Category Archives: United Cardinal Bloggers

Approval Ratings: July

In this series, I poll all the Cardinals fans that I can get to take my Approval Rating survey, utilizing Cardinals’ forums and Twitter. Unfortunately, July’s ratings were much delayed form where they should have been, with the polling taking place in the second week of August. Obviously that will effect some of the results with a week and a half of performance from August. However, I will make every effort to get August’s ratings up at the correct time.

For Cardinals’ fans, they loved some Lance-Squared as I’ve heard them referred to. That would be the combination of Lance Berkman and Lance Lynn. The pair were the highest rated Cardinals of July, receiving an 8.8 rating. For both Berkman and Lynn it is the second straight month that they have maintained their position atop the ratings for hitters and pitchers, respectively.

And who can really blame them? Lance Berkman has been the best free agent signing of last offseason. He’s currently hitting just under .300, nearly 30 home runs, and will have a shot at 100 RBI. I think it’s safe to say that absolutely nobody outside of a psychiatric ward expected that kind of performance out him this season, including himself.

For Lance Lynn, he got two spot starts in St. Louis before being recalled a few weeks later to pitch out of the bullpen. Lynn owned that move. While some pitchers might have been effected by the perceived “demotion” to the bullpen, Lynn took his position and dominated. It wasn’t rare for him to come into games, blazing that upper-90s fastball across the plate, and getting strikeout after strikeout. It really hurt the bullpen when Lynn went on the disabled list.

The three highest rated position players are Berkman, Holliday with an 8.6 and Yadier Molina with an 8.0. The player who moved the needle the most this month? Positively, that would be Albert Pujols who is up 0.4 to a 7.6. On the down side is Ryan Theriot who lost ground for another month, losing 1.5 points to a 5.0.

The three highest rated pitchers were all out of the bullpen. Who really thought they could have said that a month ago? Lynn leads with his 8.8. Fernando Salas received an 8.5 while Jason Motte‘s scoreless streak that extends back into June received him an 8.0. The biggest shift was Motte, who jumped 1.8 points. The big loser on the pitching staff was Kyle Lohse, who fell 2.7 points to a 5.5 after a rough month.

Management took a hit this month. Despite pulling off a trade that moved Colby Rasmus that received a mixed response and bringing in someone to potentially solve all the major problems that faced the 2011 Cardinals, John Mozeliak dropped 0.2 points to a 6.6. Probably close enough that it could be considered a push. However, it was Tony LaRussa whose approval rating plunged 1.1 points to a 5.5, his lowest score of the season.

We also had five debuts on the list this month. Rafael Furcal debuts with an 8.0, Octavio Dotel with a 7.5, Marc Rzepczynski with a 7.3, Corey Patterson with a 5.8, and Edwin Jackson receives a 5.6.

As with every approval ratings, I like to ask some questions to gauge the response of Cardinal Nation. We will start with the trade deadline talk.

The Cardinals made two moves at the deadline. One involved a package headed by Colby Rasmus being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jackson, Rzepczynski, Dotel, and Patterson. The trade is also rumored to include cash or 3 players to be named later. You also have to consider the potential draft picks that the Cardinals will receive in compensation for Jackson. The response on this trade was a complete push with Cardinal Nation split on the idea. For 2012 and beyond, I question it’s value, but for 2011 it was the best option the Cardinals had on the table.

Rafael Furcal’s trade was received much more favorably. The Cardinals dealt minor league outfielder Alex Castellanos (who is killing it in AA for the Dodgers since the trade, by the wya) for the veteran Furcal who was designed to solidify the defense at shortstop. 90% of responders liked the trade with 10% saying that they didn’t.

As the August 31st waiver trade deadline approaches, the question is obviously posed whether the Cardinals will attempt to make another deal to further solidify the team. As the potential double-digit deficit stares the Cardinals in the face, they may not now. 57% of responders think the Cardinals will not make another move, with the remaining 43% expecting at least one more acquisition.

Then, to the question that is on everyone’s mind as the end of the season looms. Are the Cardinals destined for the playoffs? 95% of responders think that the Cardinals will not win the NL Wild Card. However, 62% of responders think that the Cardinals will win the NL Central. Combining the two figures, that gives us 67% of fans who think the Cardinals will still make the playoffs. You gotta believe!

Keep an eye out for the August Approval Ratings survey coming late next week.

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July Approval Ratings

The Redbird Dugout July Approval Ratings are up and ready to be taken! I would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes and fill it out for me. Please feel free to pass it around to other Cardinals’ fans that you know. The more Cardinals’ fans that we can get filling it out, the more representative it is.

You can find the survey here.

This month I have reorganized it a little bit based on the Starting Lineup, Bench, Rotation, Bullpen, Minor Leagues, and then a few questions to gauge the State of Cardinal Nation.

Thanks!

Cardinals’ Approval Ratings: June

After missing May due to life circumstances (it was mid-June before I even thought about them), the Cardinals’ Approval Ratings are back with the June numbers.

The Cardinals’ June swoon leaves me really wishing I had results from May so that I could really have an accurate look at how badly it hurt peoples’ numbers.

The Cardinals wrapped up the month of June having gone 11-15. The offense scored 114 runs in 26 games in the month of June. That’s an average of 4.4 runs per game and that puts them in a tie with the Dodgers for 9th in the major leagues. On the other hand, the Cardinals had the worst pitching staff in the majors, allowing 132 runs in those 26 games, that’s 5.1 runs per game. Their team ERA of 4.72 was 29th of 30 teams, only beating out Toronto.

On the offensive side of the baseball, Lance Berkman took over the role of the highest rated Cardinal, though he dropped from a 9.4 to a 9.3 rating. Matt Holliday dropped from a 9.8 in April to an 8.6 at the end of June. The biggest drop in the starting lineup was Colby Rasmus tumbling 1.4 points to a 6.8, reflecting his struggles over the last two months. The biggest jump was Yadier Molina who recovered his losses over the first month to receive an 8.1 rating at the end of June. Skip Schumaker jumped 1.3 points himself, vaulting himself to a 7.4 rating.
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April Approval Ratings

This year’s monthly project continues with April’s Cardinals’ Approval Ratings. Once again I questioned Cardinals’ fans on their satisfaction with current Cardinals’ players on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most satisfied and 1 being the least satisfied. Response was about equal with the preseason approval ratings, however I did lose some and gain others.

There was very little that surprised me with the way trends went. The biggest gain by a position player was Lance Berkman who went from a 6.0 to a 9.4 which was an increase of 3.4 points. The biggest gain by a pitcher would be Kyle Lohse who went from a 7.2 to a 9.3 to become the highest rated pitcher on the staff. With Lohse being the highest rated pitcher, the highest rated position player continued to be Matt Holliday who moved from a 9.3 to a 9.8 after the month of April.

The biggest losers? Albert Pujols fell from his 9.0 in the preseason to a 7.3 rating, a loss of 1.7 points. Obviously, his slow start impacted the results of fans’ opinions on how happy they were with his play. Meanwhile, no surprise who the lowest rated pitcher was, none other than the pariah of the bullpen, Mr. Ryan Franklin. Franklin fell from 6.8 to a 2.2 to be the lowest ranked player on the list.

Check out the other gainers and losers, movers and shakers.

On the bench, Gerald Laird is the highest rated position player with his 7.3 rating, up 1.7 from his preseason number. He’s joined at the top by Daniel Descalso who scored a 7.1 which was up 0.9 from his preseason number. There were also two new members of the bench list, Nick Punto debuted with a 6.2 and Mark Hamilton with a 6.4.

In the bullpen, the most exciting new member of the Cardinals bullpen is the highest rated reliever, that would be Eduardo Sanchez, who scored an 8.8 in his debut on the charts. The other reliever that began the season in Memphis, Fernando Salas, joins Sanchez at the top with his 8.0, up 1.2 and the highest gain by a bullpen arm. The only player to remain constant was in the bullpen too. That would be Brian Tallet who once again scored a 5.9.

It also seems as if out of sight is out of mind for Cardinals prospects. Shelby Miller, Zack Cox, and Matt Carpenter each experienced a drop from their preseason positions. Miller lost 0.9 points, Cox lost 0.8, and Carpenter fell a whole 2 points.

Back to the lineup and things that have me a little confused. Yadier Molina, despite the fact he was hitting .289 at the end of April, lost 1.3 points as he fell from 8.0 to 6.7 as he joined Pujols as the only starting players to decline in their ratings in April. Molina’s drop confused me, I guess many fans still had the echoes of his slow start in their heads when filling out the form. Should be interesting to see if and how he jumps in the May rankings.

Mr. Error, Ryan Theriot surprisingly was the position player with the second highest jump. While some of this jump can be assumed was a result of a heavy rating of 5 because they hadn’t seen him play, I was surprised that he managed to be rated as high as poorly as his defense has been. Maybe I’m mistiming my discussion of his defense, but he was not that effective in the month of April and nearly record settingly bad. With his 1.8 jump to a solid 6.7 that was a surprise.

The final piece that interested me was my ranking for how competitive do you feel this Cardinals team to be. Before the season began, that question scored a 6.9. Now? It got a 7.3, so it seems that fans think that this current Cardinals team is better than they originally thought. This is also reflected in the rating for John Mozeliak, which jumped 0.8 as the memory of no Pujols extension faded from memory. Tony LaRussa‘s also jumped 0.6 as I think he’s getting some love for allowing some of the baby birds to get solid playing time.

But speaking of that Albert Pujols extension. The one question that I’ve gone back and forth on whether to include. While the general view of the competitiveness of this Cardinals team has increased, the opinion that we will resign Albert Pujols has declined from a 7.4 to a 6.8. That was the one that really had me scratching my head.

April Approval Ratings

The form to take in the April Approval Ratings is now up and ready to accept responses. You can follow the link here. Any help in getting more responses is appreciated, so please pass this around to your Cardinal fan friends if you’d like. The more takers, the more accurate the responses. Thanks for whatever help you can give. I appreciate it!

Preseason Approval Ratings: Survey Results

The final post in the series of the Cardinals’ preseason approval ratings. For those who aren’t familiar with the song that the line comes from in the photo caption, catch it YouTube here, it’s a 1996 classic. Today, I’m going to take a look at the final two ratings for management and the survey questions. And I’m not going to waste any time doing it!

Starting right off the bat, John Mozeliak. The Cardinals GM only scored a 6.5 on the approval ratings. Obviously his rating is hurting because of the recent lack of a contract for Albert Pujols. Personally, I gave him a 9, which was the highest rating anyone gave him.

Of course, you ask people what Mozeliak has done so wrong, and it’s hard to get an answer. He did break up the original MV3, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t think that was ultimately the right decision. He did deal away Jess Todd, Chris Perez, and Luke Gregerson, but those were to fill organizational holes from a perceived strength (though Perez and Gregerson are two guys I’d love to have back). He did deal away Ryan Ludwick, but it seemed like he wasn’t going to be returning to St. Louis this year anyway and we did end up re-signing Jake Westbrook who may not have signed with us had we not dealt for him.

And I think it’s unrealistic and unfair to lay the blame for Albert Pujols not having a new contract at his feet. A negotiation takes two, and ultimately logic suggests that Albert wanted more than the Cardinals were willing to give him and vice versa. Their valuation of what Albert could expect obviously didn’t line up. I don’t think hitting free agency is going to hurt the Cardinals’ chances either. If Albert’s to be believed that he wants to return, then we’ll get the opportunity to match an offer. Then the Cardinals get to decide. But to think that Mozeliak has the last say on Pujols’ contract, is a little unfair. It will be a combination of factors at fault if Mozeliak decides to leave.

Apologies, I got a bit on a ranting there, but let’s move on to another polarizing figure in the Cardinals’ organization, Tony LaRussa. LaRussa scored a 6.3 with Cardinals’ fans. Many I know had finally decided that it was time for the Cardinals to let LaRussa go after his 15 years with the franchise. I know that I was on that boat. In the past, LaRussa managed us to extra wins whereas I felt he managed us out of games last season. When you cost me more wins than you get me, it’s time to consider looking in another direction.

Now that is management, let’s move on to the survey questions.

The first question that I posed was, how happy are you with the way the Cardinals team will look on Opening Day? On this count, the Cardinals scored a 6.7. That’s pretty up the middle. Unfortunately, I don’t have any previous year examples to compare that with. But it’s fair to say that the fans who took my survey consider this team nothing special, but nothing bad either.

When asked how competitive they think the Cardinals will be, they scored a 6.9 on the scale of 10 being World Series champions and 1 being at the bottom of the league. I think what you can draw from that is most Cardinals’ fans expect a team that plays above .500. Maybe poke at the leaders in the Central a bit.

When asked who they thought the first player to be called up from Memphis this season would be, it was almost a unanimous choice for Matt Carpenter. Carpenter is obviously still riding his strong spring. The #2 option was Lance Lynn, though P.J. Walters and Fernando Salas each had a mention or two.

The next question was sort of reactionary to a couple games I saw in spring training that had Yadier Molina catching all 9 innings. Personally, the handling of Molina is something I’m very opinionated on. With the innings that he has racked up on those knees at catcher the last two years, I’d like to be a little more careful with him this season. To me, spring training was a perfect opportunity to give him a slight break and not to overuse him. I don’t think the majority of Cardinals’ fans care as much as I do, as LaRussa’s handling of Molina’s innings got a 7.1.

And finally, the question I had to throw on because it’s the #1 question facing Cardinals fans through this season and hanging over our heads. How confident are you that the Cardinals will sign Albert Pujols to an extension? Cardinals fans seem relatively optimistic at a 7.4.

I want to thank everyone who has read this series and filled out a survey form. Please keep an eye for late April for the April Approval Ratings survey to be posted and spammed on the Redbird Dugout Facebook (a few more likes and we get our own username!) and Twitter pages. And thank you to everyone who has read articles here on Redbird Dugout through the first week of this month giving us by far the best month we’ve had. Through one week we are on pace to quadruple February’s numbers and triple March’s.