2018 Reg Seas Game #162 – at Cubs – Sun 9/30

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  • #71428
    bicyclemikebicyclemike
    Moderator

    Paid - Annual

    This last week was perhaps the most epic collapse of any Cardinal team in recent memory. The club came into the week playing well, having won 6 of 7. The schedule makers gave them the perfect opportunity, six games to close the season against the two teams ahead of them. It was all there before them – the chance to secure at least a wild card spot, and potentially take the division.

    The response was a total failure in all faucets of the game. The Cardinals were outscored almost two-to-one in the six games, 39-20. The offense batted a collective .210. But what drove the collapse were the fundamental elements that win ball games, pitching and defense. The starters had a combine ERA of 5.28, and on average were not able to get even five innings in the books. The bullpen was atrocious, with an ERA of 7.04. When your bullpen has to carry the load of almost 4 innings per game, and is surrendering runs at a 7+ clip, you will lose. Oh, and to complete a very sad picture, the club did not play a single errorless game, committing 10 in total.

    Going in to next year, I do not think a complete overhaul is needed. We could start with essentially the same group of position players, and with a little better and consistent lineup construction we will be okay on offense. After all, we won 88 games.

    What cries out as the biggest weakness on this team is pitching. If you have starters who cannot get much past the fifth inning, then you have to build a solid bullpen. Ideally you want durability in the rotation as well, so you do not need to rely so much on the ‘pen.

    Somehow the club needs to find guys who can throw strikes, and keep ball games close when they are called upon. It is fun to think about what might be when you have a guy like Jordan Hicks throwing 103 MPH fastballs, but when he cannot locate those pitches it does not provide much benefit. In fact, it puts games farther out of reach.

    A bit more durability from the starters, and perhaps an entire new core of relievers are the areas to focus for the off-season. Not sure how they will do it, as relief pitching can be hot and cold. The same guy can be great one year, not so good the next. But somehow management needs to get 7 guys who can be relied upon to keep the opposition from putting up runs late in ball games. Do that, and if everything else plays out the same way next year as this, we win the division.

    #71433
    AvatarNJ315
    Participant

    You mean the same positions players that lead the majors in errors? Are you ok with Martinez in RF? Carp at 1B? Gyorko at 3B on a regular basis? Garcia as the utility player? I am sorry this team needs a major overhaul. Carp and Martinez should be the first to be traded followed by Gyorko. Release Garcia don’t even look Adams way, bye Pena. That’s a good start.

    #71440
    RatsbuddyRatsbuddy
    Participant

    Free

    The Cards forced the Cubs to play Game 163 by losing? I see it differently. Had the Cards won on Sunday, the Brewers would be division champs and the Cubs forced to play the Wild Card game.
    As it is, the Cubs play 163 at home on Monday and worst case, they are the Wild Card, but they could still win the division.

    They forced the Cubs to play Game #163 because they won on SATURDAY! Had they lost on Saturday as well and got swept they would have let the Cubs off the hook. That’s what I was referring to. And yes, it would have been nice if they could have knocked off the Cubs and gave the Brewers the crown.

    r/Rat

    #71448
    thejagerthejager
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    I think a little bit of health will go a long way

    let’s not act like our players were healthy… Mikolas and Greg Garcia might have been the only guys healthy the whole year

    our rotation was tore up and filled in with guys who just arent ready to be 6 inning guys in their development…that’s not an issue…we have the arms outside of some lefty concerns…

    what we needed was NOT to have CMart and Wacha not in the rotation for most of the year…that killed our depth and forced guys into new roles way too early…Weaver just coudl do it and the kids outside of Flaherty got tired (and Jack did too)

    Whether you like CMart or not he is a very capable starting pitcher and wheel maybe he isnt a prototypical #1, he really isnt being paid liek a #1 so who cares? He was the Cy Young leader before his first injury, and he really never came back full strength after that…Wacha was lights out and dependable too until his injury… Reyes could be a force wherever he ends up…even Weaver could be a solid contributor as a back end starter at this point… Waino even showed he still has plenty in the tank to give…. our rotation was Cmart, Wacha, Mik, Weaver, Waino…and im not sure we had taht rotation all at once for more than maybe a month of the year

    the key backups were Jack and Gant and Reyes…one we coudlnt go to…one stepped up big and the other did a fine job…but they werent supposed to be in the roles they were in

    picking on Gomber and POnce and Hudson for their late season slide is pretty lame…as they were not even parts of the the plan for this year outside of September at best…

    I think Hicks with an offseason of prep for relieving and potentially closing will be good and helpful for him…he isnt that far off…id actually just put Reyes in the reliever role for next year right away and focus him on staying healthy and just pitching…he had contrrol issues too before he got hurt and he really hasnt pitched much in 2 years…so he needs to just throw and stay healthy…we have the depth for him NOT to be in the rotation and a NEED for his kind of arm in the pen…dont let him THINK he is in some potential starter role…make the decision on his role right now and stick to it…id do that with a lot of the arms

    health…early decision on roles for bullpeners…let go of some people and make some hard trades and hard releases…then go big on your FA signings (and or trades)….there is no one comign to StL for their history and winning tradition we arent getting discounts in any way…we will have to over pay…liek LAAA and TEx and Seat to get true superstars….so open the checkbook and do the deals or be willing to stand up to the home town media nad tell them we cant afford to go as big as we need to so we have to find other ways to compete and the fans have to accept that…if you cant get up and say that…then go big and shut up

    #71453
    bicyclemikebicyclemike
    Moderator

    Paid - Annual

    You mean the same positions players that lead the majors in errors? Are you ok with Martinez in RF? Carp at 1B? Gyorko at 3B on a regular basis? Garcia as the utility player?

    I would prefer O’Neill in right on an every day basis, Martinez dealt for pitching, but if he is here in 2019 he should be used as a pinch-hitter and occasional backup at first and right field, Gyorko is fine at third, Carp at first. Munoz most likely steps up as the main utility infielder.

    Again, they won 88 games despite a terrible bullpen, and a revolving door rotation. You look to build a bullpen first, as that is the weakest area of the team.

    #71475
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
    Keymaster

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    On the injury question, I suspect folks here follow the Cards closer than other teams so weigh their injuries more heavily.

    You can total injuries different ways. This approach makes sense to me because it attaches dollar values to the days lost. Losing a star hurts more than a minimum salary player, goes the logic.

    If you believe this data (which I have not verified), the Cards were fifth in payroll paid to injured players at $41 MM. However, almost $16 MM of that was Wainwright, who frankly was not really missed this season. If you took him out of the equation, the Cards would be 13th, or about in the middle.

    If you took out Fowler, another potential addition by subtraction, the Cards would drop even lower. Ditto with Gregerson.

    Before leaving the page, note the Cubs are third in payroll lost due to injury and still managed to make the playoffs. Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox are all in the top 10.

    https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/disabled-list/cumulative-team/

    #71476
    AvatarNJ315
    Participant

    I guess we will have to disagree. Carp needs to be traded and if we keep Gyorko he should not play everyday. 86-83-88 time for a major overhaul.

    #71479
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
    Keymaster

    Paid - Annual

    Interestingly, the Cards finished 2018 both sixth in the NL in runs scored and sixth in team ERA. (Starters were third of 15 and relievers 12th.)

    BikeMike, I read your focus would be on investing in pitching, especially relief, but your post suggests you don’t consider improving the lineup a priority, too. Seems to me the primary offensive upgrade possibilities are third or right field.

    #71480
    stlcard25stlcard25
    Participant

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    Brian, I hadn’t seen the $$ DL figures before. I’d been going with this one, which seems to make relatively good sense to me. It’s based on projected value and time lost. The Cards had mostly low payroll players go down, but higher value. They are 5th in lost value by this metric.

    https://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-disabled-list-tracker/

    #71482
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
    Keymaster

    Paid - Annual

    stlcard25, thanks for sharing. Like I said, there are multiple ways of assessing injury impact. 😉

    I looked around but could not find any detail behind these statements at Roster Resource. Two decimal points look very precise, but they don’t seem to share their formulas.

    The players are sorted by projected pre-season value to their 2018 MLB team. This value is used to determine each team’s overall “Roster Effect Rating”.

    Even without the detail, I would guess during spring training (or before), they would have assigned relatively high values to Wainwright (rotation), Gregerson (closer) and Fowler (starting RF). So maybe the two views aren’t that different.

    #71497
    AvatarMagnoliaCardFan
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    Free

    IMO, the problems at the back end of our bullpen cost us the playoffs in 2018. Mo whiffed on every big $$ FA reliever he signed. That stated, our young pitchers were gassed as a group. But we got to enjoy their growing pains. They’re going to be great.

    The Pham trade was a qualified disaster, given his super recovery in Tampa and our low-watt offense in September. And we still have Fowler’s situation. Our bullpen needs new faces–like the past 3 offseasons. Release Cecil. Trade Leone, Mayer and Weaver. Let’s look at Reyes in the bullpen. Suck it up and acquire another big $$ reliever. Sooner or later Mo will connect with one as long as he keeps trying.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the individuals, on our September roster, react next spring given the bitter medicine they had to swallow this past week.

    #71502
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
    Keymaster

    Paid - Annual

    Mags, in all fairness, Norris would have to be considered a veteran reliever signing success. Even though he ran out of gas, he pitched in a career-high number of games at age 33. He still saved 28 games with a 3.59 ERA.

    Pham will continue to be debated, but one also has to factor in the high likelihood that Bader would not have emerged had Pham remained. Even if you assume Pham would have rediscovered his hitting stroke had he remained and the change of scenery had noting to do with it, my point is that to assess the impact to the Cardinals, one would have to somehow determine the 2H value of Pham minus Bader. All of Pham’s numbers would not be upside.

    #71507
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
    Keymaster

    Paid - Annual

    Some have made points on injuries, need for set lineup and spending more.

    These points are all touched on in The Athletic’s new feature on the A’s and their manager, Bob Melvin.

    Injuries: They lost seven starting pitchers for the year and three others spent time on the DL. They used 13 different starting pitchers this season.

    Set lineup: They mixed four different players in left, including former Cards prospect Nick Martini.

    Payroll: Oakland was 28th in MLB in payroll. Their three division rivals were all ranked in the top 10 in spending in MLB (Seattle, Angels, Astros). Yet they still made the playoffs.

    My only real point in going through this is that there is no one sure formula to success.

    https://theathletic.com/561325/2018/10/01/as-manager-bob-melvin-is-the-steady-hand-at-the-wheel-of-this-postseason-run/

    #71516
    thejagerthejager
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    Matt Chapman’s and Matt Olson’s are nice guys to have for cheap and coming into their own…not to mention the Khris Davis power and PIscotty bounceback

    a smart organization. the Treinen year and deal is phenomenal, the stepping up of their pitchers after the rotation fallout is pretty impressive, similar to the Cardinals….also some great stories in the super stud defender Laureano and even Martini

    I love the way the A’s figured it out….but let’s not act like they don’t have some top notch young prospects who prop up that offense for cheap

    I agree there is no absolute formula for success…but one thing that seems to be trending is…the results of TANKING can and do provide organizations with greater opportunities to succeed

    -it didnt quite pan out with TB but they had a nice run of play in the AL East and then traded away players
    -it didnt quite work out for WASH but they were very relevant and still are
    -it worked for KC for a couple years until they ran out of money and had to trade away their players
    -it worked for the Cubs (and is still working as they have the funds to keep it going)
    -It worked and is still working for the Astros (who also have some funds to keep it working)

    I don’t know if it is an exact formula or not but:

    -take 5-10+ years of tanking
    -add high end hitting prospects in the draft as result
    -mix in a large amount of money to acquire pitchers and positions you don’t develop
    -add high end international prospects with your money too
    -stir in trading away current decent players and prospects for filler players and occasionally good deals
    -bake for 2-3years
    -take out of oven and move your high end cant miss hitting talent up fast to the MLB
    -win for a solid 3-5years before having to sign or let go or trade players and hope the ones you keep are the best ones

    #71520
    bicyclemikebicyclemike
    Moderator

    Paid - Annual

    BikeMike, I read your focus would be on investing in pitching, especially relief, but your post suggests you don’t consider improving the lineup a priority, too. Seems to me the primary offensive upgrade possibilities are third or right field.

    I think the offense will be better as I expect Ozuna to be much improved, and O’Neill to be a big middle order bat. Obviously those are not givens, but I do not see a great need to try to bring in yet another offense-first guy like we did last year with Ozuna.

    In addition, DeJong, Wong and Bader could, maybe even should, all be better next year.

    #71523
    Avatargscottar
    Participant

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    Oakland also has the ultimate genius in the front office. They made a movie about him for crying out loud. We don’t have that.

    #71532
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
    Keymaster

    Paid - Annual

    BikeMike, even if O’Neill lowers his 40.1 percent K rate by a quarter, he essentially becomes Randal Grichuk, a player the Cards gave up on. Yes, O’Neill has room to grow, but I would not bet next season on it. He would be my fourth outfielder coming into 2019 and would get plenty of at-bats.

    I also think 3B is again/still ripe for improvement.

    #71537
    AvatarNJ315
    Participant

    Until they get the big impact bat Harper preferably nothing will change. They are a good team not a very good let alone a great one. Since Albert left it has been the same just not quite good enough and the last 3 years prove they are even regressing. Counting on players to be better is all we have. If they don’t and other than Ozuna it would be an educated guess how good any of the kids are. Trade Carp, JMartinez, Gyorko. No GGarcia, or Pena, or Cecil, or Adams, or Webber, etc. Major overhaul the proof is the pudding. 86-83-88

    #71538
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    even if O’Neill lowers his 40.1 percent K rate by a quarter, he essentially becomes Randal Grichuk, a player the Cards gave up on. Yes, O’Neill has room to grow, but I would not bet next season on it. He would be my fourth outfielder coming into 2019 and would get plenty of at-bats.

    I don’t think they’re that similar a player. Even though the Cards always tried to make the case that Grichuk was a good defender, the data has shown that he’s average at best, CF or corner. He’s not a slower runner, necessarily, but I think his instincts are poor (which also shows up in his low SB totals). At the plate, he’s never had anything resembling a plate approach and his walk rates are consistently around 5% with a K rate around 30%, although the Ks were slightly lower in the minors. All that power felt like a mirage, as he couldn’t hit enough to drive his slugging percentage high enough to offset the horrible OBP. He was never more than a very slightly above average base runner.

    O’Neill, on the other hand, is quite a bit faster than Grichuk (over 1 ft/s, according to statcast), and the early defensive metrics say he’s an elite defender. Now, I’m certainly not going to say that’s Gospel truth as the sample sizes are small. But, I would say that we can ascertain that he’s probably at least a good defender. His minors numbers indicate a player who could reasonably be expected to draw walks at an average to slightly above average rate (7-10%). Now, that’s not Matt Carpenter but it’s not anything like Randal, either. He has legit 30+ HR power, which Grichuk never really had (20-25 being his normal, it seems). And his base running ability looks solid.

    So to the point…Grichuk was a .240-.290-.450 guy with average defense after that initial season. O’Neill would be more like .260-.330-.500 with above average defense. So, essentially a 1.5-2 win player vs a 3-4 win player. IMHO

    #71542
    bicyclemikebicyclemike
    Moderator

    Paid - Annual

    Good analysis by stlcard25. Without looking at comparable minor league numbers at the same ages, just from the eye viewpoint, O’Neill looks like a much more complete player than Grichuk. In addition, he can bring elite power, whereas Grichuk was potentially a decent long-ball hitter, but not someone you would expect to hit 40 long balls. O’Neill could be a legitimate 35-40 home run player.

    I would not hesitate to run O’Neill out there every day next year, let him develop his game and see what we got. He reminds a bit of a slightly less athletic Tommy Pham, with more raw power. Those kind of players you gotta let play, get through the strikeouts and struggles, and give them the opportunity to come through all that and build confidence.

    #71546
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
    Keymaster

    Paid - Annual

    As of now, they committed to Bader in CF, but no one in right. Perhaps that is because they want to unload Martinez and Fowler first, which I would understand.

    But even if they decide to turn RF over to O’Neill, I certainly hope they get help at third base, then.

    #71548
    Avatargscottar
    Participant

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    I wouldn’t turn RF over to O’Neill on an everyday basis just yet. I think he would work better in a platoon situation right now. Also, there could be a LF opening in 2020 so that gives us more time to determine if he is ready for an everyday job.

    #71549
    AvatarNJ315
    Participant

    A collection of average to above average players will give the expected results 86-83-88

    #71559
    RatsbuddyRatsbuddy
    Participant

    Free

    For the life of me I simply cannot understand everybody’s fascination with Tyler O’Neill and wanting him to be the everyday rightfielder. Geez people, if he gets 550+ atbats he is probably going to strikeout around 200 times in 2019.

    At this point I would take a rejuvenated (hopefully) Dexter Fowler in RF as the everyday player over Tyler O’Neill and all of his strikeouts.

    r/Rat

    #71562
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    For the life of me I simply cannot understand everybody’s fascination with Tyler O’Neill and wanting him to be the everyday rightfielder. Geez people, if he gets 550+ atbats he is probably going to strikeout around 200 times in 2019.

    Mike Trout led the AL with 184 strikeouts at age 22. Giancarlo Stanton had 211 strikeouts this year. While some of the top strikeout leaders were poor players, Kris Davis was 7th, Paul Goldschmidt was 8th in MLB, Bryce Harper 9th, Trevor Story 10th, Javy Baez 11th. All of those five will probably get some MVP votes.

    Point being, striking out is not necessarily a deterrent to being a useful player. Obviously there is a point where striking out curbs the potential for positive contribution, but at just 23 there’s still hope in the potential of O’Neill to become something more…unlike some of the alternatives (Martinez, Fowler).

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