Spring training 2019

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This topic contains 213 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by Avatar thejager 1 month, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #83858
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    dac8b9
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    Brian, you made a pretty compelling case for depth over bringing your best 25 north. How do you feel about Shildt’s decision to declare Fowler the starter irrespective of his spring performance and awful season last year? To be honest, I can see the argument for handling it this way if the Cardinals really do think last year’s performance was due to Fowler’s mood and relationship with Matheny and the fans, ie the depression explanation. But if he really has declined due to age and injuries, then giving him the starting job and seeing him repeat last year’s performance for a large enough sample to be certain, will likely cost you games and that could be the difference between making the playoffs and not in what should be baseballs most competitive division.

    I suspect Shildt will give Fowler too much rope and if he ultimately hangs himself with it, people will have some difficult questions for him if we miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year. This is a tricky situation for an inexperienced big league manager to be in. I would hope Mozeliak would step in before too much damage is done, but that would essentially require Mo to admit he made an expensive mistake and he hasn’t been willing to move on from Brett Cecil whose contract isn’t even half of Fowler’s and he’s been awful for two years.

    Frankly, I’d feel a lot better about the situation if Fowler came into camp having to earn his spot because it would make it easier for Shildt to move Fowler into a bench role if that’s what his play warranted. Instead, I have to read quotes from Shildt about how hard Fowler is hitting the ball and take him at his word, despite Fowler having one extra base hit this spring. I know that spring training numbers aren’t necessarily indicative of future performance, but Fowler hasn’t really looked good by the eye test either in the games I’ve seen on TV. Whereas Tyler O’Neil has by all accounts had a good spring and demonstrated improved plate discipline.

    #83860
    Brian Walton
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    I think it it was on the What is Wrong With Fowler thread where a number of the posters weighed in on how long Fowler’s rope should be and how bad his stats would have to be for the Cards to make a change. Of course, there were varied opinions. Mine is this. Given how last year went, the pressure is high coming out of the gate. Without significant progress, I’d be surprised if him starting would last more than one month or two at the most.

    #83863
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    #83878
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    I packaged my thoughts from the discussions here.

    #83892
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    gscottar
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    All the while, they ignore that other players are overpaid and the clubs’ can do nothing about it because they have a contract.

    Who agreed to give out those overpaid contracts? The players aren’t signing those checks.

    #83895
    Brian Walton
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    So the circle continues. The owners show restraint and give out fewer bad contracts to veterans. As the market changes, some don’t like it. Some players threaten to go on strike. Unlike several other major sports, MLB contracts are guaranteed, which is a huge advantage for the players.

    #83896
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    gscottar
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    In my opinion this team’s success all comes down to the bullpen. I’m not so worried about who is in RF, or utility IF, or backup C. It is all about the bullpen. So the first time we lose a game because of Cecil, Gregerson, Shreve, or Mayers there is going to be heck to pay for someone because we all know we have better options. And that is not opinion. We know it. Are they going to hide Cecil and Gregerson on the IL all year? If so, great.

    We are in the toughest division in baseball. Every game is crucial. If we are going to lose let’s lose with our best options.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #83902
    Brian Walton
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    We agree that the bullpen seems to be the biggest question, but the devil is in the details. On any given day, those “best options” can change. And by definition, your view of the “best options” may be different from my view of the “best options”. Who is “right”? Anyone who opens on the IL (Martinez, Gregerson, Cecil) will probably pitch in rehab games to ramp up and I do think the manager has enough pen weapons that he can manage pen usage carefully. Still, the Cards will lose at least 70 games and someone will be the whipping boy for every one of them. Back a few years ago, we had a poster award stars and goats for each win and loss. That would be an interesting stat to maintain over 162 games.

    #83903
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    thejager
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    There is middle ground in the “best 25”, i know very few people who think that it is either or in that situation…

    best 25 never happens, but also thinking that everything comes down to optionability and salary is just as naive

    that is how you end up with a Hicks and Munoz on the 25 roster last year…etc etc

    there is a middle ground and talking about it in either extreme is just a waste if that is the end… BUT if that waste can produce GOOd discussions about the middle then so what? go with it

    I look at the Gyorko situation and I think it is one where yo udo move on from him is able as he stunts other progress and defensive depth…adding in that we have a pretty healthy amount of backups for 3b after Carp even without Gyorko…not to mention it is backed up in the minors…

    maybe they arent all world beaters but they are at least defensively capable…which is something we can NOT say about backup behind SS…as Gyorko who cant play there and hasnt played there much at all let alone recently or even last year and was bad when he did…and is coming off a lower body injury is our backup…AND our backup for CF at the moment is either a decent backup SS and poor backup in CF or a bad backup at SS and decent to ok CF…with Munoz and Robinson…. or Oneill who is good enough in CF but then we have Gyorko at backup SS

    moving on from Gyorko solves many needs and is protected enough that his loss is mitigated by the bolstering of the backups behind other positions…

    it isnt always shortsighted to trade from depth at a position…and NO TEAM AT ALL has quality MLB starter level backups at every position on their bench let alone in their organization…and to be honest the Cardinals bench without Gyorko may be the closest one in existence if you add Munoz and Oneill to JMart and Wieters…we conceivable have a 25 man hitting squad with MLB level quality backups at every position on the field…Munoz played plenty at SS and 3b to prove he can play there every day if need be, and while he had a few bad error games he wasnt the reason we didnt succeed last year…not to mention his bat was one of our best

    #83907
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    Cardinal in France
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    It’s very difficult to get a handle on this team from my distance, especially as I’m not able to watch any spring training games, but from what I have been able to glean from the occasional radio broadcast, studying box scores and spring statistics, reading y’all’s thoughts and comments on this forum and various thumbsuckers from elsewhere, I’m just not finding much to make me feel optimistic. I know all the arguments: It’s only spring train training, players are at varying levels of readiness, staff is experimenting with different ideas and combinations, etc., but I just don’t have the feeling we have a playoff team out there. God knows I hope I’m wrong.

    #83911
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    Bob Reed
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    “…reading y’all’s thoughts and comments on this forum and various thumbsuckers from elsewhere, I’m just not finding much to make me feel optimistic.”

    Speaking for myself, Parisian Redbird, there’s the usual Generic March Anxiety. But objectively, the Cards have about as good a chance as anyone to win the division. I’ll be specific.

    If you take the average W-L predictions of the well known 538 website, the Fangraphs website (uses Steamer and ZiPS computer modeling), the PECOTA forecasts, Clay Davenport’s computer, and the Vegas over/under lines, and average all of that stuff together, here is how the N.L. Central would shake out in 2019:

    Cards 87-75
    Cubs 85-77
    Brewers 85-77
    Reds 80-82
    Bucs 79-83

    Other than much of the bullpen, I really like the StL personnel. If the Birds were to release Cecil, Gregerson, and Fowler tomorrow, I’d bet on them straight-up to win the division. In 2018 the lineup went from a below average 4.4 runs per game with Mabry and Fowler, to an elite 5.2 runs per game once they were both out of the picture. So I have pretty much zero concerns about run scoring. And the rotation should be well above average.

    It’s a very good roster, Frenchy. It just needs to be leveraged properly. If Fowler is one of baseball’s worst players again, he gets released at the end of April. If Shildt starts Yadi behind the plate more than 14 or 15 games in a row, he gets called into the GM’s office for a dressing down. If last year’s Fowler/Molina insanity isn’t repeated, the club has a good chance to win 90+ games, in spite of the below average bullpen.

    #83916
    Brian Walton
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    #83930
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    forsch31
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    gscottar

    In my opinion this team’s success all comes down to the bullpen. I’m not so worried about who is in RF, or utility IF, or backup C. It is all about the bullpen. So the first time we lose a game because of Cecil, Gregerson, Shreve, or Mayers there is going to be heck to pay for someone because we all know we have better options. And that is not opinion. We know it. Are they going to hide Cecil and Gregerson on the IL all year? If so, great.

    We are in the toughest division in baseball. Every game is crucial. If we are going to lose let’s lose with our best options.

    So if we lose a game because of our subjective “better options”, there is not going to be heck to pay? How do we prove who is the better options? How are you determining who the better options are since it is not an opinion?

    #83931
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    forsch31
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    gscottar

    All the while, they ignore that other players are overpaid and the clubs’ can do nothing about it because they have a contract.

    Who agreed to give out those overpaid contracts? The players aren’t signing those checks.

    I figured someone would make that point.

    The owners made a choice to make that contract that they knew going into it that they would have to fulfill. Likewise, the player knows by agreeing to play the game that his salary is predetermined for him for the first 3 years of his major league service. He signs his contract by playing the games. If they don’t like the contract, they have the choice of not playing.

    #83938
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    Onyxgem
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    I know this is ONLY Spring training, but the Offense was a problem last year and looks like that hasn’t changed. This offseason most people knew the Cards needed to add to good to very good bats to the roster, but the FO went cheap and just landed one…will have to wait and see if the problem goes into normal games but doesn’t look good atm.

    #83939
    Brian Walton
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    Don’t worry, Onyx. Now that pitchers are batting in games, the offensive numbers will rise! 😉

    #83941
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    Onyxgem
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    Lol

    #83945
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    bccran
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    Arrived yesterday afternoon, and was able to get an hour or so in on the back fields. Saw Helsley,
    Cabrera, and Gallegos pitch and Montero bat and play 3B. Good start to the visit.

    #83948
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    thejager
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    I was giving the offense time, but we are less than 2 weeks out right? I would think at least afew guys would have the rust off a bit more than we are seeing right now.

    Guys have been playing more regularly, and longer in games. Even just looking at the last weeks stats it isnt great (taking away the early hard to get ABs)

    They say Spring Training stats dont matter, but i sure see a lot of guys being evaluated that way.

    While having some players a free pass because of their contracts or vet status is normal, having a whole team of that is pretty problematic IMO.

    Carp and Goldy seem fine and what is expected, Munoz seems to be right in line with himself. Yadi’s late start seems to not matter, but after that it is pretty bad out there.

    Oneill’s HRs hide some for him
    JMart is supposed to be the king of plug and play hits and power…nada
    Gyorko hurt and wasnt hitting
    Bader steals a few bags yesterday and we act like everything is fine
    Fowler and OZuna are playing like they dont have to do anything to get their starting spots (which it seems they dont)
    DeJong hasnt flashed anything to get excited about
    Wong seems as erratic as ever
    Robinson has cooled
    Wieters looks and hits like a backup

    We don’t even have that crazy bashing minor leaguer who is forcing himself onto the team story…they are really digging to find good stories…one day it is Carlson after he hits a HR and then ABder and his historic 3 steals day…

    the best looking guy out there IMO has been Schrock who has come to ST obviously with a chip on his shoulder after last year…not to mention adding 3b as a legitimate option for him

    Schrock and Munoz (both from the A’s org) seem not to be taking anything for granted and really treating ST like it matters

    everyone else, not so much

    I want ST stats to not matter…but i have watched every ST available so far, and listened to every other and followed when that was my only option. And while ST is just practice to some extent, it also serves as building the excitement for the team as it heads into the regular season, and for a fan like me who misses no games and thinks about the team every day of the year I have been pretty underwhelmed on the hitting side especially.

    #83949
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    gscottar
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    So if we lose a game because of our subjective “better options”, there is not going to be heck to pay? How do we prove who is the better options? How are you determining who the better options are since it is not an opinion?

    I have single handedly decided that every pitcher in the organization is a better option than Cecil, Gregerson, and probably Shreve. Does that work for you?

    Seriously I would rather see us lose a game going with someone other than those three. At least I would then know we were trying to win instead of just playing payroll politics.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #83950
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    gscottar
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    I figured someone would make that point.

    The owners made a choice to make that contract that they knew going into it that they would have to fulfill. Likewise, the player knows by agreeing to play the game that his salary is predetermined for him for the first 3 years of his major league service. He signs his contract by playing the games. If they don’t like the contract, they have the choice of not playing.

    I don’t disagree with you there which is why I said in a different thread that Flaherty and perhaps Hicks should just clam it and play.

    #83953
    Brian Walton
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    jager, I am curious what you are seeing in Schrock. He is batting just .194 this spring (seven hits in 36 at-bats). Hard to see how his defense could be good enough to overcome a sub-.200 batting average. He has the double challenge of multiple other infielders already having 40-man spots when he does not.

    The Carlson buzz is greater than it should be – perhaps in part because of the point you made about no one really stepping up this spring. He definitely has promise. The optimist would point out that half his hits went for extra bases, but he has just six in total. He is batting .188 and striking out at a 32% rate with a walk rate of 6%. His defense looks good.

    Along with Edman, the non-roster guy who has probably shown the most this spring is Rangel Ravelo. Coming in, who would have guessed he would be batting .341 and leading the team with seven RBI after 20 games?

    #83957
    BlackHillsCard
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    So Cecil is most likely going to open the season on the IL and this charade of him being a MLB caliber pitcher will continue to the point it will most likely cost St. Louis precious games. And if he somehow manages to stick on the team for the entire season how can the team trust him next season with the 3-batter minimum rule?

    #83959
    Brian Walton
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    BHC, all of that remains to be seen. Let’s revisit when Cecil is actually in a position to cost the Cardinals “precious games”. Worrying about how he might fare in 2020 seems excessively premature.

    #83963
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    thejager
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    Fair points on Schrock, I guess i just seem him as

    When he has been given at least 2ABs in a game (10 games) he has gotten on base in all but 3 of them
    That might not be the greatest stat in the world, but it at least shows his willingness to take a walk and find a way to get on base

    he doesnt hit for power (1st game withstanding) so i dont expect him to all of the sudden be a power hitter, but i do like that he has shown he can get on and play 3b which ws not a part of many people’s thoughts on him

    I like the way Schrock has been playing, i dont want to misconstrue that he is somehow having a great spring, but more that i was looking for someone who has made an impression on me in a positive way and he was one, after his injury last spring and down year with the bat he has come back and shown enough to prove that he is a viable option for the Cards in the near future, and with Wong being an enigma and having injury issues Schrock i think has put himself back in the consideration for a bench or fill in player

    I also agree Ravelo has been a pleasant surprise, and i am sorry i forgot about him…hit 14 hits are far and away the most on the team…unfortunately he really is an emergency guy for the teams future as opposed to a potential key player (unless they let him play OF)

    Edman also impressed as well, i agree on that…

    i just wish someone from the group of big question marks would have stepped up, but really Yadi, Goldy and CArp are the only guys who have shown up….which is great and all, but shoudl be expected…

    Ozuna, Fowler, Bader, Wong, DeJOng…those are the guys that will decide our year…and so far none of them have shown anything other than their status as a question mark

    all it takes is a few big games i think to squelch the concern, but so far none of them have done so

    HRs are the final stat on anything.,..but outside of Carp’s 3 and ONeill’s 4…we have ZERO players with more than 1 HR total

    There are far too many opportunities for big time players to prey on mid to low end opposing pitchers to see this as something to be concerned about

    a 4 hit game for Fowler or Wong…a 5 RBI 2 HR game for OZuna…a 2 hit HR and double game for DeJong… even if they just had one or two good games to show there is somethign there would be helpful and get people excited

    the team has had really only one game as a whole (and it was like the 1st or second game) where the offense showed up and excited people

    i love pitchign as much as the next guy but i can only get so excited about a 4 strikeout inning from HIcks or 8 k Jack outing or a nice inning by Leone or another bounceback Miller outing. They are nice and all, but they do nothign to make me feel better about the hitting

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