Inconsistent Offense

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    What do you consider the major reasons that the Cardinal offense was so inconsistent in 2019. What has to change in 2020.


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    I thought it had the same inconsistency as 2018. I would be curious though if it is just our imaginations or it really is inconsistent. There must be a stat available for that.

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    I found it funny that when I did a Google search for “inconsistent offense” MLB, on the first page, here are the teams mentioned in the listed article titles:

    Cubs (3 times)
    Red Sox
    (no Cardinals)

    All of those teams missed the playoffs.

    I question whether monthly stats are granular enough to tell anything, but because it was relatively easy to pull, I looked at OPS by month in 2019. It was like an upside down bell curve. The Cards were better than average in the first and last months and below average in the four months in between, and overall. Only between July and August were they kind of consistent from month to month.

    It would be helpful to look at other teams and compare, but someone else will have to do that. From this data, I would agree with the inconsistent tag.

    As to the posed question of why, team stats are just the aggregate of individual player results. Why do some players get hot and then cold? I have no idea.

      StL OPS Rk of 30 MLB
    April 0.800 #4 0.744
    May 0.689 #23 0.752
    June 0.643 #29 0.762
    July 0.759 #20 0.767
    August 0.776 #13 0.779
    September 0.808 #8 0.740
    Overall 0.739 #19 0.757

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    Maybe the Cards were on to something regarding the conflicting philosophies causing issues when they fired Budaska?

    Really, the inconsistency was mostly due to Carpenter and Goldschmidt not being their usual selves. I figured out before that they were worth something like 70 runs created less in 2019 than 2018. That’s the difference between the Cards’ middling offense and the 5th best in the NL. It’s hard to have a good offense when your two MVP candidate hitters suddenly become something like an average hitter, combined.


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    In these days of almost everyday TV coverage we can easily become myopic about other teams performance so I did a quick check.

    The Cardinals had 13 streaks of at least 2 games where they averaged 2 runs per game or less. Total of 31 games where they scored only 38 runs total.

    For the total season the Cardinals were:
    0-9 when shut out
    1-19 when scoring one run
    7-15 when scoring two runs
    9-9 when scoring 3 runs.
    Total 17-52, 35 games below .500

    So what, how did other teams fare
    0-5 when shut out
    2-7 when held to one run
    3-12 when scoring two runs
    6-12 when scoring three runs
    Total 11-36, 25 games below .500

    0-8 when shut out
    1-13 when scoring one run
    7-19 when scoring two runs
    4-9 when scoring three runs
    Total 8-40, 32 games below .500

    Then Houston, the most wins in 2019
    0-6 when shut out
    0-15 when scoring one run
    5-9 when scoring to two runs
    13-8 when scoring three runs
    Total 18-38, 20 games below .500

    Except for Houston avoided AL Teams because of the designated hitter rule.

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    What is your conclusion from the data you shared, Sooner?


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    Actually I was just providing data for others to reach conclusions but:

    29 games scoring one run or less is a lot.

    35 games below .500 in games where we scored 3 runs or less is a lot compared to 25 games by Atlanta and 20 by the Astros. We were only 10 runs behind the average total runs in the League in a relatively pitcher friendly ballpark.

    We scored 1.2+ runs per game in 38 of our games. Almost 5.5 in the other 124. The thing the data doesn’t show is that we had offensive meltdowns in a lot of consecutive games. Thirteen different occasions of as many as 4 games in a row. Often they followed blowout wins.

    My conclusion: very inconsistent offense. Also the Cubs were no worse than we were.

    The $64,000 question is why.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AvatarSoonerinNC.
    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AvatarSoonerinNC.


    Too many streaky players and not enough production from some of the big ticket players the team has.

    Might help if 1-2 guys quit trying to slam it or grip and rip it out of the park and learn some on base skills. Maybe even learn to hit opposite field.

    18th in OBP, 22nd in OPS, 21st in RBI and 19th in runs. I think were destined for 3rd place next year if we don’t make a major addition on offense. I think the pitching will be there minus a closer.



    My thoughts without checking data is that we have too many key hitters striking out too much, especially with runners on base. I plan on doing some research to see if that really is the case.

    One thing I quickly noticed about the data that Sooner provided is that the Cardinals had 69 games with 3 or less runs, the Cubs 48, Atlanta 47 and Houston 56. They had 51 games with 2 or less runs while the Cubs had 35, Houston 35 and Atlanta 29.

    They definitely had a problem scoring runs, consistently.


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    The 30,000 feet view is that the Cardinals simply do not have the offensive talent that the better clubs have. They won on pitching, defense, and smart base running (a marked improvement in Shildt’s teams compared to Matheny).

    The club had a 92 OPS+, well down in the bottom half of teams. Even the lowly Pirates were at 95. The Cardinals do not get on base enough, and correspondingly do not hit for average. They made up for some of that with Shildt’s aggressive management style.

    In order to improve, they need a couple of young guys to take the next step on offense. With the current group, acknowledging that some guys could be moved before Spring Training, candidates that could make a difference are DeJong, O’Neill, and Bader. My thought is Carlson is a year or so away still, and I am not counting on Edman to reproduce his 2019 numbers until I see more of him. But of course he is a candidate to provide some punch as well.

    They would then need Goldschmidt to find the fountain of youth, and perhaps Carpenter to at least revert to being a good offensive player, even if not all-star caliber. Then you hope Fowler can produce at the level he did in ’19, and Wong continues to improve.

    They need a much more productive hitter in the number five slot than Molina, who hit there much of the latter part of the season. You really want some .800s-.900s OPS guys in the 3-4-5 slots. Yadi looks to be on the down hill slide of his career, and ideally hits 7th or 8th on the 2020 club.

    In a perfect (or almost perfect) scenario, Goldschmidt returns close to his prime production, and DeJong puts a full year together of being a high .800s to .900 OPS player. Then O’Neill steps up with a 35 homer season and close to .900 OPS, and that is the core of your lineup.

    Would be nice if one of those guys hit lefty, but that is the card we are dealt right now.


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    The Albert/Budaska rift may have played a part in the inconsistency if the players were receiving mixed messages. The Cardinals have since made it clear that they are all in with Jeff Albert. I would think 2020 is an important season for him as many will be expecting better results.

    The biggest problem I saw is too many wild swingers.


    None of them have plate discipline. Then you have Carp who has been decimated by the shift.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Avatargscottar.
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    Quite a leap of faith on your potential difference-makers, bikemike. DeJong is the only consistent one of the three and his consistency has been at a disappointing level. I wish more rest would fix it, but I am skeptical, as his troubles began early on. Bader is heading into his third year with major lingering questions about his ability to hit MLB pitching. O’Neill cannot stay healthy. 35 homers and a .900 OPS seem light years away from where he is now. (As a point of reference, Grichuk hit 31 HRs with a .738 OPS this season.)



    I don’t see a rebound for Goldschmidt. He previously played in Arizona, where there is no humidity. Moving to St. Louis probably takes his OPS down 100 pts per year every year he is in St. Louis. Balls fly further in dry air than humid air. I mean, even Daniel Descalso had an OPS 100 pts higher in the desert.

    DeJong could rebound with getting sporadic time off…If you get in a funk, sometimes it’s best to take two days off and clear your head…

    Carpenter never getting on track really hurt the offense…I think he is at the phase of his career he needs to worry less about the number of pitches he sees and more about driving the ball and going the opposite way…Let somebody more in their prime (and with quicker reflexes) be the one to take pitches for the team.

    O’Neill is probably the best substitute for Ozuna’s power, but the Grichuk comparison seems valid…Will probably have a slightly higher OBP and maybe a slugging % that is 30-40 pts higher – but he needs to play to get used to MLB pitching…What was the longest consecutive playing time he had last year – two weeks?

    Hopefully, Bader will get over his sophomore slump and perform more like his first year in STL next year. If you look at his stats, it seems like the dropoff from 2018 to 2019 was more bad luck on balls in play than anything alarming…I do believe it is beneficial to move players down to AAA for a week or two when they are struggling their first few years in the league. It seemed as though Bader had a month where he couldn’t buy a hit, was sent down and built up his confidence feasting on AAA pitching, then hit pretty well the next few weeks. With so many capable outfielders, they should probably use the taxi squad whenever the youngsters get in a funk.

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    MPWR2, a belated welcome to you!

    On O’Neill, he had a six-week window when Ozuna was injured and was given the LF job on a silver platter. He promptly got hurt again.

    On Bader after his return from Memphis, he was good for less than a week and then fell hard right back into his old habits.

    Overall this Sept: .191/.274/.372/.646. 37% K rate, 8% BB rate. That won’t cut it, especially for a team with a weak (inconsistent) offense, which is why Bader did not start much in the post-season. Even so, that was better than O’Neill, who was inactive for the playoffs, with Arozarena having beaten him out.



    Thanks for looking up the stats, Brian.

    Tyler O’Neill has less than 300 plate appearances across two seasons. To your point, maybe he needs to spend a little more time on yoga and pilates and a little less time in the weight room, but he should not be blocked by Dexter Fowler nor Jose Martinez.

    As for Bader, I will draw a comparison to another elite defensive player in the first three years in St. Louis.
    Player A:
    1st year: 32 games, 59 AB, .153/.194/.169/.363, 1 double
    2nd year: 113 games, 402 AB, .249/.292/.388/.680, 14 doubles, 3 triples, 12 HR
    3rd year: 150 games, 557 AB, .262/.321/.386/.707, 28 doubles, 4 triples, 11 HR

    Player B:
    1st year: 32 games, 85 AB, .235/.283/.376/.659, 3 doubles, 3HR
    2nd year: 138 games, 379 AB, .264/.334/.422/.756, 20 doubles, 2 triples, 12 HR
    3rd year: 128 games, 347 AB, .205/.314/.366/.680, 14 doubles, 3 triples, 12 HR

    Based on the first three years of production, which player would you rather have?

    Player A is Kolten Wong and Player B is Harrison Bader.



    The playoffs are the perfect example of them being very inconsistent. They score 10 in one inning, 3 the following 2 innings and then over the next 42 innings, they put up 6 total. That’s the definition of inconsistent I would guess? Looking at it monthly is a large sample size for the most part.

    There are just to many holes in the lineup that can go into severe slumps, and the decent guys can’t contribute every single game.



    MPWR, Bader got worse in his 3rd year, not better which should be a cause for concern. Being an OF, even though a great one, a true championship team can’t have an everyday OF with an OPS and BA that low. He didn’t figure it out evidently on his minors stint. Lane Thomas would be my choice for the starting CF at this point because he can actually hit a breaking ball, with Arozarena 2nd, O’Neill 3rd then Bader. Ideally Fowler and Bader are in the AL on 4/1/20.


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    Way way too many strike outs….. it’s that simple, but not easy to rectify.

    – Let Marcell walk. Extend him the qualifying offer for the draft selection, but let the man go. He is not the future.

    JMart – If you can get something for him, take it and run.

    DeJong – His power and defensive prowess makes him a keeper. But certainly something can be done to cut down on the whiffs a bit…..can’t it?

    Bader – Keep trotting him out there one more year. He’s going to be a blue chipper yet.

    Goldy – GG defense or not, if his 2020 offensive campaign resembles his 2019, we’re in trouble.

    Carp – He’s no longer starter material. We are stuck.

    In summation, thank God for our young starting pitching and the emergence of Tommy Edman!

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    MPWR2 asked:

    Based on the first three years of production, which player would you rather have?

    Since you asked, I’d rather have the one who gets better every year and who had the best year most recently. In both cases, that is Player A.



    To follow up on my thoughts about too many strikeouts, here are some strikeout percentages with RISP:

    Major league average – 21.98%
    National league average – 21.64%
    Cardinals average – 22.36%

    Here are the splits with RISP:
    Major leagues – .262/.345/.443/.788
    National league – .263/.350/.444/.794
    Cardinals – .250/.342/.393/.735

    Another thing about the Cardinals is that they had about 25% less home runs with RISP than either the NL average or ML average.

    I believe there is enough in the statistics to show that the Cardinals suffered from too many strikeouts and overall poor hitting with RISP. DeJong and Ozuna seem to be the 2 biggest culprits in key batting positions.



    Strikeouts? Strikeouts?

    Surely you realize that players realize that they have to swing like maniacs because over the course of an entire season, if they hit a few more homeruns, then when its time for free agency they will get a lot more money. It doesn’t matter how many times the player strikes out. Players realize this. Its all about the homeruns anymore. And their wallets.

    Swing like a maniac, the heck with the team, the heck with smart baseball, the heck with who wins. Its how many homeruns I hit that will determine how much $$$ I get. And that’s all that matters nowadays.

    I don’t know about the rest of you posters but at times major league baseball is hard for me to watch. And that absolutely includes St. Louis.

    r/Esteemed Rat

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by RatsbuddyRatsbuddy.

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    Baseball can be hard to watch, mostly because it’s a 3+ hour a day commitment for half a year. For me, it has nothing to do with the style of play. Things change and maybe they will again in the future. I’m ok with the strikeouts as pitchers are so good now that it’s bound to happen. The RISP thing is fluid from year to year. Remember when the Cards hit .330 the one year with RISP? Personnel had a little to do with it, but plain luck also had a lot to say.

    I would say that next year we need Goldy to be himself. That alone will give us a nice bump in offense. If we can get a 20-30% above average performance from some other player (Carp, Dejong, O’Neill, etc) and another few guys above average, the offense should be adequate for another run at the Central and NL pennant. This year was just a black hole of otherwise reliable hitters all having career worst seasons at the same time.


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    When your oWAR leaders are Wong (3.4), Edman (2.9) and DeJong (2.9) you don’t have to look much further to understanding our offensive inconsistency.

    Even more revealing is comparing the collective oWAR of our #1,3 and 4 hitters.

    Fowler, Goldschmidt and Ozuna had a collective 6.5. Add to that two of the three are marginal at best defensively.

    Compare that with the following for the 1, 3 and 4 hitters of other top teams:

    Atlanta – 13.6
    LA Dodgers – 13.8
    Milwaukee – 11.6
    Washington – 14.6
    Houston – 16.4

    The problem is right there for Mo to address. As it stands now our best hope is with the youngsters. But that is asking an awful lot.


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    At to that the Cardinal 1,3 and 4 hitters are a dismal last compared to those from the Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Athletics, Braves, Dodgers and Nationals in the Fangraphs categories of Off, WAR, wOBA and wRC+.

    And the strikeout rates of 28.8 by Bader, 22.4 by DeJong, 24.7 by Fowler and 24.3 by Goldschmidt.


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    I wonder what it is about St Louis that causes players to just go bust once they get here? And it seems that callups have a one year grace period before they, too, fall off?

    Ozuna plus Carp plus Goldy in 2018 were worth 13.2 oWAR. If you take the year that the Cards traded for Ozuna, that would be 16.4 oWAR. As you mentioned, this year they were worth far less. It’s puzzling. Maybe the transition to Albert was a big downer for them…maybe it was age related decline…or maybe they just had off years. Still, that’s a huge change for all those guys.

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