Friday, July 06, 2012

Silver Lining

Dear Johnny Cueto,
Sorry you couldn't be in the All Star Game. But look on the brightside, at least you still play the game.
Jason LaRue

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tough Sledding for the Cards

Beating the Dodgers was always going to be a difficult task last night going against defending NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, but the news was even worse than the loss. Lance Berkman had to be helped off the field after injuring his knee, one day after hitting his first home run of the season. Today he will likely join John Jay, Allen Craig and Kyle McClellen as Cardinals to be put on the DL in the last week. What was thought to be a deep team is now far from that. Look for Matt Adams to be recalled from AAA and likely get a shot to play 1B everyday. It could be a job he keeps for a while, as no one knows how much time Craig and Berkman will miss right now. In fact, of the four recently hurt players, Jay seems to be only one likely to see the minimum stint. What we need now is for the starters to pick things back-up and carry the team like they did the first few weeks. Unfortunately, I am not sure they are up to that task. Could be a rough next six weeks or so in Cardinal land. -Trey

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Come Back Shane?"

Will we be crying "Come back, Shane!"?

According to Jennifer Langosch, Berkman is expected to come off the DL on Friday. As exciting a prospect of adding Big Puma (did you know he got this nickname because he said, tongue in cheek, in an interview, "I'm more like a puma.... Agile, athletic, sleek") is, there's always the inevitable bad news for the more junior members of the squad. Komatsu already got the axe--the particularly harsh Rule 5 trip to waivers--actually, since he got picked up on waivers he'll be on the active roster for the Twins...that's probably not as bad in some regards. Wait, he'll be playing for the Twins--that's really harsh! (At least they don't play in the Metrodome anymore). Here's some of the candidates to go sub-level:

The Memphis Bubble
Name PA HR SB AVG SLG wOBA Fld WAR Options Remaining
Daniel Descalso 70 1 1 .200 .333 .281 -.8 .1 2*
Tyler Greene 60 3 3 .226 .434 .336 -.9 .3 0
Shane Robinson 47 1 1 .318 .432 .355 .1 .5 3*
Matt Carpenter 88 1 1 .269 .462 .338 -3.3 .1 2
Sooooo....those look like some random categories, but I've selected a few just to show some of the main reasons why someone might get cut and why someone should get cut. "Let me 'splain, no there is no time. Let me sum up." The first thing to note is these are clearly the 4 bottom players on the bench who aren't a catcher. The second thing to note then is that nobody really sucks. Everyone (cept the aforementioned Tony Cruz) is above replacement level (most well above). Yay for us. Back to business. The next thing we can clearly see is that big fat goose-egg at the far right. Greene will have to make like Komatsu and head to waivers if he's sent down. Furthermore, since all these jokers started the season with the big club, anyone sent down will indeed lose one of those options. I think we can fairly safely say that because Matheny has tended to lean toward Greene, plus 3 dingers, plus the lack of options, his job is safe--for now. Losing the option year for Robinson probably isn't that big of a deal. Strike one for him. 

Next, judging by the WAR (wins above replacement player, which is a comprehensive stat which enables players of different positions to be compared to each other) Descalso and Carpenter are literally 1 run created over the run of the mill guy you can pick up off the waiver wire. Right, not so hot. What is hot? That fat daddy .5 for Shano. Pretty filthy for a 47PA bench warmer. Strikes for Descalso and Carpenter.

See the Fld next to WAR, that's a fielding stat that quite similar to UZR, and essentially it plays a part of WAR--sorta. Anyhow, you want that number to be positive. 0 is the average player. See that -3.3?Yeah,  that's U-G-L-Y you ain't got not alibi. One of the main reasons to keep Carpenter is that Berkman will not be an everyday player for a little bit (see the aforementioned Langosch article) and he will still spend some time backing him up. But with Craig available to play first, and with Carpenter's horrible defending, what's the problem? I'd rather have Craig in everyday--and this is a great excuse to do it. Strike 2 to Carpenter. One thing to note though, fielding stats like UZR and Fld need larger sample sizes and perhaps his Fld will improve. But even if it does a bit...I'd still like Craig there with Berkman.

If we look at more traditional stats like AVG and SLG, which Matheny might be doing, Carpenter's 30 point lead in slugging, higher walk rate (not listed), is still probably overshadowed (in the masses' view) by a .269 vs. Robison's .318 AVG. Robinson is faster, despite the single SB a piece. Add in a real stat like wOBA (weighted on base average) and Robison is shining in comparison. Strike 3 to Carpenter.

So that's who I think should get sent down. Descalso is a middle infielder and Berkman is a firstbaseman--doesn't make too much sense to demote him. Who will get sent down? Robinson. The extra option year and the smaller PA show a lack of overall trust from management. It is also a smaller sample size which may be inflating some of Shane's stats.


*I'd like to point out that Robinson and Descalso were both September contract purchases in their respective years, so, unless I missed something, they didn't spend more than 20 days on the minor league roster and therefore didn't use an option year on the year their contract was purchased. If someone knows otherwise please feel free to speak up.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April Evaluation

A pretty good April for your defending World Series Champs, with a 14-8 record. One thing worth keeping in mind though: only one of the 22 games was played out of the division. The good part of this is that the Cardinals have a nice three game lead over the Reds, but that bad part is that the division looks like the worst in baseball. So, how good is this Cardinals team really? Even though the competition has been poor, I think this team is a pretty good one. Allen Craig and Chris Carpenter have yet to see the field and Lance Berkman is also on the DL. Despite this, the Cardinals have an astounding +53 run difference. In other words, they unlucky to be "only" 14-8. The starting pitching has been amazing. Wainwright had a rough first three starts, but looked good his last one against the Cubs. The other four guys have all pitched like aces, with Lance Lynn being the real revelation. Lynn has been so good in fact, that if he continues to pitch this way; someone else may have to move to the bullpen to make way when Carpenter comes back (though that seems a ways off yet). The offense has been almost as good as the rotation, with Freese playing like the postseason MVP he was last year and Beltran looking like a great offseason pick-up. It also can't be overstated what a dramatic upgrade Furcal is compared to Theriot from last season. Matt Carpenter has filled in admirably for Berkman. Second base continues to be the one problem area in an otherwise deep line-up. The only other major negatives are the injuries and the bullpen being a little inconsistent. I still have way more faith with the guys we have in the pen that I did at this time last year though. Salas in particular I expect to pitch much better the rest of the year. Going forward, Craig and Berkman should be back soon, so hopefully that will keep the team rolling. The next six games are against the Pirates and Astros, but the schedule is much tougher the rest of May. One final note: I REALLY like the way Mike Matheny has fit in as manager. No question, we would not have won the World Series without LaRussa last year, but his constant tinkering seemed to wear on the team during the regular season. Matheny is letting them play a little more, and that is a good thing for what appears to be a good team. Trey

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Couple of Tidbits

Retrosimba, a blog which focuses on the Cardinals' history, compared Beltran's hot start to my all-time favorite Cardinal (I don't care how short his tenure was)--Will Clark. Here's the link: Will Clark-Carlos Beltran What's even more interesting is that he posted that BEFORE Beltran's 4th dinger last night. May have another Berkman-esque free agent signing on our hands. Considering that Berkman equaled Pujols' WAR last year--that's a very exciting prospect.

Which brings me to my next tidbit: I noticed that the Cardinals total team WAR is currently (as of 4/18/12) 5.1. Ring any bells? Pujols' WAR for last season was also 5.1 I'm not sure there's anything to be gleaned from that. Thoughts? -CJ

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Happy Opening Day!

Guess Matheny missed the memo about how the Marlins were supposed to win in their new stadium. Actually, maybe he didn't. Thanks to the cornucopian outfield that is apart of the new stadium several would be homers were tracked down. Add in some horrible baserunning by John Jay, Lance Berkman, and I'd say we didn't play that great. There were several hits that were laced, but right at defenders. This could have easily been a loss. However, I'll be fair and say that we had some bad luck on well struck balls as well. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the first game of the season.

Although I love the idea of having everything on opening day, I do like having a nationally televised game the night before. It makes folks like me (who are in areas where viewing can be limited) grateful to have more baseball to watch. What I do not like, however, is some joke of a game halfway around the world, viewable by so few, and a week before everyone else starts. Selig keeps messing with things that are working perfectly fine.

Speaking of which, Selig was interviewed by the ESPN crew and one thing they talked about was the +1 for the wild card spot. Now look, I don't like watering things down (yes, I know the Cardinals won last year and got in on the wild card). And I especially don't like the thought of a team winning the wild card by multiple games only to slip up in a one game playoff because a butterfly flapped it wings in Beijing--who knows what problems could arise for games played in the closer Tokyo?! What was truly stunning, however, was not Selig's laughter at the comparison of County Stadium with the monstrous Marlins Park, nor was it the chuckle over how much he bought the Brewers for vs. how much the Dodgers sold for, but it was Selig's proud logic that the plus one makes winning the division mean more. He was literally beaming. That's right kiddies. Now it means....that you get to play immediately in the division series as opposed to....wait for it....getting to play immediately in the division series. Read it again. Yes, it's the same thing. It changes NOTHING for the division winner. Don't even try to say that they now get to play a possibly weaker opponent because (A) you still have to play against a team that won the silly almost meaningless play-in game and (B) if you claim the weaker opponent argument then you've just undermined the whole argument for why a play in game should even exist. Pip over at Fungoes must be going mental. Your commish, ladies and gentlemen! 

Parting shots: Congrats to the Marlins, your new hideous lime-green stadium makes you the new Oregon Ducks. Perhaps you could invite the Seahawks to come play there as well?

Started revamping and updating the site here as well--will be redoing the blogroll, adding some widgets, and adding the UCB logo. Feedback is truly welcome--and encouraged. We can promise no flamingos, aquariums, showgirls, or lime green anything.


Saturday, January 28, 2012


ESPN is reporting that Oswalt is going to going sign with the Cards "soon". Its not a done deal, but this shocks me personally. I figured the Red Sox would give him an offer he couldn't refuse. I can only guess that he is taking a short term deal (probably just one year) at not a ton of money in order to stay in NL. Obviously he has some serious health concerns with his back, but if he stays healthy this Carpenter-Wainwright-Oswalt-Garcia. That rotation is as good as anyone's, including the Phillies and Giants, health pending. I can only assume they will turn around and try and deal either Westbrooke or Lohse if this goes down. I have to hand in to Cards management/ownership. They clearly are trying to win over the next two years at least, even with Albert in L.A.