Exit Interview: Xavier Scruggs

2014 Major League Stats: .200/.333/.267, 0 HR, 2 RBI in 9 G
2014 Minor League Stats: .286/.370/.494, 21 HR, 87 RBI in 135 G in AAA
2015 Role: First Baseman for Triple-A Memphis

A legitimate right handed power threat, Xavier Scruggs has hit 20+ home runs in the minor leagues in each of the last five seasons. This year he made the jump to Triple-A Memphis and continued crushing the ball posting career highs in batting average, slugging, doubles, triples, hits and even brought the strikeouts down to boot. He had a terrific year for the Redbirds and played a core role in their lineup all season until his September promotion in the middle of their postseason run to provide support for Matt Adams.

Or so the theory was, anyway. Scruggs was called up on September 4th and started that night. But it would be over a week until he got his next chance to start at first base. He didn’t get enough playing time to really show what he could do, instead having to rely on trying to make his mark in the occasional pinch hit appearance. He went 1-for-4 as a pinch hitter with a walk. He did not make the postseason roster. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Jason Motte

2014 Major League Stats: 4.68 ERA, 29 G, 25.0 IP, 1.52 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 0.00 ERA, 7 G, 7.2 IP, 0.52 WHIP
2015 Role: Reliever in the Major Leagues

It wasn’t exactly a storybook ending for Jason Motte in St. Louis. Before the 2013 season, Motte signed a 2 year, $12 million deal with St. Louis. He would end up having Tommy John surgery during Spring Training and didn’t throw a single pitch during the 2013 season. In the mean time he launched the “K Cancer” movement that has gained a number of followers around the Cardinals and now even Major League Baseball this season. He returned this year, struggling to find the velocity that had made him one of baseball’s most feared late inning relievers in 2011 and 2012.

As the season went along he began being used less and less because he couldn’t get that velocity back. It did start coming back as the season progressed a little bit and he finished up September well, including a 1-2-3 inning in what may be his final inning as a Cardinal in St. Louis. It was fitting and if that was really the end, I’m glad it ended that way. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Greg Garcia

2014 Major League Stats: .143/.333/.214, 0 HR, 1 RBI in 14 games
2014 Minor League Stats: .275/.358/.385, 8 HR, 41 RBI in 110 games in AA/AAA
2015 Role: Infielder for Triple-A Memphis

Greg Garcia didn’t have quite the season I expected for him in a second season with Memphis. Personally, I was hoping he would find his way to St. Louis last offseason, replacing Daniel Descalso off the bench. My hopes remain the same for this season, but with Mozeliak’s designs to bring back all his arbitration eligible players next year, the odds are looking slim. He did get a little bit of an opportunity with St. Louis, coming up two different times. I like to note that he was hit by pitch in walk off fashion on May 13th and then optioned to Memphis after the game. Upon his return on August 19th, we also won that game on a walk off hit by pitch, but not Garcia this time. [click to continue…]

Should Jon Jay be the Cardinals CF?

Let me preface this post saying that I am a massive Jon Jay fan. If you asked me who my favorite Cardinal on the current roster was, it’s unanimously Jon Jay. With Allen Craig playing for the Red Sox now, he doesn’t even have a threat. I don’t even have to think about it. But I think it’s time for the Cardinals to trade Jon Jay while they can because his 2014 performance will not be duplicated. Here’s why.

When you look at the season long numbers, Jay returned to his consistency this season. Hit .303, posted a 109 OPS+, and was plus defensively. Among center fielders who played as much as he did, Jon Jay was a top-5 defensive outfielder this season. But when you look under the hood, perhaps you see something that we all said about 2013’s batting average with runners in scoring position.

Jon Jay played 749 innings in center field this season and posted a +5 defensive runs saved and a UZR/150 of 12.8. For Jay, that defensive runs saved number was roughly on par with his 2011 season, but that UZR/150 was far and away his best defensive showing of his career. His next highest season was a 4.7 in 2012. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Eric Fornataro

2014 Major League Stats: 4.66 ERA, 8 G, 9.2 IP, 1.24 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 2.57 ERA, 44 G, 56 IP, 1.18 WHIP in AAA
2015 Role: Reliever for Triple-A Memphis

Eric Fornataro had two cups of coffee in St. Louis this season, making his Major League debut on April 21st against the New York Mets, pitching a perfect 1-2-3 inning of relief work. He would go on to pitch two more before he started regularly putting guys on base and that led to his demotion in mid-May. His return in June against the Dodgers didn’t go well either.

After being returned to Memphis in July, he finished up his 2014 campaign strong with a 2.12 ERA over his final 34 innings of work. Despite that strong finish and already being on the 40 man roster, Fornataro was not brought to St. Louis to finish out the year with the big league club. It was a move that raised my eyebrow seeing as we only had a couple of pitchers in the bullpen at that point who I felt were solid enough to warrant regular roles. [click to continue…]