Monday Morning GM: The First Homestand

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:

  1. Signing Jackie Robinson.
  2. Established the modern day farm system.
  3. Introduced statistical analysis to the front office.
  4. Established the full time spring training facility.
  5. 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.

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