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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.
When your oWAR leaders are Wong (3.4), Edman (2.9) and DeJong (2.9) you don’t have to look much further to understanding our offensive inconsistency.
Even more revealing is comparing the collective oWAR of our #1,3 and 4 hitters.
Fowler, Goldschmidt and Ozuna had a collective 6.5. Add to that two of the three are marginal at best defensively.
Compare that with the following for the 1, 3 and 4 hitters of other top teams:
Atlanta – 13.6
LA Dodgers – 13.8
Milwaukee – 11.6
Washington – 14.6
Houston – 16.4
The problem is right there for Mo to address. As it stands now our best hope is with the youngsters. But that is asking an awful lot.
Actually I was just providing data for others to reach conclusions but:
29 games scoring one run or less is a lot.
35 games below .500 in games where we scored 3 runs or less is a lot compared to 25 games by Atlanta and 20 by the Astros. We were only 10 runs behind the average total runs in the League in a relatively pitcher friendly ballpark.
We scored 1.2+ runs per game in 38 of our games. Almost 5.5 in the other 124. The thing the data doesn’t show is that we had offensive meltdowns in a lot of consecutive games. Thirteen different occasions of as many as 4 games in a row. Often they followed blowout wins.
My conclusion: very inconsistent offense. Also the Cubs were no worse than we were.
The $64,000 question is why.
In these days of almost everyday TV coverage we can easily become myopic about other teams performance so I did a quick check.
The Cardinals had 13 streaks of at least 2 games where they averaged 2 runs per game or less. Total of 31 games where they scored only 38 runs total.
For the total season the Cardinals were:
0-9 when shut out
1-19 when scoring one run
7-15 when scoring two runs
9-9 when scoring 3 runs.
Total 17-52, 35 games below .500
So what, how did other teams fare
0-5 when shut out
2-7 when held to one run
3-12 when scoring two runs
6-12 when scoring three runs
Total 11-36, 25 games below .500
0-8 when shut out
1-13 when scoring one run
7-19 when scoring two runs
4-9 when scoring three runs
Total 8-40, 32 games below .500
Then Houston, the most wins in 2019
0-6 when shut out
0-15 when scoring one run
5-9 when scoring to two runs
13-8 when scoring three runs
Total 18-38, 20 games below .500
Except for Houston avoided AL Teams because of the designated hitter rule.
I would rather see more pay go to the minor league players than looking for how to make billionaires out of the multi-millionaires. At least pay them for spring training.
And wasn’t it sad that Washington lost Bryce Harper to free agency after offering him 300 million.
Harper and Machado holding out as long as they did caused a lot of the late signings.
I’m ready for the change. Unfortunately some umpires hold grudges. Otherwise how do you explain the consistently bad calls against Carpenter and Ozuna. Carp brings a lot of it on himself with his complaining but I don’t have a clue about Ozuna who gets some really bad calls.
And nothing could be worse than what happened to Tommy Edman one game. If I remember right no pitch in that at bat was in the zone and he was up to a 3-2 count with a number of foul balls.
It appears to me that they favor the stars and punish the rookies. Base umpires on check swings too.
And a system has to be bad when hacks like Joe West are still hanging around. If they are being evaluated I still see the same guys messing up.
Bader, Thomas, Arozarena, Carlson, O’Neill, Garcia, Williams. That is 7 guys with options remaining. I agree that there will be a lot of shuttling between St Louis and Memphis. If Ozuna doesn’t resign and we don’t trade for an outfielder all 7 should be able to get almost ever day action between the two teams.
All 7 with good to outstanding defensive skills. O’Neill and Garcia with the most power. Also the most tendency to strikeout on low breaking pitches out of zone. Bader in that group as well. Why do they do that? I’m sure that they are aware that it is their big weakness. I’m sure the coaches keep reminding them. Do they have trouble picking up breaking pitches. Can they improve that weakness. Are they trying to hit too many long balls. They can improve that and they have enough power to hit homers while staying within themselves.
Maybe the best news is that all but Bader and O’Neill finished the season strong.
How ready is Carlson for the majors? Consider the following.
Edman 63 games at AA at age 22. .645 OPS, 16 BB, 34 K’s
Edman 109 games at AA at age 23. .753 OPS. 35 BB, 76 K’s
Edman 17 games at AAA at age 23. .776 OPS, 8 BB, 11 K’s
Edman 49 games at AAA at age 24. .869 OPS, 15 BB, 33 K’s
Carlson 108 games at AA at age 20 .882 OPS, 52 BB, 98 K’s
Carlson 18 games at AAA at age 20. 1098 OPS, 6 BB, 18 K’s
Thanks. I did get it on FoxSportsGo
I can’t find a place to watch. Any suggestions?
Puig is already in his third organization in just a few year. Probably message there. As much as we complain about Ozuna and Martinez defense why would we want to bring in Castellanos who is as bad or worse?
I suspect that left field goes to the one who emerges from the prospect group and Fowler and probably Edman man the other two spots.
If they went really wild they would turn the outfield over to the youngsters and have both Fowler and Carp coming off the bench for pinch hitting and spot starts.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility that both Arozarena and Carlson perform so well in spring training that the Cardinals are forced to give them a shot. Maybe not to start the season but in reserve ready to step in if the vets fail to perform. You also can not assume that Bader and O’Neill will get their average up to the point that they also get a shot. O’Neill was going pretty good when Ozuna was out with his injury. Then he got injured and couldn’t recover. If Bader can hit .260 with some pop he is the center fielder. At this point I would give Arozarena the best shot at starting in left field if Ozuna goes.
I think they release Cecil and trade Mayers. However, if Dobzanski is the next most pressing protectee then they may not have to do anything with Mayers. I don’t see Cecil throwing another regular season pitch for St. Louis if even in spring training.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by SoonerinNC.
62. C Soto
63. R Ramirez
The most significant changes in the 2019 Cardinals from previous teams was an improved bullpen, better defense and better base running.
In spite of the opinion of some that Mo controls the manager’s decisions, Shildt was probably the major force behind the difference. To me that is an indication of the type of team he wants.
Ozuna doesn’t fit that model. The poor range in the outfield and at times sloppy play along with a relatively high strikeout rate are problems. I would like to know how many times he struck out with runners in scoring position.
I suspect that he could do better as a designated hitter in the American League.
He may go for the qualifying offer with the hope that he would have a better year next year. But his age is also a factor. If he had another so so year his value would plummet.
57. C. Soto
59. I Lopez
60. R Ramirez
52. Ya Senca
53. Ramon Mendoza
The dramatic improvement in defense and base running is a significant change in that the improvement has been made with basically the same players.
Hopefully, we can see the same kind of improvement next year in consistency in the offense.
Improved bullpen was also a plus. For the starters a strong first year for Hudson, a superb second half by Flaherty and a great comeback by the veteran Wainwrignt. I thought Mikolas was not as consistently sharp as last year so maybe he will comeback next year.
We have to feel good about the strong second half and the division championship. The team appeared to wear down late in September with a few more defensive lapses and less effective bullpen work particularly by Gant, Brebbia and even Gallegos. Pleasant surprise with performance by Helsley.
I do like Shildt even though I sometimes disagree with his moves but he is right much more than I am. I first learned about him when I went to Johnson City games at Burlington and Danville when he was the manager at Johnson City. There was just a sharpness about that team that impressed me.
Bader would be cannon fodder to Strassburg’s breaking pitches. I can see sitting Carp and risk JMart’s defense in right field. The offense is a major piece to fix next year but these first two games are similar to what has happened all season. You don’t suddenly overhaul a team that has made it to the National League Championship Finals.
However, the last two games are the worst offense we have had all year. Very few hard hit balls.
43. Y Gonzalez
45. L Jimenez
I had no idea that Tommy is considered a bad outfielder. From my unlearned observation there doesn’t seem to be nearly as many balls dropping around him as with Fowler, Martinez, Ozuna. (last two a no brainer).
By not profiling as a 3b on offense he looks to be a 10-18 home run guy. Ideally we have one who pops 30-40.
Ozuna appears to be on a charge that will improve his free agent contract.
Y Gonzalez for #42
The only surprise to me is Cabrera. I guess Shildt felt that he needed another left handed option with the trouble that Miller had the last week.
O’Neill has been an automatic strikeout since his injury.