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The Cardinals improved last year because of improved pitching, defense and base running. Their biggest problems were too many strikeouts and too many fly ball outs. Also my own observation is that we didn’t have many hitters who fouled off the marginal pitches with two strikes on them. Actually Fowler was one of the best on our team. Possibly that is why he usually has a decent OBP. The better hitters in the game do a good job of fouling off marginal pitches rather than trying to put them in play.
If I read Shildt right he will be looking to reduce those things and do a better job of advancing base runners. Whether Albert’s approach is effective is one of the keys to improvement.
I am encouraged by what appears to be a more mature approach by Wong. Looking more and more like an effective leadoff hitter.
I am encouraged by the better at bats by DeJong and his reduction of strikeouts.
I have hopes that Carpenter will use the whole field more. Edman appeared to be more like the 2019 Edman the last week of spring training. Maybe not a big dropoff if any.
I like Thomas late surge and Carlson’s overall spring. One of them could end the season in left field.
I am concerned about the continued high strikeout totals by O’Neill and Bader. Appears that they have a hard time of reading the pitches or lack the discipline to lay off the bad ones. Maybe still trying too hard to be power hitters. Bader needs to bunt more. His base running and defense will keep him on the team. Even if he doesn’t win the center field job.
Not sure how to read Goldschmidt. Fewer strikeouts in the spring but small sample. If he improves over last year it will help but players of his age usually fade as they get older.
I feel that our bullpen will be stronger and potentially much stronger with Hicks and Reyes coming on later in the season. Whitley a wild card here.
Sending Dean out signals to me that Ravelo will be on the opening day roster.
Grichek has not done that much better with the K’s at Toronto.
But I don’t agree that O’Niell is that much better an outfielder if any better. He may be a tad faster.
Our best hope is that O’Neill will improve more than Grichek has.
If I had to bet I would expect Thomas to end up the season as our starting left fielder if he doesn’t take away center field from Bader.
I would take Cabrera off. Not because he doesn’t deserve to be there but the guys without options will get a shot unless there is a trade.
I think Helsley is a must keep. Among the best we have out there.
I think we open with Thomas, Bader and Fowler. O’Neill and Dean seeing action frequently. Bader will be kept for late inning defense and base running if he doesn’t get his hitting act together. Edman can see action.
Ravelo may edge out one of the young guys or Dean but I don’t see that happening.
I agree on Carlson and Ponce. Ponce is probably a better fit for the pen. He has a deceptive delivery and is usually lights out the first time through the rotation. A lot of missed swings on pitches that should be hit.
If the young arms come through the bullpen should be really good.
My guess for the opening day roster
Catchers – Molina and Weiterrs
Infielders – Carpenter, DeJong, Wong, Goldschmidt, Edman, Miller
Outfielders – Fowler, Bader, Thomas, Dean, O’Neill
Starting Pitchers – Flaherty, Hudson, Martinez, Kim, Wainwright
Bullpen – Gallegos, Miller, Ponce de Leon, Gomber, Brebbia, Helsley, Webb, Gant, Cabrera.
No room for Fernandez unless injuries, trades or release of pitchers without options. We seldom get any trade value from surplus players. Brebbia most in peril. I do think Ponce, Cabrera and Gomber still have options so they could be on the shuttle to Memphis for Reyes, Fernandez and possibly Whitley.
Gallegos, Miller (if healthy), Helsley, Webb and Gant sure things.
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by SoonerinNC.
It is not unusual for elite talents to go directly to the major leagues from AA with or without limited exposure to AAA. Not saying that is what will happen with Carlson but it is not that unusual.
I feel the final roster will be determined first by contracts, options and injuries. Would love for Sosa to get a shot but the Miller signing pretty much blocks that along with Edman as a super utility player.
However, as the season goes along performance will dictate more.
This is a hard topic to discuss because everyone sees it in terms of their own situations.
As a Human Resource professional I was duty bound to look at things from both the management and employee perspective and I can tell you that there is quite a difference between the two perspectives. And I’m not saying that either perspective is totally right or wrong.
I hate to see any contraction of the minor league teams. Baseball is the one professional sport that is available to fans on such a broad basis and it would be truly sad to see a team like Johnson City go away.
I also think it is irresponsible for minor league players to not be paid during spring training. How did that ever happen.
Also the increases in pay do not seem to be extreme. I wonder how much the changes would cost the Cardinals system wide. How much more if any, would it be than the salary of the 26th player just added across the game.
The huge TV contracts have changed the landscape. Owners have more money and the players are getting bigger and bigger contracts. Before the TV thing small market teams seemed to really be struggling financially. Now the advantage is still with the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, etc. but it appears that most franchises are very stable.
Possibly an opportunity to better fund the minor league teams was missed when they began to garner the big TV contracts. None of us would be happy if our pay is reduced. Businesses are just as unhappy when their profits are reduced. I don’t think any of the major league teams are public or the resistance to reduced profits would be even stronger. Stockholders just have little loyalty to a business in decline. As a rule when costs increase they are made up by either passing costs to consumers like us fans or by reducing costs in other areas.
I think earlier in this thread I predicted that the increase in minor league pay would result in restructuring the minor league system resulting in less teams.
Hopefully they will come up with a solution that will continue the access to professional baseball. Frankly I prefer to attend a Cardinals minor league game. In fact when I have gone to spring training I watch the minor league teams a lot.
I liked Munoz. Seemed to be a real competitor but he was useless down the stretch last year. A victim of the emergence of Tommy Edman. Wonder why Mo didn’t at least try to get a prospect for him. Probably a dollar driven decision not to attempt a trade.
Munoz could have value to another organization provided that he could face the proposition that he may never be more than a utility player.
Stats mean nothing at this point. The final two weeks of spring training games a little more. But with relative inexperience at the other two outfield spots will probably give Fowler a bit more time. Shildt basically benched him in 2018 before he broke his foot. If he doesn’t get it together soon someone may break the other foot.
I too have never been a fan of Fowler. He was on my list of center fielders not to sign when we signed him. Another was Ozuna who was just as bad a center fielder as he was in left. I did think that Ozuna would hit a lot better and was for his signing as a left fielder even with his poor defense.
Schrock getting a lot of playing time. Wonder what is up with that. He has had two very forgettable AAA seasons.
TV is one of the reasons the game has slowed down. A lot of time devoted to commercials.
I am ok with him being gone. He was a poor defender and probably even worse than the numbers. I was not convinced that he is really serious about more than having fun with the game. He played a major role in the numerous times we had a good threat going and failed to score.
He may put up good offensive numbers with Atlanta but I think we will be just as good without him as we would have been if he had resigned.
Libratore got beat up some but his curve ball made the left handed hitter look like a schoolboy and then the same guy belted a double on a similar inside curve the next pitch. Welcome to the major leagues.
Small sample size but how about Gorman. Only one strikeout so far and hitting the ball well. A 10 pitch at bat. Unheard of last year.
I don’t see how they could leave Cabrera off the team. Has been very impressive. Curveball is a killer.
Not surprised about Whitley. Guy has good stuff and better still good command of his stuff.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by SoonerinNC.
Very, very small sample but appeared that O’Neill was more patient and more selective at the plate.
I saw a lot of improvement in DeJong’s coverage to his right and even more improvement in the acuracy of his throws, even considering the help from Goldschmidt.
As for Bader, my question is why do some players swing at so many breaking pitches out of the zone. Is it experience? Is it lack of ability to pick up the spin on the ball? Is it lack of reflexes needed to adjust to the pitch? Or is it lack of willingness to change to correct the flaw. Maybe trying to hit for too much power.
I think some of the above are correctable. But some are probably not.
Who knows what it is with Bader and O’Niell. And who knows how willing are they to make the necessary adjustment?
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by SoonerinNC.
Looks like a Drew Robinson II deal to me. Hope I am pleasantly suprised.
Arenado is the one I would love to see the Cardinals get. What an infield if we had him to go along with DeJong, Wong and Goldschmidt. Also an ideal #3 hitter. I would give up quite a bit to get him.
I agree with Brian though Rendon would have also been a great pick up.
Would rather go with the kids than get Ozuna back. He has a real problem on balls in front of him and over his head. Seems better laterally. While he put us some modest power numbers he seemed to me to run very hot and cold and I felt he really did not come through well in critical situations. That is just from an unknowledgable fan so I can be proven wrong.
Also Ozuna does not seem to fit the Shildt mold. He seems very oriented to pitching, defense and good baserunning. I’m sure he is not happy with the offense. It will be interesting how he structures the offense moving forward. Wish Mo and Giersch had helped him out there. Maybe in the spring.
It is also possible that Shildt told Mo and company I prefer our kids to anyone out there that the Cardinals are likely to sign.
I think Edman did a good job of adjusting to the other teams adjustments to him. But he was very hot down the stretch and it will be hard for him to duplicate that over a full season. I do believe that he is one that will do better in the major leagues than he has done coming up through the season.
The Cardinals have demonstrated in the off season so far that they are pretty content to stay with the hand they have. Nothing like the whirlwind activity of Whitey Herzog and Walt J.
It will be up to Shildt to manage the overpaid duo of Fowler and Carpenter to not damage the overall performance of the team. He has demonstrated that he is willing to bench them (Fowler in 18 and Carp in 19).
Fowler will be a starter when the season opens. He will have to perform to keep his job. Too many talented guys coming up behind him for even his lofty salary to keep him on the field. Hard to see him traded even if we eat a chunk of his salary. Few teams need an average to below average fielder who doesn’t hit that well. His biggest value is his on base skills as he is one of the few Cardinals that generated long counts by fouling off marginal pitches. But he strikes out way too much to be a leadoff man.
When the Cardinals were looking to replace Heyward with a center fielder I was opposed to Fowler and by the way Ozuna who was playing center field for the Marlins at that time. Fowler was not a good center fielder in the chummy Wrigley outfield and I didn’t see him fitting in the pitcher friendly Busch.
I don’t fault Shildt for playing Fowler. He had a modest comeback season with a good OBP and a bit of power and improved defense in right field. However, I am not excited about him in the Cardinal outfield in the future. The question is, what were the alternatives, particularly down the stretch. Bader and O’Neill both have yet to see a low breaking pitch out of the zone that they didn’t like. Add to an under performing middle of the lineup and it does not take much to understand our offensive woes. Thomas has made a good initial splash and Arozarena has impressed but how many players make a good initial splash to sink into oblivion when the pitchers adjust to them. Very high risk to go to them in a high pressure situation that the Cardinals found themselves in from mid-August on. The Cardinals made a strong run to get into first place. So do you start messing with the lineup that got you there? I wouldn,t even though I suffer from the typical fan desire to always see new faces hoping they will be an improvement.
I would have extended Shildt but waited on the front office guys until I saw what they do about strengthening the Cardinal offense.
At to that the Cardinal 1,3 and 4 hitters are a dismal last compared to those from the Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Athletics, Braves, Dodgers and Nationals in the Fangraphs categories of Off, WAR, wOBA and wRC+.
And the strikeout rates of 28.8 by Bader, 22.4 by DeJong, 24.7 by Fowler and 24.3 by Goldschmidt.