Bob Reed

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  • in reply to: Kwang-Hyun Kim signed, Adolis Garcia DFAed #122928
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    Thanks for the link, BHC. Fine article, and I expect an equally fine year from KK — strictly in the Redbird rotation.

    in reply to: Miles Mikolas injury #122862
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    “Cabrera is such a wild card, what are your thoughts on him? Not much offseason info that I can find…. he has the stuff to be a very good SP, or the stuff to be a lights out closer, but the control to be a 5th inning guy.”

    My thoughts on Genesis Cabrera are few, and far from printable at a family website.
    Since coming to the Cardinal organization, he’s had three opportunities to impress. In 2018 in AA he posted an ERA just under 5.00. Ugh. The next year in AAA he had an ERA of nearly 6.00. Blecch. Then the front office saw fit to give him a September callup anyway, and he had an ERA out of the Redbird bullpen of nearly 5.00 again. And reasonable people think he has a shot at the 2020 Opening Day MLB roster?

    Genesis throws hard. He does not throw well. He could become a fine MLB reliever some day — almost any pitching prospect with anything close to Cabrera’s velocity can say the same thing. But he looks to me like a guy who is miles and miles from that destination. And as a starting pitching prospect, well, for me he isn’t one.

    Now, I probably speak as the world’s least optimistic “fan” of Genesis Cabrera. I mean, of course I want very badly for him to succeed with the Cards. But I believe that anyone who has him as a top 10 or 12 Cardinal prospect is kidding themselves. Excellent velocity? You betcha. But on balance he’s been something between ineffective and awful at each stop since joining the organization, and excellent velocity plus two bucks gets you a ride on the city bus.

    in reply to: Miles Mikolas injury #122837
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    “I’m still confused on the Gallen trade from Miami to AZ. Why Miami traded a potential stud, young SP who was already putting up great numbers for Chisholm is still a bit confusing? I understand the value of a star position player over a SP, but Chisholm is far from a sure thing.”

    Agreed, ChiTown. That deal was weird on the face of it.
    All I can figure is, maybe Miami was looking FAR into the future, thinking they won’t compete for another 3 or 4 years at least, and that Chisolm would at that point be entering his early prime, while Gallen would be an arbitration-pay piece of trade bait.

    Or Derek Jeter & Co. looked at Gallen and saw a not particularly imposing specimen of a hurler, a guy without a dominant fastball, and just underestimated his value — not unlike the Cards did when they made him the throw-in for Marcell Ozuna. (Hey, on the bright side at least Mags Sierra didn’t become Willie McGee.) If the Cards can get it wrong when evaluating a twirler, anyone can. Heck, the indisputably brilliant & efficient Dodger front office gave Joe Kelly a ton of dough based on fewer than a dozen innings in October, right?

    in reply to: Miles Mikolas injury #122833
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    “Simba, you might have missed the best one of the bunch?…. Zac Gallen had a 2.81 ERA and 96 K’s in 80 IP last year.”

    Well said, ChiTown. Also, how about Luke Weaver and his 2.94 ERA for Arizona in a dozen starts, with 9.7 K’s per 9 innings and a terrific 5-1 K/BB ratio?

    The StL farm system really has been a pitching factory during the Mozeliak era. Funny thing is, the “signature” guy, the guy who represented at least a bit of a departure from tradition, Shelby Miller, has turned out to be far less than hoped. Thus the Heyward trade looks better with each passing year.

    in reply to: Baseball America Cardinals prospect rankings #122364
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    “I don’t understand how one team can have depth in one category and be weak in another.”

    Here’s one for you, muddy. Theo Epstein is closing in on two decades as a GM, and he’s developed one starting pitcher from scratch, Clay Buccholz, who made his pro debut some 14 years ago.

    And yet, Epstein will quite rightly waltz into the Hall Of Fame one day, because he’s discovered & developed position players as well as any GM of his era. Probably better than any others, in fact.

    ——————————

    Over the long-ish haul I don’t think there’s much luck involved in these matters at all. Dozens and dozens of individuals, thousands upon thousands of man hours every year. I think the luck largely if not entirely washes out over any three or four year period. I think the boring truth is that certain organizations are just better at some things than other things — but of course that’s still a somewhat fluid situation, as the scouts and analysts employed by each organization is ever-shifting.

    It’s a darn good thing that Theo’s minions didn’t get better at developing pitchers when they moved from Boston to Chicago with him. That was my big concern, when the Cubs hired him. But his Red Sox record has proved true, and thus he’s in the same boat now that he was near the very end of his Carmines tenure. Numerous bloated contracts, and nary a pitcher in the pipeline. The Fat Lady is warming up.

    in reply to: Baseball America Cardinals prospect rankings #122277
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    “On the other hand, the Rays have been in the top five in each of the last three years, but not before that in recent years. Then again, what good does ranking well in prospects do if you can’t translate it into MLB success eventually? The Cards haven’t been among BA’s top five systems since 2013.”

    Well said, Brian. It’s all about the majors and how those prospects perform there.
    And considering the Cardinals haven’t been in the BA top 5 since 2013, I’d say their “non-elite” farmhand collections have acquitted themselves rather marvelously at the MLB level. Certainly during their rookie campaigns, at least.

    Here are MLB’s top organizations in rookie WAR over the past five years:
    1) Dodgers 40.2 WAR (That’s Fangraphs WAR.)
    2) Cardinals 36.1
    3) Devil Rays 31.5
    4) Yankees 28.3
    5) Phillies 24.4

    Breaking it down further, the Birds were 2nd in position player WAR behind only LA, and 3rd in pitching behind just Tampa and (surprise!) Milwaukee — the Cards were the only franchise to rank in the top 4 in both bats and arms. Moreover, they would likely have ranked 1st in pitcher WAR had I used Baseball-Reference values instead, as they easily topped MLB rookies in ERA over the last half decade.

    1) Cards 3.55 ERA (Versus a 4.01 FIP.)
    2) Dodgers 3.86
    3T) Indians 4.01
    3T) Tampa 4.01

    ——————————–

    Anyway, following the Arozarena/Liberatore upgrade, 13th is roughly 4-6 spots too low, depending on how much hitter/pitcher balance one prefers in a farm system. If one seeks some sort of Platonic ideal balance, the Cards should be about 9th. Largely indifferent to balance? Then 7th or so.

    But 13th isn’t so radically inaccurate that it’s worth starting a fight over. It’s a below average job of evaluating, but certainly not awful. Not the classic BA BS to which we became accustomed over the past 15-20 years. Without Callis or Manuel, the nonsense quotient there has markedly diminished.

    in reply to: Fangraphs Cardinals Top 34 Prospects #122216
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    I can’t solve that riddle, Black Hills.
    But here’s a neat fact: according to Fangraphs the player who one month ago was the 14th-best prospect for the Cardinals, is now the #107 prospect in all the minors! Here’s the link where Randy Arozarena is the #14 for StL: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board-scouting-and-stats?pos=&lg=2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,12,13,15,16,17,18,30,32,33&stats=bat&qual=0&type=0&team=&season=2018&seasonEnd=2019&draft=2019updated&players=&boardView=0&q=&org=stl&filter=&sort=5,-1

    And here he is, just today, at #107: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2020-top-100-prospects/

    So, with Liberatore replacing Arozarena in the Redbird farm system, the Cards still have 14 of the top 107 prospects. Well, only 13, since Ramon Urias is now a Baltimore Oriole. But still, 13 of the top 107 prospects! Must be a record.

    in reply to: Proposed New MLB playoff format #122212
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    “So the bye teams could possibly not play again until day six, the start of their divisional series. That’s a long wait.”

    An astute observation, jj. And one that no one in the national media seems to be making, at least not very vociferously.

    Under the proposed changes, the Big Reward of having the best record in your league and thus getting a bye and several days off, may not be much of a reward at all. If you have the best record in your league, you are probably a few games clear of the field — so you can already set the rotation for October without any days off at all, or perhaps two or three days at the very most. It’s a thin line between rested and rusted.

    in reply to: Angel Rondon #122205
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    “Thanks Bob, those are very compelling numbers compared to the top 18. Was Kopech still in the top 100? It would seem any time a pitcher has major surgery, he should be dropped from any national list until proven recovered.”

    You’re welcome, 27.
    Kopech isn’t just in the top 100 at Fangraphs. As of a month ago he was in the top 20. Link:https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board-scouting-and-stats?pos=&lg=2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,12,13,15,16,17,18,30,32,33&stats=pit&qual=0&type=0&team=&season=2018&seasonEnd=2019&draft=2019updated&players=&boardView=1&q=&org=&filter=&sort=5,-1

    As you’ll see, Matthew Liberatore is 19th among pitching prospects and 63rd overall. Not bad.

    ————————————————

    And now upon further review, I see that Kopech has been moved up from 20th to 19th for their freshly-minted top 100.

    Matthew Liberatore on the other hand had the misfortune to be traded to the Cardinals, which has moved him from 63rd a month ago to 94th. Imagine that. A month ago, in the dead of winter with nothing going on, he was 63rd overall and 19th among pitchers, and now Liberatore is just 32nd among twirlers and 94th overall. Hmph. Randy Arozarena on the other hand has gone from an irrelevant grade 40, non-top 300 non-prospect a month ago to 107th. Trades seem to help some prospects more than others, huh?

    One thing I will say on behalf of the manifestly crooked and stupid prospect “evaluators” at Fangraphs, they are the first national voices to almost put Ivan Herrera in the top 100. Ivan the Terrific checks in at #105.

    in reply to: Angel Rondon #122157
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    “Some prospects throw harder, but I like Rondon as our 2nd best pitching prospect behind Liberatore. He has decent control and a lot of swing and misses with 3 pitches. Unfortunately the numbers game may have him starting 2020 back in Springfield.”

    I’m with you, C-27. At least regarding the first part.
    Rondon is 2nd only to Liberatore, and maybe deserving an overall top 100 slot. Actually, if forced to make a list, I’d feel compelled to include him. Angel’s Double-A performance* was just too much like the best minor league pitching prospects, for him not to make the list. And his exceptional 2019 durability is a tie-breaker if we need one.

    But as to your second point, I suspect the Cards will prioritize Rondon and get him straight to Memphis, even if it means a 6-man rotation there to start the year.

    ————————————–

    *The following is lifted from an early August thread here. I’m sure the numbers didn’t change much over the final few starts of the season.

    Here are the slashlines permitted this year in AA by some of the very elite pitching prospects in baseball. Beside each pitcher is his age and his current Fangraphs ranking among all pitching prospects.

    Dustin May (21 years old, #3 overall pitching prospect) .237/.297/.330
    Casey Mize (22, #4 pitcher) .226/.274/.322
    Sixto Sanchez (21, #8) .231/.273/.353
    Matt Manning (21, #11) .198/.264/.296
    Ian Anderson (21, #13) .202/.285/.296
    Angel Rondon (21, not top 600) .228/.309/.320

    And as for the aforementioned durability matter, Rondon logged 160 innings in 2019. And here are the (rounded off) career-best innings totals for the top 18 pitching prospects, per Fangraphs:

    F. Whitley 90
    L. Patino 95
    M. Gore 100
    N. Pearson 100
    J. Luzardo 110
    C. Mize 110
    D. Garcia 110
    S. Howard 110
    Sixto Sanchez 115
    B. McKay 120
    A. Puk 125
    M. Manning 135
    L. Gilbert 135
    I. Anderson 135
    M. Kopech 140
    D. May 140
    K. Wright 145
    M. Keller 150

    in reply to: Proposed New MLB playoff format #122140
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    “Considering that adding two more teams gives a significant chance of a team with a losing record making the playoffs…”

    The actual data presented on page 2 of this thread indicates that had the extra wild card been in place the last 19 years, just four of the 38 extra wild card teams would have had a losing record. That is not very significant to me.

    ————————————

    That’s a fair rebuttal, Brian. However, I would say that 4 is 4 too many for sure, especially if one of them is the Cubs. One of them wasn’t the Cubs, was it? We don’t need the Cubs in the playoffs any more than necessary — I’m sure we can all agree upon that.

    Meager levity attempts aside, I look at it this way. I only want “good teams” to make the playoffs, in any sport. The playoffs are a reward for playing well, is partly how I look at the postseason. And I know this is absolutely subjective, but as far as MLB is concerned I define a good team as one that finishes at least 10 games over .500. (A “very good” team is 20 over, and a “great” team would be 30 over.)

    And by those standards I saw roughly 30 “non-good” teams making the playoffs from 2000-2019 per that chart on page 2 of this thread. Call me Killjoy, but that’s not how I prefer the playoffs to go.

    Here’s a thought. Everyone who was asking for expanded MLB playoffs a week ago, raise your hand. That’s what I thought. Nobody was asking for this.

    Now, some people will reject anything new, because they are highly uncomfortable with change. Which is why it’s generally constructive to flesh out one’s views civilly with those of differing opinions. (At least it used to be, before the internet debased dialogues so severely. Stupid internet.)

    But a certain substantial percentage of people will embrace whatever is new, for one of two reasons.
    (1) To be argumentative toward people they dislike, regardless of the merits of the new thing.
    (2) Because they believe that whatever is newer is intrinsically better than status quo.

    So far, both at this website and in the national discourse, I’ve seen plenty of stubborn codgers like myself resisting change — but unfortunately I’ve seen many more who suffer from afflictions (1) and (2).

    in reply to: Proposed New MLB playoff format #122123
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    And I’ve heard the “it will cheapen the regular season” argument in every sport every time an expansion of playoffs happens. It never does.

    To me it has. I can’t tell you the last time I watched a regular season NBA game because it doesn’t matter who wins. I will watch the NBA playoffs though.
    I am sure I will still watch a lot of regular season MLB games because I love baseball but I still feel that the regular season will have been cheapened.

    ——————————

    I share your regular season ennui, GScott. I don’t watch either of the NHL or NBA regular seasons, with rare exception. I just check the standings now and then.

    If I’m Bill DeWitt, and I know I can pocket an “extra” 30 or 40 or 50 million bucks and still make the playoffs by winning 84, 85 games — and that I gain effectively nothing by winning my division, not even avoiding the idiotic one-game play-in — then why would I even try to win much more than those 84 or 85 games?

    I want to watch very good baseball, for six months, every year. This format would significantly de-incentivize Redbird owners, and all other owners, from trying to provide that quality of baseball. This isn’t a matter of greed per se; it would only be rational of them to pocket the tens of millions, and settle for the October crapshoot.

    But lastly, just on general principle, I don’t want crap teams in the playoffs — in any sport. And until now baseball has pretty much managed to avoid that. With this new format, they would be embracing the crap.

    ————————————–

    If Manfred needs more revenue, just expand the current wildcard to best-of-three. But incentivize
    winning the division by “punishing” the wildcard participants with a doubleheader on the Monday
    immediately following the regular season. This way, roster depth, esp. pitching depth, is rewarded in
    October, just like it should be. Plus, the lesser wildcard team has to play all three on the road.

    And if Manfred wants more interest, more excitement for the fans, then deaden the baseball back to
    normalcy so we get more doubles & triples, and fewer homers. Doubles & triples are fun! Fielders run
    hard and make strong throws! Batters break fast from the batter’s box, and fans stand up to see the action! What happens on a homer? Nothing. People stand still, or walk, or trot, or flip a bat. Ho hum.

    in reply to: What do they do with Tommy Edman if —— #121988
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    “Bob, what are your thoughts on wRC+ for minor leaguers since it’s only adjusted for league and not park? Personally I’ve been skimming stats and figure that AutoZone Park is about a 7-10% handicap for the Memphis group, Springfield is roughly neutral and both A ball affiliates are similar to the Memphis figures. Any thoughts?

    “That would make Edman more of a 115-118 ‘true’ wRC+ guy in A+ and AAA, which means he could be a 105-110 wRC+ guy in St Louis. As you know, with his good glove and base running skills, that’s a 3ish win or better player, which I think we’d all be happy with.”

    Fair points, card25. (And as for total value, I do believe that Tommy will be worth 2.5 to 3 WAR per 600 plate appearances going forward, as long as he doesn’t behave self-destructively over-aggressive on the basepaths in an attempt to compensate for hitting disappointments, a la the 2019 version of Harry Bader.) As for the rest of it, I recall that Edman was actually better at home than on the road in 2018, but held back some by Memphis in 2019.

    So yes, I could be talked into a slightly higher upside for Tommy’s bat. (I definitely don’t think he’ll ever have a dismal OPS+ in the 60’s, as Terry Pendleton did three times for the Cards.) But I can’t help thinking that Edman’s 2019 power breakthrough was in large part fueled by the new Superball baseballs in both AAA and the majors — he exploded from 34 extra base knocks in 518 AB’s in 2018, to 58 in 523 AB’s.

    It’s sure easy to fall in love with Edman. There’s speed, blossoming pop, the roster flexibility that a multi-position switch-hitter provides. (Flexibility that’s forfeited however if he’s made a regular one-position starter.) And there are two relatively substantive reasons to think the 2019 power surge is in fact real, or mostly so. (1)Edman is finally overcoming the punchless “Stanford Swing” indoctrination; and (2)power is the last tool to develop.

    —————————–

    So again, it’s very seductive. But I still don’t buy it.
    Stephen Piscotty was also a Stanford guy, and had the same surprising MLB debut with the bat. I convinced myself then that maybe Piscotty was the very, very, very rare guy who would hit better in the majors than the minors, despite his never being young for his minor league level, and not possessing superior plate discipline.

    Like Roger Daltrey, I will not be fooled again.

    in reply to: Proposed New MLB playoff format #121985
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    “Goodness, how about we water things down some more? I already hate having 5 teams from each league. In what world would two more teams be worthy of a shot at a title after 150+ games??”

    I’m with you all the way, card25.

    So MLB wants to be more like the NHL and NBA, huh? If the NBA playoffs began today, the Orlando Magic would qualify for the postseason. With 3 games to spare, mind you.

    The (bleeping) Orlando (bleeping) Magic are 23-31, folks. And THIS is what Manfred & friends want to emulate?

    I hate this 14-team playoff idea more than I hate Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Lance Armstrong, and Duke basketball, combined.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by AvatarBob Reed.
    in reply to: What do they do with Tommy Edman if —— #121965
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    How do you mean, Rat? Who else, in what way?

    in reply to: What do they do with Tommy Edman if —— #121955
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    History Lesson. Some years ago another switch-hitting Redbird rookie in his age 23/24 season advanced to the majors and out-performed his minor league track record by a substantial margin. This rookie posted a 118 wRC+ and a higher OPS in the majors than he had in AAA the same season. It smelled like a fluke, and it was.

    Over the next 8 seasons he had a mere 95 wRC+, a far cry from 118 and a big disappointment for those expecting a quality MLB batter. BUT here’s the thing. His defense/baserunning were so good, that he still accumulated 24 WAR during those 8 “disappointing” years.

    If you haven’t guessed, that player was Terry Pendleton.

    ————————————–

    I like Tommy Edman a lot, and have ever since I saw him in Peoria a few years back. He was on third base, and took an aggressive leadoff. The next pitch bounced in, and squirted no more than 15 feet away from the catcher — but Edman got such a good lead and such a great jump toward home plate, that he scored standing up. Fast, alert, aggressive. Who wouldn’t like that?

    But much like Pendleton 35 years earlier, Tommy is not a hitter like he showed under the Arch last year.

    Here are his wRC+ numbers at each minor league stop where he was age-appropriate (100 being league average of course).

    2017 in High-A 106
    2018 in Double-A 108
    2019 in Triple-A 108

    With okay play discipline at each stop, but nothing special. And then he had a 123 for the Cardinals. He’s not going to do that again, and probably not coming close. BUT he should be a roughly league average hitter for the foreseeable future, and thanks to his defense & baserunning & versatility, that makes him a big part of the Cardinals’ future. Maybe as a utilityman forever, or maybe as Kolten Wong’s successor in two years, we’ll see.

    Now, let it be said that Pendleton did have a pair of monster seasons for the Braves, many years after that surprising rookie campaign. And I wouldn’t rule out Tommy morphing into a .280, 20 HR guy eventually. Say in his late 20’s. But we shouldn’t hold out hope for that, or expect anything like 2019 again any time soon. It’s not impossible, but it’s highly unlikely.

    in reply to: How disappointing is Harrison Bader? #121041
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    I’d like to put Harry Bader’s sub-mediocre hitting into a context, alongside some other well-known centerfield flycatchers.

    Entering his age 25 season, Harrison Bader has a career wRC+ of 92, in 925 plate appearances.

    Entering his age 25 season, Curt Flood had a career wRC+ of 91 across 2,215 plate appearances.

    Entering his age 25 season, Terry Moore had a career wRC+ of just 81, in 1,607 PA’s.

    And lastly, late bloomer Lorenzo Cain, entering his age 28 season, had a career wRC+ of 90.

    —————————————–

    Yeah, it’s frustrating to watch a guy fail at the plate. But in general the smart managers stick with the great defenders, and hope the hitting comes around.

    Or think of it this way. (Digression Alert!) As everyone here knows, the highly successful 1980’s Cardinals are being celebrated with a documentary on the MLB Network right now. Let’s take a quick look at exactly how successful they were, and maybe more importantly how their success was achieved.

    From 1982-1987, the Cards led the N.L. in regular season victories (4th overall in MLB), and of course captured a trio of pennants. Pretty dominant, right? But they averaged a surprisingly modest 88 wins over those exciting six seasons. On the other hand they’ve averaged 89 wins in the 24 years of DeWitt ownership, which is 2nd in the N.L. to the Braves, and also 4th in all of MLB. So in terms of regular season success, the entire 24 years of DeWitt ownership matches almost precisely the best 6-year stretch of Whiteyball. Yeah, it surprised me too.

    Let’s dig into the details. Last year the mucho-maligned Cardinal batters had a cumulative 95 wRC+, which was ranked 15th in the majors. Well, from 1982-1987 they posted a 92 wRC+. Only four MLB teams were worse.

    But of course, what made the ’82-’87 team so successful was they had the best defense and best baserunning in the sport. And whaddayaknow, the current iteration excels in both also, albeit not quite to the same degree. (In 2019, per Fangraphs the Birds had the 4th-best defense and 2nd-best baserunning in all of baseball.)

    So the Cards right now are winning now in much the same way that they did in the Whiteyball Era! The problem with the current Cards, is the same as the problem for pretty much all teams. Which is that batting averages are so low now, and doubles & triples so minimized, that the game is — to many fans, sometimes even those of winning teams — less aesthetically pleasing than in some seasons past. Like the Birds in the 1980’s.

    Anyway, anyone who waxes rhapsodic about the 1980’s Redbirds, or fondly recalls Curt Flood or Terry Moore, should be embracing Harry Bader. Because he’s exactly that kind of player.

    in reply to: Houston Astros Stealing Signs #119876
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    “The funny thing is that the effect that mudville describes sounds a lot more like the effect that greenies gave to players for decades. But we will never criticize those guys, because ‘amphetamines aren’t nearly as helpful as steroids.'”

    ————————–

    We’ve been over this ground, tripleshy. Two months ago on this very thread.

    Greenies were banned in April of 1971, just like anabolic steroids without a proper prescription. Anyone taking greenies before that (Mickey Mantle, et. al.) was NOT violating MLB’s Drug Policy. Anyone who used greenies after April 1971 would have been in violation of MLB’s formal drug policy.

    And I have no doubt that some ballplayers still chose to violate that policy — because of human nature being a flawed thing. There are liars and cheats and thieves in every single occupation, every social strata. But two months ago, your claim was that numerous players were taking greenies AFTER the ban of 1971. Specifically, you offered this:

    “Bob, they (amphetamines) were commonplace in baseball throughout the 90’s, and the nineties use was less than the 80’s. And the 80’s less than the 70’s. And if my elders are to be believed, the 70’s were their peak (into the early 80’s).”

    I don’t know who you referenced by citing your “elders,” but I invited you then, and invite you now, to provide one article, one link to any scrap of concrete evidence, or even anecdotal ex-player confessorial evidence, of the “commonplace” use of greenies at any point AFTER the ban by Bowie Kuhn in 1971. You provided no evidence then, and now two more months have passed.

    If I’m ignorant or naïve, then please enlighten me. Enlighten all of us.

    in reply to: Austin Dean acquired #119731
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    The splits I got for Austin Dean differed a bit from Pads’, with Dean batting a tremendous .377 and slugging .682 against minor league southpaws over the past two years (57-151 with 103 total bases).

    Also, one other thing. His New Orleans home park didn’t do him any favors in 2019, as his road batting average was a gaudy .361 with a .677 slugging percentage. Now, we should bear in mind of course that he was old for his leagues, and furthermore the juiced ball was introduced to AAA in 2019.

    But still, you can see how the Cards would want him competing with Ravelo and others for that 26th man slot. (My concern on the other hand is that for a year and a half we’ve watched the current manager give excessive playing time to bad-fielding flycatchers, and overuse at least one guy who really should have been a straight platoon player. Austin Dean may bring out the worst impulses of the manager — starting the better hitter while benching the better overall ballplayer.)

    in reply to: Fangraphs Cardinals Top 34 Prospects #119721
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    Longenhagen publicly admitted a couple of years ago that he had fewer contacts within the St. Louis organization than any other team in the majors. And it shows.

    There is so much awfulness of logic and outright misinformation within their Redbird rankings as to render them more or less useless. (The Diowill Burgos at #11 has to be a gag, though. Something to try and get under the skin of Cardinal fans — for whom Longenhagen has expressed his contempt in the past.)

    McDaniel and Longenhagen are terrible. But hey, don’t take my word. Just go back and check their lists from the past couple of years and the weak inaccurate grades they gave DeJong & Bader & Flaherty & Hudson & Hicks & Edman & Carson Kelly & Zac Gallen & Sandy Alcantara & Luke Weaver & on and on. They’ve broken new ground with Angel Rondon, though. It’s as if they literally do not know who he is, his age, or where and how well he’s pitched over his career.

    in reply to: Austin Dean acquired #119577
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    I had Burgos in the 45-55 range among Redbird farmhands. He killed the DSL at age 18, which due to his age may or may not be meaningful. The club knew that it may or may not be meaningful, so they promoted him to a tougher and somewhat more age-appropriate level of competition, the Gulf Coast League.

    In the Gulf Coast League Burgos struck out 30% of the time and batted .205. Not only is that a poor performance, but a very high strikeout rate for a rookieball batter who is NOT young for his league, is generally a terrible sign going forward. (I cannot explain the Fangraphs ranking. McDaniel and Longenhagen must have been dropped on their heads as infants. Repeatedly.)

    Almost any young guy can theoretically turn out to be a major leaguer. But I wouldn’t do any hand-wringing over the loss of Diowill. And I think most people at this board know by now that I tend toward optimism when it comes to Cardinal farmhands. I’m assuming Austin Dean is basically Triple-A backfill, for Rangel Ravelo when Ravelo makes the 26-man roster on Opening Day.

    in reply to: Nolan Arenado trade thread #119562
    AvatarBob Reed
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    “Bob, I think you are close but it will take a little more than that.
    I would say Carp+$8M/yr, O’Neill, Knizner, Oviedo and Cabrera.”

    I’d do that one, gscott. Provided Arenado is waiving the opt-out. I don’t like a 7-year commitment, but I strongly prefer it to just 2 years. Then pray he’ll age like Brooks Robinson or Adrian Beltre, not David Wright or Eric Chavez.

    What I would not do, is include Dakota Hudson under any circumstances. Not if Colorado took Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler’s full contracts in the deal and shipped half the Rocky Mountains to St. Louis. Nada, no way. Hudson has had four straight years of elite pitching performance and laudable health. Jack & Dak should be a 1-2 rotation punch for the next half decade.

    ————————————-

    As for the comparisons to the Stanton trade, well I don’t see the situations as equivalent. Similar, of course. But different, too. The Marlins were clearly desperate to separate themselves from that massive Stanton contract. The situation was a public organizational embarrassment, as the fish sought to gut their talent base — and of course Ozuna and Yelich were soon to follow. And Miami had very limited trade latitude, with Stanton dictating his destination of course.

    This does not have quite the same vibe. Arenado does not have to be moved, and it does not have to be one of 3 or 4 teams. But maybe most importantly, Miami was in my opinion an even more directionless organization than Colorado. (Or plain dumber if you prefer. Look what little they got for Yelich. Ugh.)

    The Stanton/Arenado cases are similar only in the most general way. The particulars feel substantially different to me. And again, we cannot expect to fleece the Rockies like the Yanks did the Marlins — assuming obviously that Stanton returns to being a star.

    in reply to: Nolan Arenado trade thread #119491
    AvatarBob Reed
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    “So Bob, let me get this straight:
    You think the Cardinals would trade for Arenado who makes $35M/Year and would also part of Marp’s contract if he waves his NTC?”

    Honestly, I don’t know, BHC. Some teams are more obstinate than others when it comes to “eating” player salary. I only know that I would be willing to give my stamp of approval to my above-suggest swap: Arenado for Carp, Knizner, O’Neill and a non-elite non-MLB pitcher. And yes, $4-6M paydown on Carpenter’s contract. At least for the 2020 season.

    So, Colorado saves a couple hundred million overall, and roughly $20M for 2020, and the gap between Arenado & Carpenter is at least potentially counterbalanced by the dual upgrades at catcher and corner outfield. (Rockies are currently an astonishing half a win below replacement level in left field, per Fangraphs depth charts.)

    But let’s hash this out in some detail. Let’s try and think like Mozeliak. How about this. The Cards are going to have to give Arenado something in dollars and cents to get him to drop the opt-out. (That’s by rule. Part of the CBA.) So let’s say that they add on a year to the end of his deal, at $30M. That’s a pretty nice sweetener, I would think.

    But in so doing, the Cardinals also request that Arenado re-structure the first couple of years (2020 & 2021) reducing his salary by $6M per year, and then redistributing that $12M evenly over the final six years of his contract. The Birds have a LOT of player payroll coming off the books after 2021, so this feels like a fiscal fit to me.

    I don’t know how much Arenado would like to join his good friend Goldschmidt on an annually competitive team. Maybe he’s getting pretty excited about the prospect. Or maybe instead he adores Denver and hates humidity, I dunno. But I think this might be a time to get creative.

    in reply to: How disappointing is Harrison Bader? #119489
    AvatarBob Reed
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    “Bader is a bust like most prospects. Only a handful make it big (Pujols, Molina, Flaherty and a very few others). He’s just another flop.”

    Excerpted from the top of the thread:

    Paul DeJong 4.0 WAR per 600 plate appearances for his career so far.
    Yadi Molina 3.7 WAR
    Harrison Bader 3.7 WAR
    Matt Carpenter 3.5 WAR
    Derek Jeter 3.4 WAR

    I have neither the energy nor inclination to try and distinguish which people on the internet are sincere in their statements and which ones are not. So this post exists mostly to reiterate blandly & succinctly the initial point, i.e., that Bader so far for his MLB career as a whole has been much nearer a borderline star than a bust.

    —————————

    “…who is to say that one of the other candidates cannot deliver as much or more WAR while being a better balanced player?”

    That’s a good question, Brain, and raises another one. Is a “balanced” 3-WAR player more valuable than an imbalanced one? I think the answer is: only under very specific circumstances. Like, say the Cardinals had a pair of corner outfielders with really excellent range. Then Bader’s defensive value in center might be slightly diminished.

    Similarly, if the Birds had a seriously groundball-centric rotation, then infield defense becomes more important than outfield range, and thus Bader is less valuable. Makes perfect sense, right?
    But here’s the thing. Bader’s defensive numbers have been fantastic so far for his career despite the Cards having the most groundball-heavy rotation in the majors over the past two years. Link: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=sta&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2019&month=0&season1=2018&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2018-01-01&enddate=2019-12-31&sort=13,d

    Given my druthers, I want the best up-the-middle defenders I can get — as long as the player’s overall value doesn’t dip below 2.5 – 3 WAR per full season. I can’t help feeling that it’s better for the pitching staff, both effectiveness and morale. So get the bigger boppers for the corners, hopefully without sacrificing too much glovework either. (By the way, “Brain” was an intentional typo. In honor of the late Harry Dean Stanton.)

    in reply to: Nolan Arenado trade thread #119454
    AvatarBob Reed
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    “I will repeat what I have asked before. Why do we think the Rockies would want Carpenter (or Fowler, if you please)? (I get why it is good for the Cardinals, so no need to explain that.) In the vernacular of this discussion, the Rockies have all the leverage.”

    Just spitballing here. If the Rockies believe Carpenter will bounce back to a roughly 3 WAR player in 2020 and 2-2.5 WAR in 2021, and the Cards are willing to eat some of his contract, then there would be some appeal there. Trading Arenado straight up for prospects means the Rockies have an immediate dropoff of 5-6 wins from the hot corner. With Carpenter in the deal the dropoff might be far less precipitous.

    As for leverage, I can’t speak to how motivated the Rockies are. But if Colorado wants very much to divorce itself from a nearly quarter billion dollar commitment, while making their team stronger beginning in 2021 or 2022 than they would be by simply hanging on to Arenado and doing nothing, then Arenado for Carp + Knizner + O’Neill + a pitching prospect might very well get the job done. And it works for the Cards, as they continue to trade from depth — in this case both outfield and catcher.

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