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First, thanks for the very generous words, everyone. Your checks are in the mail. I mean, your bitcoins are in the cloud.
I wanted to talk about more than Dylan Carlson in this post, but I didn’t realize exactly how many other outfielders were misguidedly ranked ahead of him on the MLB.com and Fangraphs lists. There’s a lot to go over, and I’d honestly like to keep this a manageable length. So today, just Carlson. (Dylan by the way is ranked 95th and 100th at MLB.com and Fangraphs, respectively.)
Between the pair of aforementioned prospect lists, there are 25 different outfielders rated better than Dylan Carlson. I’ll start by acknowledging the ones who truly are worthy of such a distinction. These are the guys I would absolutely trade Dylan Carlson for straight-up.
Jo Adell. Half a year younger than Carlson and appears plenty ready for Triple-A. Adell has hit at every level since being drafted in 2017, and likely has more defensive/baserunning value than Carlson. Injured this year and last, his inconsistent health is at least a mild concern going forward. He’s 27-for-32 stealing bases, with 28 homers, 12 triples, and 51 doubles in 166 pro games. Big guy, great athlete, reminiscent of a young Matt Kemp — who I rated 50 spots better than Baseball America when he was a prospect, by the way. You know what they didn’t like about Kemp? Sixth round pick.
Kyle Tucker. Flopped in the majors at age 21 last year, but he was in the majors at age 21 last year. Age 21, in the majors. (As Carson Kelly is re-teaching everyone right now for the umpteenth time, we should 99% ignore miniscule samples for young MLB players, and trust the track record.) Tucker is raking in AAA right now, just as he did in 2018. Similar skillset to Carlson but with more consistent dominance on his resume. Reminds me of Shawn Green in many ways. Beauuutiful swing.
Heliot Ramos. One level lower than Carlson & one year younger, and absolutely murdering the baseball with a 177 wRC+. Slaughtered the Arizona League in similar fashion at age 17, before holding his own in the South Atlantic League last year. He’s just 2-for-7 stealing and has no triples this year, and available public metrics make him a poor center fielder, so I’m assuming he’ll contribute the same or less than Carlson on the bases and afield. Slight worries over 25-30% strikeout rates.
Cristian Pache. Born within weeks of Carlson, his defensive reputation is elite, almost surely the best of all minor league guys who can also hit. And he is really hitting in Double-A this year. When you think Pache, think prime Michael Bourn with pop. Or think Harrison Bader for that matter. But the precocious Pache could be better than both. He won’t steal bases like Bourn (his baserunning overall has been surprisingly poor for the past two years), but his burgeoning power far surpasses anything Bourn could ever do. Not that I would ever, ever be tempted to brag, but I had Pache in the overall top 50 back while he was going homerless in 400+ at-bats in A-ball at age 18. That’s how much I loved his defense, and valued his age-relative-to-league. No one else had him even in a top 100 until a year later.
So those are the four outfielders distinctly better than Dylan Carlson. Now I’ll just rattle off the guys who are ranked above him, but are in fact obviously and objectively worse prospects — and why. I’d rather not use their names because it feels mean, sorta belittling them. Of course, I wouldn’t mind using names if any of them were Cubs. But they’re not, so I won’t.
Outfielder #1 is 24 years old and has never batted even .250 and he’s had an OPS over .700 just once. He is currently hitting .178 in AAA and striking out 44% of the time. Probably playing through injury…but even tossing out this season, the overall track record is absurdly worse than Carlson’s in pretty much every way. Can you guess why on earth he’s ranked above Carlson? That’s right, super high draft pick way back in the day.
Number two is more than three years older than Dylan Carlson, and playing in Triple-A right now. When he was in Double-A last year, he batted .240, slugged under .400, and struck out 215 times in a five-month season. No, I’m not making this stuff up.
Outfielders three and four should be lumped together, as they are adjacent on the Fangraphs list — 48 and 49 spots better than Dylan Carlson — and have much in common. (With each other, not with Carlson.) They share the same organization, both are batting under .240, and both have a lot less power than Dylan Carlson. Oh, and they also strike out much more often than Carlson.
So you have two players, both at a lower level than Carlson and playing much much worse than Carlson (.637 and .647 OPS this year), and, amazingly, they’re both also older than Carlson. One of them by more than a year. It is silly and frankly stupid that they would even be in the same conversation with Carlson, much less ranked above him. And by nearly fifty spots.
Number five is the same age as Carlson, playing in High-A, and has an OPS of .745. This is his career best OPS, in four pro seasons. Any other details are unnecessary.
Outfielder #6 is slightly older than Carlson, and posting a .747 OPS in high-A while whiffing 30% of the time and also drawing fewer walks than Carlson. So he’s older than Dylan, he’s markedly worse, he’s at a lower level, and he has a huge plate discipline red flag. Other than that, he’s got a lot going for him.
I’m going to stop here because I would HATE to have the computer go goofy and lose what I’ve toiled oh-so-diligently to present thus far. Forgive me. I’ll wrap this up tomorrow at some point. But I suspect that the picture is getting pretty clear already — many players who have no business shining Carlson’s spikes are being ranked ahead of him by “professional” prospect evaluators. There are several more such players to come tomorrow.
The fun part will be the final part: parsing out the guys who are neither clearly better than nor clearly behind Carlson. Guys like Drew Waters or Julio Rodriguez for example. Anyway, ‘night all.
“Bob, just curious… what present prospects do you think are undervalued? How about a few to prove that they are better than let’s say 20th. Maybe you are something that other Card fans aren’t recognizing.
Here I’ll help you get started…. Carlson.”
Sure thing, Ny.
I’ll throw together a post late tonight, wherein a few Redbird prospects — including Dylan Carlson of course — are directly compared & contrasted to some much higher-rated prospects from other organizations.
I will try not to be too long-winded. I will almost certainly fail.
Thanks so much for the ongoing updates, BlackHills. Very fine work, sir.
By my math the Cards have about half a million in extra dough before incurring penalties, and two highly rated high schoolers — both around #100 pre-draft, per MLB.com — to try and buy away from college commitments. So they could offer McFarlane (25th round) or Newell (37th) middle of the 3rd round money (roughly $620,000).
Or they could offer each of them just under $400,000 (4th/5th round bonus range). But I doubt that would be enough to get either one. Probably want to use each draftee as implicit or explicit leverage against the other, i.e., “first guy to sign gets the six hundred grand.” I don’t know which one I prefer, but I’d bet they ink one of them.
And that’s not counting any additional bonus money saved once Ralston is signed. There should be something fairly substantial there I’d guess, since he’s a senior.
Paul DeJong is now 1st all-time in opponent’s slugging against the Mets (min. 75 AB’s) with a .789 slg. %
Second is Stan Musial. (Not second among Cardinals, second among everyone.) This shouldn’t be too surprising since Stan was one of the best hitters in history — until we consider that the Mets were founded when The Man was 41 years old.
At age 41 & 42, Musial did this versus the Mets: .405/.515/.684 with 20 walks and 5 strikeouts in 101 PA’s.
“A final study compared the major league performance of The Cardinal Nation top 30 to that of Baseball America’s Cardinal top 30. Our top 30 has consistently outperformed the BA top 30 and the margin has been increasing over the last few years. The MLB top 30 is probably even weaker. I don’t have that data but I have noticed not only the good players they miss but maybe more important who they include.”
That last point is a particularly insightful one, Sooner. The mainstream guys (and nobody is more mainstream than Callis/Mayo at MLB.com) not infrequently cling to stale draft-based and signing bonus-based rankings of prospects for years before adjusting to the realities of on-field professional performance.
Draft slots and signing bonuses are like security blankets to these guys. When ranking prospects, they seemingly cannot survive emotionally without these touchstones. They are all flooded with knowledge and bereft of wisdom. They do not understand this essential fact: signing bonuses and draft positions can only represent perceived talent, as opposed to actual talent. Actual talent only and always reveals itself between the lines.
Signing bonuses and draft spots simply do not matter once a player’s professional career commences. Among other innumerable errors, fixating on signing bonuses and draft spots kept future superstars like Jose Altuve and Paul Goldschmidt entirely off of every top 100 list despite the fact that they were tearing up pro baseball.
“I have no idea what the criteria is but things are changing for our farm system and there shouldn’t be too many who would place them higher than 20… at best.”
I strongly disagree, Ny, and here’s my straightforward supporting argument.
I would encourage you to go back and check the very recent track record of whomever it is that you want to cite as a farm systems expert. Please check any organization or individual who ranks prospects, and see where they ranked Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader and Dakota Hudson. It’s too soon to say much about Hudson, other than he’s pitching great lately and he is clearly NOT a reliever, as incorrectly forecast by numerous sources like Fangraphs, Keith Law, et. al.
DeJong and Bader, however, we don’t need to wait to evaluate. They have combined for 14.0 WAR in just over 1,900 plate appearances, per Fangraphs. In other words, they are providing star-level production. They are stars.
According to every single professional prognosticator they were “possible bench contributors” or maybe “platoon players.” Instead they are stars, according to Fangraphs. (And Baseball-reference values them even higher than Fangraphs.)
I am not praising the farm system out of some misguided directionless homerism, Ny. I daresay that almost nobody here is more negative than I about the front office, the manager, and the general direction of the franchise right now.
I am so (bleeping) negative that I’m boycotting even discussing any aspect of the MLB team until the manager is fired or front office overhauled. My blood boils just thinking about the blunders of the past few years. This organization hasn’t shot itself in the foot. It’s shot itself in the face.
But the Redbird farm is distinctly above average, led by the quintet of top 100 types cited in the earlier post. Take it from the only person on the planet who had Bader in his top 50 prospects for two years running before he hit the majors.
In retrospect I was actually 20-30 spots too low on Harry, and like everyone else I was far, far too low on DeJong. And I may have been too high on Elehuris Montero at #40 before the year started. But that’s what a good evaluator does — he’s too high on some and too low on others, in relatively equal measure. As opposed to the national voices who are almost never too high on any Cardinal prospect. And frequently too low on many of them.
And that’s how we know they are incompetent at evaluating them. In fact it’s the definition of incompetence, or a severely debilitating bias if you prefer.
“I am no prospect expert but I have a hard time believing our minor league system is 25th best.”
“That’s probably because guys like Dylan Carlson and Montero are either not ranked, or barely ranked, anywhere. I guess that Carlson raking as a 20-year-old at AA and Montero’s destruction of A ball as a 19-year-old last year don’t count for much. As mentioned, raters don’t give Cardinals prospects much respect most of the time.”
Yeah, gscott and scard-25, you guys are both correct of course. The reality is, the farm is roughly 10th-best right now. I could see them reasonably ranked as high as 8th or as low as 13th, depending on how the newly minted draftees and rookieballers play over the next seven weeks.
No super-elite top 20 overall prospect types, but five easy top 100 talents (Gorman, Carlson, Herrera, Montero, Knizner), three more definite top 150 prospects (Nunez, Rodriguez, Z. Thompson) and also better than average top 500 depth. (I count 22-24 top 500 types without even considering any DSL players. And two or three of those look promising in the [very] early going.)
Have I mentioned in the past ten minutes that the mainstream professional prospect rankers are the ones who never had Albert Pujols in their top 40, and never had Yadi Molina or Dan Haren in a top 100? Or Paul DeJong or Coco Crisp or Dakota Hudson or Matt Carpenter or David Freese or Harry Bader or Jack Wilson or Lance Lynn or, or, or….
But here’s the thing: it’s not just the fact that they weren’t in the top 100. That’s only half of the problem. The other half is that in most cases they were not anywhere close.
Trust the performances more than the pundits and you’ll be right faaar more often than wrong. And the Cards are getting exciting performances from several minor league individuals so far this year — with much more to come in the GCL and Appy Leagues, I have a feeling.
The Cardinal farm is severely slanted toward hitters right now, and somewhat slanted toward teens in the lower minors. So it superficially doesn’t look as strong as it is. (Just like how 12 months ago Dylan Carlson didn’t look like anything special to the mainstream prospect evaluators. Simply put, they gave him not nearly enough credit for his youthfulness.) But kids grow up, and some become regulars, and a few even blossom into stars.
I feel like I’m shaking my fist at a cloud yet again, but for heaven’s sake haven’t we seen enough radically underrated Redbird prospects over the past 2, 5, 10, 20 years to finally at long last come to the irrefutable realization that we should not listen to Baseball America or Keith Law or Bleacher Report or MLB Pipeline or Fangraphs or Baseball Prospectus or any of these people? Because each and every one of them, without exception, has an established track record of incompetence re St. Louis prospects. (Well, I don’t know what Bleacher Report’s record is, or if they even have one, but they certainly do not know what they’re talking about right now.) It’s a tough chore, but just ignore them.
Or maybe this is a better idea: When any of the above prospect “gurus” rank a Redbird player — or the farm system as a whole — just cut the number in half. If they rate Carlson 80th, just assume he should be 40th. If the club ranks 22nd, re-rank them 11th.
You’ll instantly be a better evaluator of Cardinal prospects than all of those so-called professionals.
“Jesus Cruz gives up 5 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks and Memphis’s lead evaporated. Why is Cruz still in Memphis? He’s been awful since his promotion.”
It certainly feels like he’s been bad ever since the promotion to Memphis, but he was tremendous for the first few weeks there. Now he’s hurt (or at least somehow physically compromised) and he’s not telling anyone — I have zero doubt. Check these numbers, they’re crazy.
First 8 appearances in AAA: 8 2/3 IP, 16 K’s and just 2 walks. Only 3 hits allowed, and no runs, earned or otherwise. For those few weeks in Memphis he was as dominant as any minor league pitcher at any level of any organization this year. Three strikeouts for every baserunner permitted — that nearly never happens.
Then he pitched on May 6th & 7th, throwing 17 pitches the first night and 21 the second night. He was shelled in game two, and has been knocked around over and over and over ever since.
Counting the games of May 6th & 7th, his next 14 appearances have yielded these horrific results:
13 IP, 40 baserunners, 27 runs (25 earned), and a frightening 17/19 K/BB tally.
This is not a league adjusting to a pitcher, or even someone who’s tipping every single pitch. This is almost surely an injured guy who can’t throw the ball where he wants, at all.
I agree, BHC, that Jesus Cruz shouldn’t be pitching for Memphis. He shouldn’t be pitching for anyone right now. Not until after he gets diagnosed, and then gets repaired or rested enough to get back to what he was six weeks ago.
Thanks much for the updates, Black Hills.
Just a quick addendum to my earlier remarks. Here are the top 10 career WAR totals per Baseball Reference.com of college players drafted after the first round during the Mo years:
1) Matt Carpenter (13th round) 26.5 WAR
2) Paul DeJong (4th) 9.4
3) Matt Adams (23rd) 5.8
4) Joe Kelly (3rd) 5.6
5) Harry Bader (3rd) 5.1
6) Greg Garcia (7th) 3.8
7) Luke Voit (22nd) 2.8
8) Sam Freeman (32nd) 2.7
9) Seth Maness (11th) 2.1
10) Kyle Bearclaw (7th) 2.0
I’d have Thompson in the 6-8 range alongside Malcom Nunez & Julio Rodriguez, in the 100-120 range among all prospects.
Gorman roughly 30th overall
Then the three aforementioned. And then a laaarge dropoff to I’m not sure who. Maybe no one else is a top 200 type right now, unless I’m forgetting somebody. Love how Angel Rondon is pitching, and how Arozarena is hitting — but Randy is 24 and already tore up AA last year, so what is he doing there anyway? Urias has been a big disappointment to me, and Helsey’s a reliever now. Lane Thomas might be ninth-best…or Sosa, or Edman, or, or, or.
Since this is a draft thread, I’ll just add that during the Mo era (2008-present) the Cardinals have not had a single college pitcher turn into an MLB starter — unless he was drafted in the first round. First round record, absolutely fantastic. Weaver, Gonzales, Hudson, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha. Seth Blair is the only non-success story. It’s a tremendous track record.
But all other college arms have busted or been relievers. Every single one.
Gomber or Zac Gallen may change that, but right now it is a pretty stark record of mediocrity. Which is why I despised the Cardinal draft fixation on college arms this year to the exclusion of almost everything else. Drafting for need is a fool’s errand, and the front office was foolish in spades this year.
Good catch, Sooner.
He’s got a teammate, also listed at shortstop, also 17, also with an exceptional early BB/K of 5/2, and also with 2 steals — Albert Inoa. Inoa is just 6-for-17 at the plate, but has a triple rather than double, so I suppose he could lord that over his teammate. 😉 Same size as Matute also, at 5′ 11″ and 170.
They’re a pair to spy on this year. I like that the Cards have two DSL teams. Great idea that was long overdue. I pretty much hated the draft, but like very much what the Birds have in the lower minors.
Sosa doubled, tripled, and homered last night.
He also doubled, tripled, and homered the night before.
I’ve got my AARP card and a real good baseball memory, and I don’t recall that ever happening before, for the Cards or anyone else, in the minors or majors. It probably has. In fact I’m almost sure it has. But I never heard of it.
Sosa in AAA last year:
Home OPS .529
Road OPS .893
Sosa in AAA this year:
Home OPS .595
Road OPS .910
Those 54 away games for Sosa (2018/19 combined) weren’t exactly in the best PCL hitter’s parks either. They include just three each in Vegas and Colorado Springs, two in Salt Lake City, none in Albu-Q, and one, last night, in Reno. I have a feeling that Edmundo is held down more than the normal amount by AutoZone Park, not unlike how Tommy Pham was disproportionately killed by Roger Dean Stadium when he played multiple seasons for Palm Beach.
Edmundo just turned 23 a couple months back, and I still give him a slightly better chance than Tommy Edman to be a starting MLB shortstop for someone for a few seasons. Edman (one year older) however has the better chance of being an MLB player, due to his baserunning value and speed-related defensive versatility. Tommy is a natural bench asset — always has the platoon advantage when called upon to pinch hit, can also pinch run, and now looks to be adding “outfielder” to his glovework resume. I’d have them both in the 200-250 range among all prospects.
You can count on your hand how many prospects there are showing some good progress this season.
The minor league teams are disappointing, and markedly so. But for me, plenty of individuals have raised their stock in a significant way.
Dylan Carlson has gone from borderline top 100 to definite overall top 40. Nolan Gorman from top 60 to top 30 or so. Ivan Herrera from roughly #140 to a certain top 100, likely in the 70-80 range. (No one nationally is talking about Herrera, but get these parallels/comparisons. He’s exactly the same age as Gorman, has a great pre-2019 track record just like Gorman, will have more defensive value than Gorman if he sticks at catcher, and is walking more and whiffing less than Gorman against the same pitchers this year. If he had the glove of fellow backstop Julio Rodriguez, Ivan Herrera would already be a top 50 prospect, and easily so.)
And speaking of Julio Rodriguez, he’s still 21 and the best player in the Florida State League so far. So he’s leaped from top 350-400 to borderline top 100 for me. Others to have moved up meaningfully are Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbaar, Justin Toerner, and Brady Whalen. None of that quartet threatens a reasonable top 100 list, but they all rate top 300 for me now. Maybe top 200 for Tommy.
On the pitching side there’s Angel Rondon, Johan Oviedo, Diego Cordero, and despite his recent struggles Jesus Cruz. And this is top-of-my-head. I’m sure there have been other breakouts I’m not recalling just now, Ny. Especially pitchers.
I would say that the farm system overachievers and underachievers have balanced out quite evenly thus far. But the truly ugly bullpens at both Memphis and Springfield have cost those teams innumerable contests, and made the overall farm system look terrible on many nights.
One last note: Carlson, Herrera, and Gorman may be hitting even better this year than their excellent numbers imply. They have combined for a home OPS just above .770 this year, but a road OPS over 1.000.
“Arauz has had four straight poor showings including two disasters and IMO needs to perform well tonight to avoid having a decision made to have him continue on.”
In 2017, when Arauz was with the Phillies pitching across three levels, he was fine as a starter but spectacularly successful pitching out of the bullpen. I mean, a world-beater.
The numbers in relief: 60.2 IP, 1.48 ERA, sub-2.00 FIP, 59 strikeouts and 8 walks, and 2 homers. (That’s exactly what a terrific future reliever looks like.)
Meanwhile, also in 2017, Jordan Hicks was spectacularly successful as a 20-year-old starting pitcher over the final two months across two A-ball leagues. High strikeouts, low walks, zero home runs, tons and tons of groundballs, and an incredibly efficient 12.8 pitches per inning. (Exactly what a terrific future starter looks like.)
So I’m thinking that perhaps someone in the Redbird front office just got their Aruaz & Hicks files switched. Made the reliever a starter and the starter a reliever, all by mistake. To quote Zach Galifianakis, it was a classic mix-up! (But with no humor.)
Since a terrible first week (4-27) Montero is batting .280/.345/.520.
And Dylan Carlson is now in the Texas League top 10 in homers and triples and doubles. I doubt if anyone else in any other league can make the same claim.
“Malcom just popped up to the 1st baseman. I figured it would only take him a handful of ABs to get settled in. He should be stroking it pretty good when Bobby Reed hits town on Wednesday to take in the action.”
I’m afraid Wednesday is just a 50-50 proposition, Pugs. Overriding family health question remains uncertain at this time. Here’s hoping.
We shouldn’t get too impatient with the young ‘uns. The MWL is a tough, tough hitting environment in general, and Peoria is a pitcher’s park on top of it. For instance, Ivan Herrera’s OPS is 140 points higher on the road than at home — and Nolan Gorman’s OPS away from Dozer Park is over 400 points higher. Yeah, 400 points.
“Bad timing for him to miss on Nunez and Torres, but good for the folks able to see games in Peoria. Hopefully they do well.”
I may be going to Wednesday’s game. If I do, I’ll file a full report, 25.
Not sure how Torres and Nunez both make a top 5 Cardinal list, what with Gorman, Montero, Knizner, Carlson, and Ivan Herrera each distinctly ahead of them. Herrera for instance is younger than Torres and already succeeding conspicuously for the Chiefs.
If Ivan keeps doing what he’s doing, there’s pretty much no way that Torres can catch him this year — especially given that Herrera has much more defensive upside, too, if he remains at catcher. I like Torres plenty (roughly 12-14 slot in the organization), but I can’t help feeling that some folks are overreacting to his blistering three weeks with the Gulf Coast Birds last year. Throw out those 17 games and his career track record is good-but-unspecial.
I mean, if we’re going to completely re-evaluate a guy based on that kind of sample size, in a league where he is merely age-appropriate, then let’s make Julio Rodrigez a top 30-40 overall prospect right now. Because he’s a 21-year-old catcher with a nearly 200 wRC+ in High-A, his defensive markers are all off the charts, and he has the lowest strikeout rate of the 44 hitters in his league with an above average isolated slugging. So high ceiling, safe floor — if we only look at his 90+ trips to the plate this year.
“Lost opportunities and poor execution. Any professional batter, even a pitcher, should be able to lay down a bunt, period. It’s a required skill.”
“Schildt (sic) should be reading them the riot act right about now.”
I cannot disagree more strongly, on all counts.
Each and every player has certain skills and certain limitations. Munoz or Musial, it doesn’t matter. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
It is the job — the primary job — of the major league manager to know what his hitters and pitchers can and cannot do. And then, if he has any competence whatsoever, he will put his players in a position to succeed as much as is reasonably possible.
Yairo Munoz had never executed a sac bunt in the major leagues. He has only two of them over the past four years as a professional ballplayer. It was therefore un-reasonable to have him bunt.
But that’s not the punchline. Here’s the punchline. Since arriving in the majors, Yairo Munoz has been maybe the best hitter in all of baseball when he has a man on first base and fewer than two outs. In 63 trips to the plate he has batted .446, slugged .679, and struck out just 6 times. He has hit into just 4 double plays.
As a major leaguer, Yairo Munoz has killed the ball with men on base, and he’s killed it most in so-called “bunting situations.” Just like the day before, Shildt managed his team straight into a defeat. And yet, obviously some people still want to blame the players.
Munoz was the right man at the right time…but with the wrong manager, deploying him in the absolutely wrong way.
(Also, thanks CC for clarifying my Hicks remarks last night. I thought I was articulate enough, but I guess not. Of course I only meant that Hicks had been ridden too hard Friday to be safely used in Saturday’s game if needed.)
And with that, so long.
How many times was the tying run on third base with fewer than two outs tonight, and the Cardinals declined to even attempt a safety squeeze? Four times? Five? More?
And what was the Wainwright bunt supposed to be? Is Shildt honestly too stupid to realize that Wainwright did the one thing the opposition would most WANT him to do, i.e., make an out on purpose (when there’s already one out in the inning, by the way) without even trying to score the runner from third?
On an almost daily basis Mike Shildt is making mistakes (of both omission and commission) worse than any Redbird manager in my memory, including Vern Rapp — most obviously re-installing Dexter Fowler in centerfield full time, among innumerable other philosophical or tactical gaffes.
How’s about allowing Jordan Hicks to throw 28 pitches when trailing in the ninth inning tonight? Inexcusable, with games tomorrow and the next day. A dozen pitches to shake some rust off, okay. But nearly 30? With the effort he expends? Now using him tomorrow is dangerous to even consider.
Between the repeated front office blunders of the past 2-3 years, and the ongoing Shildt dugout buffoonery, I’m pretty much throwing in the towel on the organization getting back to what it was from 2012-2015, or was for well over a decade under LaRussa/Jocketty. There are just too many bad decisions being made day in and day out, at all levels.
Maybe Girsch is more the problem than Mo, I dunno. This decline did start pretty much when Mo was granted his title inflation and kinda sorta bumped upstairs. But it’s no fun cheering for stupidity and incompetence. It’s just too exhausting. Last year it was waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to figure out how Luke Weaver and Greg Holland were tipping their pitches. This year it’s Dakota Hudson. Next year I guess it’ll be Hicks or Flaherty of someone else.
And now we get to wait for who knows how long before Shildt alters the worst defensive outfield in Cardinal history. Seriously, how can anyone keep his self-respect after writing Ozuna, Fowler, Martinez as his starting outfield? So anyway, I won’t be following the MLB team any more until either the front office is overhauled or manager replaced. Life’s too short to waste on ugly baseball and idiot managers.
(I’ll still pontificate about the minors, though. Some of those guys are going to be REAL good.)
Ruth. Aaron. Pujols.
Now THAT is one prestigious club.
I don’t know, CC. But here’s a fun stat:
Versus lefties, for his MLB career so far, Bader has posted a 151 wRC+. Let’s see how that compares to a couple other center fielders we all know.
Willie Mays for his career had a 154 wRC+ and Joe DiMaggio had a 152. Since Bader’s defense/baserunning is very likely better than the Clipper’s, but not as great as the Say Hey Kid’s, it’s fair to say that when Bader plays against southpaws, he’s more or less the midpoint of Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays. (Joe D. was worth just over 6 WAR per 600 PA’s for his career, and Mr. Mays 7.5.)
Now, does that sound like someone who should ever be benched against a lefty, under any circumstances?
I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that this is a conflicted organization right now. They are a mid-market team that has done a great job over the past decade-plus at developing players and pitchers from within…but they have recently made a series of fairly massive commitments — both financial and emotional — to aging or aged athletes. Moreover, their current manager has shown a tendency to favor veterans of questionable or severely imbalanced skillsets over young players who need every day playing time, in order to potentially get to where Paul DeJong (and to a lesser extent, Kolten Wong) have arrived.
Anyway, I hope that if Tyler O’Neill homers once a game in Triple-A for the next ten or twelve days, the front office can convince Mike Shildt to find four or five starts a week for him in the majors.
“Also, Eduardo Perez just said that Bengie Molina said that Yadi has “a lot of baseball left to play.” NyQuist triggered??”
If Yadi is signed beyond his current contract (for the same per-year $$), the Cards in 2021 will be paying roughly $100M to the quintet of Carpenter, Goldschmidt, Molina, Fowler, and Mikolas, who will average 35 years of age at that point.
But it isn’t the extreme likelihood of much dead moneyy that’s worrisome. It’s the blocking of better players, due mostly if not entirely to contractual commitments. That’s potentially a big problem in two years — perhaps even bigger than it was last year, when the stubborn usage of Fowler, Holland, Cecil, and Gregerson cost the team a playoff spot, and maaaybe even a chance at the division title.
So I suppose I’m the one who was “triggered,” 25. I love Yadi and Carp, but guys in their mid-late 30’s provide a lot more unpleasant surprises than pleasant ones. (And I suspect this era of high velocity will only exacerbate the aging curve for hitters going forward.)
Rotten series, at the wrong time. The club was bad at pitching, baserunning, batting, and real bad in centerfield defensively whenever Bader wasn’t out there. Honestly, during Spring Training, who among us thought we’d ever again see Dexter Fowler attempt to play center field in the majors? Honestly, based on the bizarre events of last year I knew than Shildt had a thing for Fowler, but I didn’t know how far it might extend. Now, I understand, he’s got a great head-to-head hitting record against Quintana.
So start Fowler in right field! Bader has to be in CF as long as he’s healthy. That’s how much better his glove is than anyone else on the team. And of course, re Jose Quintana, Bader murders southpaws. His whole life. At every level including MLB. Will someone please tell the manager all about that?
And yet, despite Mike Shildt’s highly questionable managerial notions the Cards are 1/2 game out, and on pace for 95 wins, despite also having played one of the four or five roughest schedules in the sport. (The easy stretch is from mid-June to the Midsummer Classic, when the Birds will play the Marlins 7 times, and have another 18 games all of which could be against teams with losing records by then. The best of the bunch are Seattle, San Diego, and the Mets. Okay teams, but not too daunting. I see a 17-8 or 18-7 run to finish the season’s first half.)
It’s really stupid that the series was a sweep. I mean, think about it.
Yesterday the Cards led by four runs early but the Cubs had the bases loaded. Lucky for the Birds, there was one out already, and due up were an aging journeyman non-hitter whose name I have already forgotten, barely a quad-A player, and then the pitcher’s spot with his career sub-.100 average — and it was early enough in the game that very likely neither one of those awful non-hitters would be pinch-hit for. So there was an 80-90% chance that the Cards would leave the inning with at least a 2-run lead. And probably a better than even money chance they’d retain the entire 4-run lead.
And based on all the events that followed, if they leave the inning with a multi-run lead, they almost assuredly win the game. And if they win the game, they’re 1 1/2 games in front of the cubs now, and on pace for a 100-win season.
So if not for the capricious and malicious gods of baseball interceding on behalf of that journeyman cipher yesterday, the Cards would be sitting very pretty indeed right now. Good for whatshisname. He got a grand slam he can tell his grandchildren about some day. Right after asking them if they want fries with their Big Mac.
“Shildt should have had Bader hit for Fowler.”
It certainly would have been the smartest thing, if a little impolitic. Delicate Dexter and all.
Fowler v. lefties this year, .533 OPS.
Bader v. lefties this year, 1.086 OPS (.948 MLB career, and roughly 1.200 in the minors).
I’d like to think that if it had been the 7th or 8th inning instead of the 5th, that Shildt would have pinch hit for Fowler. But I just don’t know.
Bader has to not only start against every lefty, he should obviously bat near the TOP of the order every single time. And his lefty-mashing should have been leveraged today — though, again, I did not expect Shildt to remove Fowler that early in the game. I’m not sure any manager would have removed any veteran who’s been hitting well, in favor of a much younger player, just because of extreme splits.
But Mr. Shildt? Think of tactics like this: If you make a move that the opposing manager did NOT want you to make, then you are on the right track. And believe me, Joe Maddon did NOT want to see Harrison Bader at the plate with a lefty on the mound and the bases loaded.
Hendricks shouldn’t be great. But he just is. Not just against the Cards. But he’s faaar more frustrating to watch pitch, than Maddux was. Because Hendricks has no fastball, at all.
But let’s look at how the unimposing twerp with no fastball has done. Over the past five years, in the entire majors there are only eight pitchers with a lower ERA and more innings than Hendricks. They are: Scherzer, Kershaw, DeGrom (yes, I’m going to capitalize your last name whether YOU do or not, Jacob), Verlander, Arrieta, Kluber, Grienke, and Chris Sale. So, Chris Sale plus a pile of Cy Young Award winners. How many Cy Awards are accounted for there? About fifteen or so?
Hendricks is not an ace. But he is a number one starter. If you are one of the top 10 or 12 starting pitchers in baseball over a 4-5 year period, you are a number one. By definition.
Those eight aforementioned stars and superstars of the bump are the only pitchers we can say definitively have been better than Kyle Hendricks over the past half decade. And you have no idea how much it baffles and pains me to type those words.
This cubs run was MADE by the Arrieta and Hendricks trades. Not just that, of course. But I would argue that they had to have them, or they’re just another good-to-very-good team for the past several seasons. Theo Epstein has developed ONE starting pitcher from scratch in his nearly 20-year career, and that was Clay Buchholz a long, long, long time ago. (And they have drafted an awful lot of pitchers in rounds 3-10 over the years.)
Arrieta and Hendricks saved Epstein from his rather astonishing incompetence at pitcher draft & development. And he deserves full marks for trading for them.
Paul Goldschmidt has been a monster with men on base over his career.
Bases Empty: .869 OPS with an average BB/K ratio of 300/632
Men On Base: .997 OPS with a solid BB/K ratio of 266/463
But here’s the weird catch. He’s not good with the bases loaded. In fact he’s much worse with the bases loaded than he is in any other men-on-base situation.
Bases Loaded: .854 OPS with a crap BB/K ratio of 6/28
Well, make that 6/29 now. I’m not saying that Shildt shouldn’t have used him there. Not saying that at all. But it makes for an interesting study of psychology, in that Goldy certainly appears to simply place too much pressure on himself, or just gets impatient, when the sacks are jammed. He isn’t himself.