The season is wrapping up and that means its time for discussion over who deserves each league’s postseason awards. The most talked about award for Cardinals’ fans is the National League MVP because the belief is that we have two guys who should be top candidates for the title, Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina. Now, not to disparage those two who are very good baseball players, but neither is the MVP this year in my opinion.
The award is called the Most Valuable Player. It’s not the Best Hitter Award. So what creates value in a player? There are many ways you can discuss it. Does salary factor in? How about intangibles? What are valuable statistics?
I decided to follow my favorite advice. “Keep it simple, stupid.” Value is created by winning and the only statistic that matters when it comes to winning is runs. So one of my favorite statistics to look at is what I’m now calling Total Impacted Runs (TIR). I previously called it Runs Created, but there is a sabermetric stat with the same name, so I changed it to avoid confusion. The computation is simple, Runs plus Runs Batted In minus Home Runs. So basically Total Impacted Runs determines the total number of runs you played a role in by either crossing the plate yourself or pushing a teammate across. Continue reading
There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few days about Alexei Ramirez and Pete Kozma since a Chicago Tribune article indicated that the Cardinals have attempted to pry Ramirez away from the White Sox. Bernie Miklasz, Derrick Goold, and other writers have weighed in on their opinions. Most call Kozma the better defensive shortstop and Ramirez only slightly less worse than Kozma at the plate. And sure, I’ll admit that when you look at the numbers on the surface, Kozma does appear to be the better fielder.
Kozma has committed just 4 errors and an 11.0 UZR/150. Ramirez has 17 errors and an 8.5 UZR/150.
So yeah, when you look at the numbers, Kozma has better statistics than Ramirez. But what do those statistics really mean? Continue reading
The second half of the baseball season is about to begin and the trade deadline is right around the corner. Already newspapers, blogs, message boards, and twitter feeds are rife with trade rumors as everyone has a keen eye on watching how their teams will perform in the second half. So where are the Cardinals and what could they be looking to add to shore up the team as they drive towards another playoff berth?
I think a good way to get an idea of where the team’s weaknesses lay can be found by a quick glance at the team statistics. With 462 runs scored in 93 games, the offense is currently ranked third in the majors and first in the National League. On the opposite side of the ball, the starting rotation finds themselves with a 3.33 ERA which is good for second in baseball behind division rival Pittsburgh. Their bullpen, on the other hand, has a 3.56 ERA and is only good for 16th.
So a quick glance points you towards the bullpen which has rebounded nicely from an atrocious start with thanks to Edward Mujica‘s step into the closer’s role which he has taken and held onto. Trevor Rosenthal settled into the 8th inning and has once again in the discussion for best relief pitcher in baseball. However, the rest of the bullpen has been a big question mark with most of the rebound behind fueled by great performances by rookie pitchers fresh out of Memphis. Continue reading
It was certainly not Yadier Molina‘s finest hour yesterday afternoon. After putting what he thought was a hit through the gap between the third baseman and the shortstop, Molina cruised his way to first. Except that Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford made a great play on the ball and threw Molina out by half a step. Frustrated by what he should have gotten, Molina threw his helmet to the ground and turned towards the dugout. Behind him umpire Clint Fagan threw Molina out.
Rule 9.01 (d) of the MLB rulebook reads, “Each umpire has the authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language, and to eject such a disqualified person from the playing field.”
By the letter of the law, the ejection was correct. Molina throwing the helmet at the ground is an unsportsmanlike gesture. Except that players get away with it 99% of the time. If umpires always ejected players for throwing things, I’d be cool with the ejection of Molina because he should have known better. But in the heat of the moment, it’s a totally acceptable response that rarely gets called. Continue reading
It seems that pitching has been such an issue for the St. Louis Cardinals this season that when hitting has been an issue, it’s just quietly faded into the background by comparison. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, the Cardinals have had nine different rookie pitchers on their roster this season. Such has not been an issue for the offense at this point which has really seen only Matt Adams spend time on the DL this season.
Because of that, and because the Cardinals keep winning, Matt Holliday‘s start to the season has been kept out of the eye of baseball fans. But he’s struggling to start the season, so what is up with Matt Holliday?
Through June 2nd, Matt Holliday is hitting .244 over the team’s first 56 games. That is a whole 66 points lower than his career average. It is by far the worst start of his career. In now 10 major league seasons, Holliday has a batting average under .300 at the 56 game mark for just the fourth time. His previous worst was .271, which came last year, and then .272, which came in his rookie year. Continue reading
Cardinals fans have seen this scene far too often in 2013. Unfortunately, I called this when I wrote a couple sentences about his return. Mitchell Boggs wasn’t fixed yet. Boggs still isn’t fixed yet and we learned that once again with his appearance in the ninth inning of a one run game, an appearance that was inexplicable to most every fan on Twitter. Matheny seemingly gift-wrapped the game for the Royals, bringing in Boggs who allowed a first-pitch home run by Jeff Franceour to tie up the ballgame.
Mike Matheny is a popular manager for players because he has a great deal of confidence in his players. Regardless of what is going on or what they’ve done recently, Matheny puts them in position to do what they’ve always done. At this point, Boggs’ issues are far more Matheny’s fault than his own.
Inexplicably Mike Matheny likes to use Boggs in tight situations to hopefully get him kickstarted and be able to parlay a successful outing into another and another until he is “back.” I understand Matheny is pulling for Boggs to get right. Every single one of us in Cardinal Nation is doing that right now. But whatever Boggs is doing now it is obvious to all of us, or at least it should be, that it isn’t working. Yet he continues to be brought into close ballgames and he continues to not be right. Continue reading