Exit Interview: Sam Freeman

2014 Major League Stats: 2.61 ERA, 44 G, 38 IP, 1.40 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 3.54 ERA, 16 G, 20.1 IP, 1.57 WHIP
2015 Role: Reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals

Sam Freeman’s biggest success in 2014 was breaking onto the Major League roster and working his way into a regular role in Mike Matheny’s bullpen. He made his debut this year in May, getting the call after Tyler Lyons made a trip to the disabled list. Over his first 8 appearances, he pitched 8 innings, allowed 1 hit and 0 runs.

By September, he became one of Matheny’s key pieces to bridge from the starting pitcher to the win. Eight of his ten September appearances came in Cardinal wins. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Mark Ellis

2014 Major League Stats: ..180/.253/.213, 0 HR, 12 RBI in 73 games
2014 Minor League Stats: 1-for-3, 1 R
2015 Role: Bench player in the Major Leagues

Mark Ellis signed with the Cardinals this year, turning down longer offers and guaranteed playing time, in the hopes of winning his first World Series. He was here to be Kolten Wong’s backup on a one year deal. It almost could not have gone worse.

After getting injured in Spring Training, Ellis started the season on the disabled list. He returned to the team two weeks into the season and was ice cold. At the end of April he was hitting .133. At the end of May it was still just .171. He had worked his average up to .192 on the season when he hit the disabled list again in August. When he returned in September, he went hitless to finish out the season. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Tyler Lyons

2014 Major League Stats: 4.42 ERA, 11 G, 36.2 IP, 1.20 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 4.43 ERA, 15 G, 83.1 IP, 1.38 WHIP in AA/AAA
2015 Role: Reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals

Tyler Lyons served his second season as the Cardinals’ main spot starter before reverting to a reliever late in the year. If you take out the nine runs the Cubs dropped on him in one start in May, he pitched really well this year.

With the Cardinals talking about finding a left handed reliever who can better fit how Mike Matheny wants to manage his bullpen, I think Lyons could be the perfect candidate and position himself for a breakout season. His advantage is that, as a starter, he can get lefties and righties out. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Daniel Descalso

2014 Major League Stats: .242/.333/.311, 0 HR, 10 RBI in 104 G
2015 Role: Bench player in the Major Leagues

It was a tough year for Daniel Descalso in 2014. He’d been used to getting 350+ plate appearances all around the infield and didn’t even get 200 this year, in large part to a reduced role at third base and shortstop as well as the addition of Mark Ellis to back up Kolten Wong at second base.

It didn’t help that he struggled his way through the first half, hitting just .182. But he did manage to rebound in the second half, hitting .315 as he forced his way into fairly regular playing time in August and early September in a variety of roles as Mike Matheny played the hot hand. In early September, he became the first Cardinals player in history to start all four infield positions on four consecutive days. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Randy Choate

2014 Major League Stats: 4.50 ERA, 61 G, 36.0 IP, 1.11 WHIP
2015 Role: Reliever in the Major Leagues

It was a tough season for Randy Choate. When he signed with the Cardinals before the 2013 season, many of us breathed a sigh of relief as the Cardinals finally had an elite LOOGY for the bullpen. It was something they had lacked as they tried to squeeze every ounce of it out of lesser pitchers under Tony La Russa. Entering 2014 though, Mike Matheny and the team wanted more out of Randy Choate than his ability to get left handed batters out at elite levels, they wanted him to pitch against right handers and whole innings.

The problem is that, as anyone could see, Choate has never been very effective against right handed batters. Their career slash line against him is .288/.403/.403. The result was being placed in a lot of bad situations and some mop-up duty that killed his overall season numbers.  Right handers hit .385 against him.  [click to continue…]