Now that we have more than a weekend of games behind us, we’re starting to get a better idea of what the team is capable of. There is a lot of worry in the fanbase, and most of it still based off a small sample size.
- Alex Reyes needed the demotion. He looked flat and couldn’t get ahead of hitters. At Memphis, he’ll have a chance to work out the kinks in low leverage situations. It’s concerning, especially if he’s not 100% right with his mechanics.
- Yairo Munoz will be back up; they need the arms after leaning heavy on the bullpen last week. He’ll be back up when they head to Mexico.
- Everyone wants to point out the great play of Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, and Randal Grichuk (the last is debatable to me). Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but everyone was also happy when those deals were made. Piscotty had family issues and need to be closer to home. Pham was not happy hear and the team got a decent return for him; we’ll see how that return works out in the next few years. Grichuk won’t ever be a superstar and the Cardinals needed more consistent hitting. It’s easy to look at the current outfield and complain, but remember there was a reason we dealt all of those guys.
- Marcell Ozuna needs a IL stint. He’s obviously not right. Last season, he was having shoulder issues that sapped his power early on; it looks the same right now (but note this was written before his homer tonight). Plus, that arm…be prepared to watch team continually run on him.
- The question around Dexter Fowler‘s playing time is polarizing. He’s not batting great, but he’s still getting on base (.160/.323/.200); more so than Jose Martinez right now, the person fans are clamoring for (.118/.118/.176). Tyler O’Neill is hitting better than both (.267/.267/.400), but doesn’t take walks. If you look at Fowler’s xwOBA, he should be better than he’s been (wOBA .260/xwOBA .329). Give him another week or 2 before calling for his head).
- Lost in all of the team struggles is the emergence of Kolten Wong. He’s going to regress – a .545 wOBA and .455 BABIP are unsustainable – but if he can keep his barrel % up (8.0% vs 3.3% last year), he’ll be a force. I still maintain he should be batting leadoff; he’s getting on base and hitting better than anyone on the team and his speed is being downplayed when he has to run behind Yadier Molina.
- Speaking of Yadi, he looks like he needs a little rest. His batting line is down and his defense looks subpar for him; he made a couple of throws to second that were uncharacteristically off line. I think his knees might still be bothering him. There is no reason to play him every day; Matt Wieters is a capable catcher and there won’t be much of a down tick in defense.
- We still need those starting pitchers to stretch out. They are going just over 5 innings per game and taxing a questionable bullpen.
This week’s top 5 is most impactful moves by Branch Rickey:
- Signing Jackie Robinson.
- Established the modern day farm system.
- Introduced statistical analysis to the front office.
- Established the full time spring training facility.
- Introduced the batting helmet.
Lastly, I created some Cardinal trivia for a recent church event; each week, I’ll have a new Cardinal trivia question.
This week: The St. Louis Baseball Club adopted the name the Cardinals in 1900; in 1899, what was the team name?
- The Browns
- The Perfectos
- The Red Stockings
- The Grays
Throw your answer in the comments. I’ll be back on Monday with the answer, new thoughts, and a new question.