The Monday Musial – July 30th

Here the Cardinals’ sit today, 7.5 games back in the NL Central with a 54-48 record after 102 games. After 102 games last year they were tied for the division lead with a 54-48 record.

Over the last 10 years, a team has needed 90 wins to get a Wild Card in the National League. That means over the last 60 games of the season that start Tuesday against Colorado, the team needs to go 36-24, that’s .600 baseball. Still doable without going on some crazy run.

When you look at the schedule and Home/Road splits for teams, we don’t play a team with a winning record where we’re playing them until we go to Cincinnati and then to Pittsburgh starting August 24th. That means the next 24 days are absolutely crucial for the Cardinals if they intend to make the playoffs.

If the Cardinals and the other teams continue to play at the same winning %s, the Cardinals will likely go 32-28 the rest of the way. But ladies and gentlemen, that’s why we call it baseball. From August 24th to September 2nd we have a 10 game road trip where we play Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Washington. That will be the season.

Something that’s also fun to think about is that the Cardinals host the Reds in the final series of the season in Busch Stadium. How epic would it be to rob them of the division on the final day of the season? [click to continue…]

Chuckie Fick claimed by Astros

Chuckie Fick was placed on waivers two days ago when the team called up Brian Fuentes, and now he has been claimed by the Houston Astros.

Fick, 26, made his major league debut for the Cardinals’ this year. He made his debut on May 26th against Philadelphia where he allowed 1 hit over an inning. He made his second appearance a day later, throwing 2/3rds of an inning where he allowed two hits, a walk, and an earned run. That would be his final appearance for the Cards as he was optioned back to Memphis on the 31st.

Last year in Memphis, Fick had a banner year, posting a 2.30 ERA in 54 appearances and 70 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. However, he struggled to find the same success in 2012, with a 4.68 ERA in 42 1/3 innings before being placed on waivers to remove him from the 40 man roster.

Jeff Luhnow, who was the team’s Director of Scouting and Player Development when the Cardinals’ drafted Luhnow in the 15th round of the 2007 draft, claimed Fick to bring him to Houston. He looks like he will be placed in the Astros bullpen.

Fick probably isn’t a huge loss for the team, but I would have liked to see him get a longer look in the majors. He had some success, but for some reason was struggling mightily this year. In the end, he was expendable for the Cardinals especially if they felt that Fuentes could play a key role in the bullpen down the stretch.

Fuentes gets the call

The Cardinals announced today that Brian Fuentes would be making the trip to St. Louis ahead of schedule, skipping his intended appearance tonight for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. Fuentes, 36, was signed by the Cardinals on July 15th with the hopes that he can be the pitcher he was when he was one of the top closer candidates on the free agent market in years’ past.

Fuentes was downright horrible this season with Oakland. He had a 6.84 ERA in 25 innings along with a 1.60 WHIP. He was Designated For Assignment (DFA) by the Athletics on July 3rd and received his release on July 11th.

He signed a minor league deal just four days later. He pitched two appearances for the Cardinals’ Gulf Coast League Rookie level team, going two innings while allowing a hit and striking out one. He then pitched an inning for Springfield, striking out two. The team was under a deadline to move him to the majors as he could opt out of the contract on July 31st if he wasn’t with the big league club. [click to continue…]

The Monday Musial – July 9th

For some reason the post didn’t post as scheduled on Monday. However, here it is! Read everything like it happened on Monday.

Yeah, it’s been awhile. A little over a month since the last post here. I’ll be honest. Life gets busy and there’s just not enough time to watch Cardinals’ games as I would like. Especially since I found a job and writing for Redbird Dugout cannot be considered my full-time job anymore. So what’s this “Monday Musial” thing? It’s something inspired (read stolen) from ESPN’s NASCAR writer Marty Smith.

He does a column entitled “The Six” every week where he talks about items of interest to people who message him. While I may not have the time to write nearly daily as I have in the past, I need to make an effort to keep the blog alive or let it die a quiet death. So I decided that this is a format that I like, so I gave it a little Cardinals’ flavor, and hopefully once a week I’ll opine about what’s going on in Cardinals’ Nation that interests me and makes me want to share my opinion. [click to continue…]

2012 MLB Draft – Cardinals Preview

Today is one of the most exciting days for MLB prospect nerds around World…the start of the MLB Draft!  This is going to be a very interesting year to pay closer attention to the draft as their is new CBA rules in place that impacts how teams approach their draft strategy.  The key here is the hard slotting system for the combination of the first ten rounds and the penalties if teams go over that or don’t sign a player.  I won’t get into the new CBA here as there are many sites that have great detail about it.  I want to focus on our St. Louis Cardinal’s draft strategy and key individuals that we should be targeting with our early picks.  Let’s jump right in…

The Cardinals had a nice run with Jeff Luhnow running the draft over the last number of years.  Luhnow with the Astros now gets to have something he never had in his time in St. Louis:  Making the #1 overall pick.  All reports are indicating Mark Appel (RHP Stanford) are going to be the pick after a tug of war over him and Byron Buxton (OF GA HS) over the last few weeks.  So this means the Cardinals have a new face running the draft and potentially a different strategy.  Dan Krantrovitz is our new Director of Scouting.  From all interviews with him and Mo that address the draft strategy it appears the overall framework of the strategy will be very similiar to what we had grown accustom to under Luhnow.  The one difference is it appears we might be looking for more upside more often and slightly less emphasis on the “safe” college pick which happened at times.  Obviously we will find out over the next few days and the CBA will impact how much we can do this.  My take is we will see more HS players taken in the first few picks but plenty of slot or underslot college picks to compensate the hard slot system.  [click to continue…]