for two weeks. That situation could allow Hudson to establish a grasp on a rotation spot.

    #83411
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    mudville
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    When I was watching Woodford and Kruczynski in a couple of ST games on TV this year, I thought they were about equal in the quality of their pitches and their overall development. I would put them behind Gomber, Gant, and Ponce de Leon. I like Gomber a lot so far. I’m not sure what to think about Cabrerra yet. (FWIW, I think Ponce de Leon might have made a mistake in changing his name.)

    #83454
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    14NyquisT
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    I will still refer to him as Poncedeleon. That takes up too much space as it is. (with all due respect to political correctness.)

    As of right now, I expect Hudson to stay stretched out at Memphis as our sixth starter, with Gant getting the rotation spot.

    #83506
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    gscottar
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    #83513
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    14NyquisT
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    LaRue did a decent job explaining what he thinks the FO is lacking.

    Of the comments offering an opinion of Mozeliak most were negative For example: “Mozeliak has proven the Benjamins(sic) are his priority. As long as the turn styles revolve, he’s content. The way to do that is to be competitive within the context of competing for playoff spots. Notice absence of the word championships in his interviews?” Others were shorter and less sweet.

    A great number of fans are catching on to why no post season for three seasons. There just needs to be some accountability and a change to the direction of the team. Whether the present FO can modify their attitude is yet to be determined.

    #83518
    Brian Walton
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    I keep repeating it. The people who think Mozeliak and Girsch set the financial strategy of the Cardinals and personally benefit from a lower player payroll than some people expect clearly do not understand the fundamental difference between employee and employer. A different regime might go after player acquisition and roster construction in a different way, but it isn’t like a new front office would unlock the vault to spend millions more. That is not how it works, but keep rattling the sabers.

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