Monday Morning GM: Brewer’s Get a Jump

Each Monday, I’m going to give my thoughts from the previous week for the Cardinals.  Since it was a short week, here’s a short look.

The Brewers took the 4 game opening series 3-1; it was close to being a split, but Christian Yelich got the win against closer Jordan Hicks with a walkoff double.

  • The rotation has struggled early. Michael Wacha has the longest outing yet (6.0), but the 4 starters have averaged just under 5 IP per start. Granted, it’s the first time through the rotation and they might still need some stretching out.
  • I’m not worried about Miles Mikolas. If you look at last season, he struggled all spring and in his first 2 starts; after that he was lights out. Small sample size, I know. If you look back to those 2 starts last year, both were against the Brewers; he gave up 4 earned in each start and allowed 3 homers in the first one (0 in the second). Last season, Milwaukee scored 11 earned in 4 starts (24.2 innings) for a 4.01 ERA, the highest against a team he faced multiple times; he had higher ERAs against the Phillies and Nationals, but he had only 1 start against each team.
  • The bullpen isn’t as bad as people are making it out to be. Yes, Hicks got hit in his first save opportunity of the season. Yes, Andrew Miller and Alex Reyes have high ERAs. We also have Dominic Leone, who hasn’t been hit, and John Gant and John Brebbia who haven’t been scored upon. Overall, the bullpen has a lower ERA and FIP than the rotation.
  • Reyes has an interesting stat line so far. No hits, a walk and an earned run. His ERA is sitting at 5.39, but his FIP is 0.07; that shows that his ERA is not justified at this point. Again though…SMALL SAMPLE SIZE.
  • I’d look at changing up the lineup. Really, the speed of Wong and Bader are wasted at the bottom of the lineup. I’d almost say the same for Fowler. Imagine 2 of the 3 at the top, ahead of Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna, and Paul DeJong. My order would be Wong, Bader, Goldschmidt, Carpenter, Ozuna, DeJong, Fowler, Yadier Molina, pitcher. When Bader sits, Fowler moves to the 2 hole. It’s really simple. Carpenter is a slow runner; if you have a speedier player, like Wong or Bader, at the top, you create a lot of havoc on the base paths and will generate more runs. Carp really can’t go 1st to 3rd on a single like the other 2 could. At the bottom of the line, Wong/Bader have to run behind Yadi, which creates the same issues as running behind Carpenter.
  • There is one thing to remember – we are 4 games into the season. There is no reason to flip out. Yes, the Cardinals have missed the playoffs for 3 years and last year it was by a matter of games. These games are as important as those later in the season. But it seems like we have to talk other fans off the ledge, that the season is over, and that player X (usually Fowler) is the worst player in baseball. Give them time.
  • Will this be the Kolten Wong breakout season? He just hit his third homer as I’m writing this.

I’ll end each one of these with a Top 5…Baseball Podcasts:

  1. Effectively Wild: A Fangraphs Podcast that deals with everything from day to day baseball to what WAR would Mike Trout have if he could only hop on one leg to each base. Updated 3 times per week.
  2. Scoops with Danny Mac: Dan McLaughlin talks with everyone from beat writer Derrick Goold to Cardinal’s President John Mozeliak. Typically released daily.
  3. Statcast Podcast: MLB’s analytical podcast that deals with a lot of numbers and explains them well. Updated weekly.
  4. The Tim McKernan Show/The Cat Chat Podcast: It’s cheating, but both of these come from the same place. McKernan’s Podcast deals more with non-Baseball stuff, but his player interviews are very good. The Cat Chat deals more with players and is very informal, which I prefer. McKernan updates a couple of times per week, while Cat Chat is weekly.
  5. Meet Me at Musial: From United Cardinal Bloggers Dan Shoptaw and Allen Medlock, they look at Cardinal events from the fan/blogger perspective. It’s updated weekly.

Check back tomorrow for my Top 50 Cardinals Prospects.

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