In looking back at the significant body of content delivered here at The Cardinal Nation over the year of 2019, I had a choice. I could highlight that which I am most proud of, or I could focus on that which attracted the most reader eyes.
I went with the latter, which provided some surprises as I surveyed the dozen site locations our readers most frequently viewed over the prior 12 months.
One high-traffic area was expected – our free user forum, with a total view count about half that of the busiest destination, the site home page.
The subjects of the two most popular threads on the forum begin with the ongoing topic in which readers can offer up and discuss their trade or free agent acquisition ideas. But if you make a proposal, you had better be able to defend if from the very knowledgeable reader community!
The other was the discussion and voting thread for the community’s top 75 prospect list for 2020, which became one-third of the new site top 50 just unveiled.
A popular feature here at TCN for over a decade is the Roster Matrix, representing every player in entire Cardinals organization, listed by position and team assignment. This starts with St. Louis and goes all the way down to international players signed for 2020 and not yet assigned to a team.
Every transaction that impacts any of those 300-plus playersunder contract is documented daily year-round. The Roster Matrix is rebooted four times yearly – spring training, regular season, short-season (post-draft) and off-season. If you are interested in who is where in the system as of today (or at any point over the last decade), but haven’t bookmarked this free resource, I highly recommend you do it.
To access biographic details of an individual player or for an entire roster, reference our team roster pages. These updated daily or as needed in concert with the Roster Matrix. The roster page of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds was accessed more often during 2019 than any individual article on the site.
In other words, many readers recognize the value of The Cardinal Nation as more than a source of daily news and commentary – also a current and a historical resource for the Cardinals system. Both the Roster Matrix and team rosters can be quickly accessed via the permanent menus in the left column on every page of the site.
MLB’s annual First-Year Player Draft spans three days in June. As the Cardinals announce their 40 draft picks, The Cardinal Nation is gathering information on each in real-time – photos and video, as well as bio and scouting information – to share with our readers.
The most popular individual article posted this year on the site was our Draft Day 3 recap, providing details on the 30 newest Cardinals selected in rounds 11 through 40, along with links to the corresponding draft Day 1 and 2 player summaries.
Can Anyone be Objective about Brett Cecil Anymore?
OK, here is a surprise. I did not expect this November article to rank so highly. Then again, the subject is a volatile one for many.
Often, I am moved to write about a subject of current interest due to a high level of reader emotion associated with it. Many times, I don’t take the easy approach to play into and heighten fan anger, but instead step back and assess the situation logically.
I avoid pushing my personal opinions because, frankly, opinions are not all that interesting. The internet is full of them. Instead, I use fact and logic to try to reason why the Cardinals organization might be inclined to take action (or not take action) – taking a broader view that some fans may not be considering.
In this particular case, I offer perspective on perhaps why the Cardinals have not released disappointing left-handed reliever Brett Cecil.
Whether you agree or not, if my commentary causes you to think, or maybe to even reconsider, then my mission was accomplished.
Cardinals Sign 13th Rounder Tommy Jew
We often break Cardinals minor league news here, though this was not one I figured would draw so much attention. On July 9th, we were the first to announce that the Cardinals had signed their 13th-round draft pick this June, Tommy Jew. The situation was unclear as the signing deadline approached. Not only could the Cal Santa Barbara outfielder have decided to return to school for his senior year, it was complicated by the broken leg he suffered in the NCAA regionals.
Often these kinds of articles are designated as member-only. However, there are times like this when showing potential subscribers what they are missing can benefit all.
2020 Top 50 Prospect Countdown
An often-accessed reference document is the table of contents for our annual 62-article series, updated with each day’s addition to our Cardinals top 50 prospect list. As a side point, comparable articles from prior year rankings are available via that same red menu on the left.
So if you want to see who was our no. 1 prospect in 2012 or where Tommy Edman ranked on the 2017 Top 50, the information is just a few clicks away.
How Might Minor League Reductions Affect the Cardinals?
A story that I have followed for years is the plight of minor league players to receive a fair wage. Major League Baseball opened a major new initiative in the battle when its proposal to eliminate 42 teams became real in November. At that time, the New York Times identified the contraction targets by name.
I explained the situation and implications to the two Cardinals affiliates to be eliminated if the proposal is realized. This fight, on multiple fronts, will continue in 2020.
2019 NLDS Game 3 thread: Sun 10/6 vs. Braves
Every day during the season and through the post-season as well, our free forums have two new discussion threads. One begins with the starting pitchers for the major league Cardinals and their opponent that day. Also listed is the game time and the television and radio networks.
The other thread lists the Cardinals minor league starters, opponents for the day and the game times. Both topics are then populated by readers commenting on the action.
Cardinals 2019 Hall of Fame Ballot Set
I readily admit that I have a head start writing articles about the Cardinals Hall of Fame since I have the pleasure and honor to be a member of the “Red Ribbon” nominating committee.
In this article, I introduced the slate of candidates we placed on the Modern Era ballot, with two, Jason Isringhausen and Scott Rolen, later voted into the Hall by fan voters and inducted in August.
Cardinals Add Montero, Seijas and Woodford to 40-Man Roster, Remove Leone
One of the features subscribers to The Cardinal Nation can count on is analysis of all player transactions across the system, from St. Louis on down. We explain the moves, what they might mean to playing time as well as the inevitable corresponding transactions, as player moves often occur in concert across multiple levels.
For transactions that affect St. Louis, these analysis articles are provided at no charge. This one covered the three minor leaguers added to the 40-man roster, and a major leaguer removed, in preparation for the December Rule 5 draft.
The Cardinal Nation’s Team Recaps and Top Players of 2019
Another popular fall series outlines the top relievers, starters and hitters at each level of the Cardinals system during the preceding campaign, along with comprehensive recaps of each affiliates’ season. Most of these articles are written by The Cardinal Nation’s team of local reporters, regularly working games at each of the Cardinals’ US affiliates, from Memphis all the way down to the Gulf Coast League.
This is a level of coverage of the system you simply cannot find elsewhere. Much of it does not come free, but it helps make a membership worthwhile.
With that, I will stop at the 12 most commonly accessed locations at The Cardinal Nation in 2019. While I hope you already knew about all of them, I am guessing the majority will have picked up some useful information to assist in your following the players and teams in the St. Louis Cardinals system this coming season and beyond.
Happy New Year and have a great 2020!
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