The 2016 Cardinals has a total WAR of 40.1 arrocding to Baseball Reference. That, unsurprisingly, is down from 2015 at 49.8. I was curious to see where the changes came from and why.
In 2016, the Cardinals received 15.4 Wins from the draft, 3.0 wins from free agency, 0.5 wins from the Rule V draft, 9.7 wins from trade, and 11.5 wins from non-drafted free agents.
The draft was primarily from Matt Carpenter, who scored 3.9 WAR. Yadier Molina and Stephen Piscotty both scored 2.9 wins for second on the team.
Free agency was a little lower than expected. Seung-Hwan Oh was the only free agent to score about 1.0; he was worth 2.8 wins over the season. The next closest were Eric Fryer at 0.6 and Mike Leake and Miguel Socolovich at 0.5 each.
The Cardinals had 3 non-drafted free agents and all were well worth the expense. Carlos Martinez led the way at 5.9 WAR, followed by Aledmys Diaz (3.5) and Alex Reyes (2.1). All 3 were key to the team this past season.
Jedd Gyorko led the way for the traded players at 2.9 WAR, followed closely by Randal Grichuk at 2.7 WAR. Adam Wainwright was third at 1.9, which was down from his last full season WAR of 6.4.
The Cardinals only had 1 Rule V player in Matt Bowman, who was key to the bullpen down the stretch. He had a WAR of 0.5.
The only group that the Cardinals didn’t have a part of from semi-recent years was waivers. The last positive waiver claim was Brian Barden, who posted a 0.1 WAR in 2009.
The trends from draft, trade, and free agency were all down after a 100 win season; there were some major contributions from that lost in 2016. The main thing is the regression of pitching. Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal, and Michael Wacha all saw decreases for the draft.
There is also Jason Heyward; his WAR was no where near the level of 2015 after he joined the Cubs. His replacement, Piscotty, didn’t score near the same but half of Heyward’s 2015 is a good start for a full season.
The biggest free agent drain was Jhonny Peralta. Over his career with the Cardinals, he’s gone from 5.7 WAR in 2014, to 1.8 in 2015, to -0.4 this past season. Many have speculated about trading him, but can he have value with the decrease in Wins?
The biggest gain was the non-drafted free agents; Martinez was the only one in 2015 and scored 4.0 WAR. While he saw almost a 2.0 increase, the addition of Diaz and Reyes were the main reasons for the increase.