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The Cardinals need Matt Carpenter's bat in the lineup--here's why

Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013, at 9:31 PM

When St. Louis Cardinals utility man Matt Carpenter was given a homework assignment for the winter to learn second base, defense wasn't all the team was after.

Carpenter continues to work hard to learn the new position, but playing second base is secondary to the offense that he can provide.

Given that second base has been a revolving door for the Cardinals in recent years, to have "a second baseman" for a full season would be a major plus. Carpenter, however, likely isn't looking at owning the position on a long-term basis.

With prospect Kolten Wong waiting on the sidelines for his first shot in the majors, in all likelihood Carpenter will only hold the position for a year--but, that's no guarantee.

Carpenter has an opportunity to make the position his for the long run.

The key for the Cardinals is to get Carpenter's bat in the lineup--and keep it there.

Their offensive production at 2B in 2012 was, well, bad.

The only position with a lower overall batting average than second base (.240) for the Cardinals last year was pitcher (.130). The next closest was right field with .273 overall.

That 30 point margin is far too great for a team that should be strong contenders. Without an improvement, they are left with a giant hole in the middle of their lineup. That's a risk they can't afford to take.

Enter Matt Carpenter.

Compare that .240 batting average to Carpenter's .294 and there's a solid opportunity for large gains before you ever take into account any other factors.

While Cardinals second basemen posted a lackluster average, their .309 OBP is also a cause for concern.

Coincidentally, getting on base is what Matt Carpenter does. His .365 OBP from 2012 is only exceeded by his impressive .412 postseason OBP.

Carpenters OBP in 2012, had he played second base, would have been the second highest in all of MLB behind only Robinson Cano.

While those two numbers alone are enough to justify moving Carpenter, they only begin to tell the story of why the Cardinals can't afford to have him sitting on the bench watching games.

Look at what Carpenter did in under 300 at bats.

In his 296 at bats, Carpenter drove in 46 RBI. That's more than Jon Jay (40 in 443 at bats) and Daniel Descalso (26 in 374 at bats).

With a full 500 at bat season, a 75 RBI season would not be out of reach. It would also be a huge total for a second baseman.

In 2012, Cardinals second basemen managed only 59 RBI over 587 at bats.

Another intriguing comparison is that in that same number of at bats, second basemen combined for 25 doubles.

In literally half of the at bats, Carpenter hit 22.

Another reason his bat needs to be in the lineup.

Carpenter hits as well with runners in scoring position as without.

Batting with runners in scoring position is where Carpenter truly excels. With no one on base, he hits .315.

With runners in scoring position, however, he hits .311. Statistically, that is almost no difference. What that means is that he handles the pressure well and doesn't let it mess with his head.

He handles it so well, in fact, that with runners in scoring position and two outs he hits .333.

The importance of this stat in terms of an upgrade at second base can't be overstated because this is an area where many second basemen suffer throughout baseball.

If his 2013 season is anywhere close to what he did in 2012, he has the potential to be one of the top five offensive second basemen in all of MLB.

While there's still not a lot known about how he will manage defensively, he should more than make up for any defensive issues with his bat.

Don't be so quick to write this move off as single season roster filler while they await the next prospect. Matt Carpenter has the ability to make this position his.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I'm just worried if Carp has quick enough hands, and the footwork to turn two. It will be interesting to see. I really enjoy watching him play, but just don't think he can handle playing second. Hope I'm wrong.

-- Posted by Kobeyashi on Fri, Feb 22, 2013, at 8:54 AM

If the Cardinals don't get starting pitchers his bat will be much more important than his hands. I cannot believe they are planning to enter the season with their current starting pitching rotation.

There are studies about keeping fans' expectations realistic by having a losing season every now and then can impact the long-term profits of professional teams. One has to wonder if that is the plan this season in St. Louis.

I strongly disagree with direction the Cardinals are headed since Jocketty left and if I was Pujols I would have left also. I don't agree with 80 percent of the decisions made since Jocketty left. Veteran players will win. Rookies aren't that valuable in the playoffs, but save you money. When you have one of the higher salaries in your division you should not run your organization like the Oakland Athletics.

I strongly welcome majority or minority opinion on the issue.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 2:55 AM

Dustin I believe your opinion to be mislead. The Cardinals have never had a minor league system this stacked ever. That is a fact. We have the consensus number 1 farm system in baseball with talent that has major league potential from Low A to AAA. The fact is that our minor league system is so good that our scouting director got poached from us to be the new GM of the Astros last year.

Rosenthal and Miller will be great pitchers. They are both young guys can throw in the high 90s with their fastball and each have two very good off speed pitches. Any team in the league would kill to have these guys starting for them this year and we have the luxury of putting one in the bullpen or seasoning them at Memphis. I haven't even mentioned our other pitchers in our system who have been wowing at spring training or have proven themselves to some degree at the big league level already. Believe the rotation will be fine.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 9:37 AM

I also strongly disagree with you in regards to your characterization of John Mozeliak and Walt Jocketty. Walt was as you pointed out a veterans guy who didn't pay attention to numbers and advanced statistics. Mo on the other hand does pay attention to college players, high school players, and foreign players as well as advanced saber metrics. Now when you compare the two GMs tenures in St. Louis.

Walt was there from 94 till 07. He managed to build one World Series Champion team which was in 2006. It took him 12 years to build this team( I admit the 04 and 05 teams were better than the 06 team and plenty capable of winning a WS) and left the farm system dry when he left. He also was part of a organization that facilitated the steroid era by trading for Mark McGwire at his doping peak.

Mo started as the Cardinal GM from the 2008 season until now. He built a World Series Champion team in 5 years by smartly signing players to fair deals based on their projected worth. He traded for Matt Holiday who could be potential hall of famer by the end of his career. He rebuilt the farm system that hung it's hat on Anthony Reyes under Walt Jocketty into a minor league system that produced minor league headliners such as Colby Rasmus, Shelby Miller, and Oscar Taveras. Mo doesn't have a poor realtionship with majority owner Bill DeWitt because he doesn't buck him on a payroll which DeWitt has consistently capped at 125 million a year. Mo has produced other front office talents that have helped the Cardinals and moved on to achieve higher rank in other organizations. Mo has also been one of the foremost GMs in the area of latin american scouting by identifying young prospects and signing them like Carlos Martinez and SS Alex Reyes.

So your telling me that the guy who has won more, won faster, won cheaper, built faster, built a better long term org, and produced more front office talent than his predecessor is not as good as that same predecessor. No thanks I'm not buying that one Mr. Ward

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 10:01 AM

When has the Cardinal payroll ever been at $125 Million?

-- Posted by Jolly Dump on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 11:28 AM

Like all the time. This year we are at 110 million and during the Pujols/ Rolen/ Edmonds years we constantly sat between the 115 million and 125 million spot, which was the absolute max that DeWitt was willing to spend due to our market restrictions.

Good news though even though we are perennial top ten payroll team we are going to increase the budget by a bit in the coming years according to DeWitt. He says it's to keep the team competitive, but it should be noted that those big tv deals that gave the Angels and Dodgers all that money to spend are gonna be available for the Cardinals soon. We are probably going to receive big market money for our tv rights despite being in the Midwest due to the fact that we have a large fan base that is recognizable on the coasts as well as the #1 overall TV ratings for any baseball team every year.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 11:41 AM


You may want to check your facts about the Cardinal payroll.


-- Posted by yankee6 on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 12:12 PM

No offense Bunk but you have no idea what you are talking about about the amount of payroll. Thanks for posting that link yankee. I was going off baseball-reference, and while the numbers are not consistent its still a good basis to know the Cardinals have always been a $100 million payroll team.

-- Posted by Jolly Dump on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 12:34 PM

It says 110 million Yank, like Bunk said.......???

-- Posted by DaleDoback on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 12:35 PM

We never had a 115 million dollar payroll, I didnt read that part. This year and last year are the highest payrolls weve ever had.

-- Posted by DaleDoback on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 12:45 PM

Dump your right I over estimated the amount of payroll, but the point remains. Walt skyrocketed the payroll with veterans without replenishing the farm system after it produced stars like Waino and Albert. That's why we struggled so much from 07-10. The only reason we made the playoffs in 09 was due to Carp and Waino channeling Koufax and Drysdale that year.

So Dump are saying that Walt is better than Mo or are you just fact checking?

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 12:45 PM

Will the Reds win more with less money this year than the Cardinals?

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 3:23 PM

I don't want to trade Danny Haren for Mark Mulder again, but I think the Cardinals need to consider moving prospects for more experienced starting pitching.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 3:27 PM

No, they really don't.

-- Posted by sideline starter on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 3:31 PM

I agree with letting Carpenter play 2B.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 3:57 PM

I think the Reds and Cardinals will be more evenly matched this year than most people think. You know why the Reds can afford to win more with less money than the Cardinals. Homegrown starting pitching. Chapman, Cueto, Leake, and Bailey are all homegrown prospects who besides Chapman were relatively cheap. That is why they can afford to pay for the Sean Marshalls and Jonathan Broxtons of the world to solidify their bullpen when they move Chapman to the rotation. You wanna know something else they can also afford to give their homegrown first baseman a small nation because they have Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Zach Cozart on cost effective deals. Heck Brandon Phillips isn't even really getting what he could have got in free agency so that helps bring in a guy like Ryan Ludwick.

You have to trust your scouting department eventually Dustin. Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright are two great examples of that. When Beltran's contract falls off the books next year and Oscar Tavares makes us all say Albert who we will have enough payroll flexibility to give Waino a huge deal barring a health disaster. Is that a bad thing?

I think it's nuts to believe that Miller, Rosenthal, Kelly, and or Michael Wacha( who is dazzling everyone at the moment in Jupiter) can't string out the necessary starts and innings with Westy, Garcia, Lynn, and Waino this year.

The much bigger concern to me is the MIF we are looking to have an opening day lineup of Daniel Desclaso at 2B and Ronny Cedeno at SS. That would be a defensive and a offensive nightmare for us. I'm personally hoping Matt Carpenter can play 2B well enough and Rafael Furcal gets healthy so we can come out firing like last year and try to build a lead while the Chapman is adjusting to starting and the rest of the division is down and potentially not healthy.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:01 PM

The only thing I would trade any starting pitching prospect for is Elvis Andrus. Seriously that is it not JJ Hardy( too old) or Asurbal Cabrera( too expensive). I'm also only trading Jenkins or Kelly with a side of Matt Adams. These young guys can perfrom well and end up becoming the core of a Cardinal dynasty in 2-3 years while giving us a good chance to win now.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:07 PM

By the way trading Miller, Rosenthal, Martinez, or Wacha is like trading Haren for Mulder.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:08 PM

The Cardinals wouldn't have Wainwright if it wasn't for Jocketty.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:17 PM

Ok so that makes up for him destroying the farm system to the point of being 30th( this means last let that sink in) in 2005 in the farm system? Having young talent to reload when your old talent fades or signs elsewhere isn't a bad thing. The Cardinals won the world series in 2011 and were one game away from the world series in 2012 and still have the best farm system in baseball making it possible for us to continue to be a relevant October ball club something were not for most of the 07-10 years after the 06 WS win.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:23 PM

Mo is also responsible for the trading of Edmonds that landed us David Freese. The drafting of Allen Craig( WS hero and everyday 1B/OF) and Jon Jay( everyday CF). Not to mention the valuable bench position guys like Matt Carpenter, Daniel Declaso, and Peter Kozma. He also traded a bad apple prospect turned major leaguer in Colby Rasmus into the necessary pieces which won us a World Series. I mean the man also traded for Matt Holiday.

Tell me who is better the guy who trade Haren for Mulder and traded away a malcontent JD Drew for Waino or the guy who did all that in 1/3 the time?

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:27 PM

Bunk would you have signed Jake Westbrook for what they are paying him?

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:31 PM

The Cardinals farm system produced Albert Pujols when Jocketty was GM.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:34 PM

No but he was the only signable option who was willing to except that amount of years. I wish Kyle would have taken a one year deal instead of Westbrook but thats not just how it goes.

Ok so your telling me that Walt expected Albert Pujols to be one the greatest top ten baseball players of all time? He was drafted in the 13th round because he was a Missouri kid. No one saw him coming so that credit doesn't go to Walt because he simply got lucky. Effective scouting found us our new Albert in Oscar Tavares not luck .

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:40 PM

Walt is also the guy who traded for Choo this year so that he can have three RFs attempt to play CF all year because it's not like CF defense is important or anything.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:47 PM

I predict the Reds win more games than the Cardinals again this season. And the Pittsburgh Pirates might finished ahead of St. Louis also.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:50 PM

You can predict that and that is a fair prediction with the Reds who have been souped up by ol' Walt to run as long as they don't have play defense outside of their stadium that is the size of my backyard. But I don't think the Pirates can do it. They have two players who I would take over the matching Cardinal in that position.

It's funny actually the Pirates resemble the 06-10 Cardinals in a lot of ways. Old veteran rotation that will eat innings and occasionally have a great start or two but never be consistent. Everything is 93mph or lower. Strong bullpen to bail them out of close games. An offense predicated around one stellar talent who is worthy of MVP discussion every year because he lifts the guys who are past their prime and young guys who are peaking at a low ceiling. I mean it works when you are in the worst divison in baseball( example 06) but I think the Reds and Cardinals make this a two team race despite the improvement shown from the Cubs and the Brewers slugging their way to a mediocre 83 wins.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:58 PM

So you're just going to throw random thoughts out there and ignore all of these posts refuting your misinformed opinion. Sounds like you, Dustin.

-- Posted by sideline starter on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 4:59 PM

During Jocketty's time as Cardinal GM, the Cardinals compiled seven National League Central Division championships (1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), two National League Championships (2004 and 2006), and one World Series Championship (2006). The Cardinals had seven straight winning seasons under Jocketty, including 100+ win seasons in 2004 and 2005. Jocketty has been named the Executive of the Year in MLB three times, in 2000, 2004, & 2010.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:03 PM

In five years Mo has built a Cardinal team that has won one division title, two wild card berths, one NL pennant, one WS title. Let's see that time as Cardinal's GM lasted how long for Walt? oh wait thats right as I said earlier it took him 13 years to do all that and Mo has done almost as much in 5 years with a much worse farm system. I mean list his accomplishments all you want to but if wasn't for Andro, the lucky Albert draft, and some weak playoff rules that let Chris Carpenter devour the 2006 playoffs on a weak team than Walt is long at least three times in his career with the club.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:12 PM

And Mozeliak took over a Cardinals team with little minor league talent and in five years has built a team that has made the playoffs three times, won a World Series, and was one game from going to another World Series. He's made them into a team with one of the best run-producing offenses in baseball, has solid pitching depth, one of if not the best farm systems in the league, and hasn't handcuffed the team to a single or couple of players for a prolonged period of time. In his first five years, Mo has had much more success than Jocketty did, was just named by MLB Network as one of the five best general managers in baseball, and has the pieces in place to sustain the success over the next decade with guys like Miller, Rosenthal, Taveras, etc. He's built self-sustaining success instead of mortgaging the future for a marginal upgrade in wins for one season.

-- Posted by sideline starter on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:13 PM

Than Walt would have lost his job at least three times is what I was going for. Got a little bit to pumped for that one.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:18 PM

Article supporting my viewpoint here: http://www.examiner.com/article/walt-joc...

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:23 PM

So your saying that I should believe in a business finance writer's opinion from three years ago? The argument is not that Walt is a bad GM it's that Walt is really an overrated average GM who lost his job to a much better GM in Mo. I mean that article repeated what you said earlier and added that the Reds have a low payroll. But I thought you hate it when GMs save money DW?

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:29 PM

I don't hate it when GM's save money. I like it when they get the most out of their payroll. I'm not so sure the Cardinals have done that heading into this season. There are a number of bad contracts in recent years.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:41 PM

There have been the old Kyle Lohse deal being the worst offender. But part of getting the most out of contracts is using rookie deals to replace production of expensive veterans. That's something Mo is willing to deal with wear Jocketty hasn't been as inclined to do so until now in Cincy due to the limited payroll.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:45 PM

Besides that Lohse I cant think of any deals that have been horrible or destructive. See it is gonna stink for Cincy when Latos is arbitration eligible and he signs with another team while Grandal perfroms well in San Diego and Cincy has no catcher to speak of since Mesaroco is definitely not the long term answer.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:48 PM

The Cards are loaded to the gills this year with a good mix of young guns and experience. The only thing that can slow them down is a bad string of injuries, and Dustin thinks they wont even make the playoffs when they return almost everyone from a team that was 1 win away from the World Series.

-- Posted by DaleDoback on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 5:59 PM

The Cardinals need a number of things to go right to win this year. Adam Wainwright has to pitch better this year than he did last year. Lance Lynn needs to repeat something he did his first season in the rotation. Garcia and Westbrook need to stay healthy and finish above 500. And the Cardinals need to aquire an ace at the trading deadline.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:00 PM

"And the Cardinals need to aquire an ace at the trading deadline."

You were doing decent and then you had to have a Dustin Ward comment. Which of our young guys who will be leading the team in the coming decade do you want to sacrifice to make a Haren for Mulder trade? Because I'm sure there will be a ton of aces just ripe for the picking.

-- Posted by sideline starter on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:04 PM


The injury concern is part of it. The depth in the pitching rotation is limited and Wainwright, Garcia and Westbrook have a history of injuries.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:04 PM

sideline starter

I'd probably try to move Joe Kelly. But I'm not sure I could get an ace for him.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:05 PM

Thoughts regarding if Wainwright will be as good as he was before his surgery this season or in the future?

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:07 PM


Do they win the wild card spot last season without Lohse in the rotation?

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:16 PM

I think it's sorta ridiculous to think that Waino won't be back to pre surgery form. Actually he pretty much was for most of the year. During his first five or six starts he didn't have quite the command he needed which lead to more HRs but his velo was there and he could at least make the pitches. At the end of the year his arm was gased just like Lynn's but since they are both better conditioned from last year they should be better down the stretch. Garcia is a big question and Westy is eh underwhelming but serviceable. So there is probably a good amount of innings there and then somehow we have to cover the rest of the innings with either one of the two of the top ten most wanted pitching prospects in baseball or a guy who had a 3.5 ERA in 16 starts last year.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:21 PM

You assume that Lohse's production isn't replaceable but it is and it's just not from a guy with Lohse on his jersey.

The Cardinals real problem is run distribution. They tend to score runs in bunches last year and dry up with a lot of strikeouts in games they don't. The key to this is to have somebody as Corey put it like Matt Carpenter out there everyday getting on base and driving people in. It would also be nice if Furcal could on base like he did in April and May instead of what he did in June-October. Even though we score a lot of runs we still need to be more consistent at the plate. The sabermetric geek in me says that this will average out this year and instead of winning 8 to 3 then losing 3 to 2 the next day we will average out from the extremes and win 4 to 3 more often.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:27 PM

We tried shipping Joe to Cleveland and no one is taking him because he is obviously the future fifth starter or long reliever for us because of our prospect depth. He will probably walk in two or three years and be somebody's #3 or #4 starter for most of his career.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:29 PM

I am all in favor of starting Carpenter at 2B. I was in favor of doing that last year.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:39 PM

I wasn't in favor of doing it last year since he had never played the position before. I'm still not sure it's gonna work out this year since he has never played the position before. We tried this with Skip and Skip ended up the worst defensive 2nd baseman in baseball three years in a row. But MCarp is an infielder by trade so he is better at fielding ground balls than Skip was and he is a far superior hitting commodity so it's a greater reward for the same risk. We will see how it goes.

-- Posted by Bunk on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 6:53 PM

So your saying if Waino pitches like he did last year, Garcia and Westbrook get hurt, then we cant make a deep run in the playoffs. hmmmmm......

-- Posted by DaleDoback on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 7:37 PM

I don't think we can.. I'm not gonna bank on every prospect panning out

-- Posted by Thot McGee on Sun, Feb 24, 2013, at 11:28 PM

I wouldn't bank on every prospect turning out either( though on can dream) it's just that we have so many good ones that I can't imagine at least a good percentage turning out well or at least as good as your average 4 or 5 starting pitcher.

-- Posted by Bunk on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 10:00 AM

Bunk I was just fact checking you because I saw how you over estimated the payroll. I don't Mo is better because Mo had Jeff Luhnow under him at scouting and development. Now that Luhnow is gone, it will be a telling sign as how good Mo is now that they guy who rebuilt our farm system and was the reason for Walt leaving is at Houston.

-- Posted by Jolly Dump on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 10:36 AM

Man Dustin I just wish you were the Cards GM... you have all the right answers.

-- Posted by Kobeyashi on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 11:17 AM

How can you honestly rip the Cardinals for not resigning Pujols? I loved watching him, but we could not afford his salary and I don't blame him one bit for going somewhere to get that money. Where would the Cardinals be in 5 years when he is holding a lot of our cap and declining at the plate? I like Jockety too, but they made a dumb deal for Votto. In a couple years a lot of their money will be tied into two players, Votto and Phillips. You can't win that way, you have to stay young and use your farm system now a days since they are tougher on performance enhancing drugs(players don't last as long). But what do I know.... I'm not Dustin.

-- Posted by Kobeyashi on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 11:59 AM

Jolly I think Mo has the talent to find smart guys like Lunhow and we still have the scouting department that was here with Lunhow I think? So I think we will be fine and the best evidence of this is the drafting of Michael Wacha who has quickly stood out as one of the best pitchers in his class and he is the closest to the bigs.

-- Posted by Bunk on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 12:11 PM

I hate when I misspell Luhnow. By the way if anyone is fact checking me I had mentioned earlier that Alex Reyes was a high end SS prospect. I misread the article he is actually a RHP. Though if everyone at SS is injured or sucks this year we should definitely give Greg Garcia a run at it since he has overachieved at every stage in the minors.

-- Posted by Bunk on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 12:53 PM


Where does it say I disagree with the Cardinals not signing Pujols?

I do think it is fair to raise the question if one of the reasons Pujols would not sign for less to play in St. Louis is because he no longer agreed with the direction / philosophy of the organization is headed under new management.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 3:45 PM


Would you list the Reds ahead of the Cardinals heading into this season?

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 4:01 PM


Do you think the Reds will go all year long without having any injuries to their starting rotation again like last year?

Do you think the Reds starting rotation will all have career years again this year like they did last year?

Do you think Chapman is going to step right in from being the dominant closer he was last year to being a dominant starter this year with equivalent numbers?

Do you think whoever the new closer is for them this year (assuming Broxton) will have the same numbers as Chapman did last year as a closer?

-- Posted by Dr. Basketball on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 4:25 PM

Yes to the last two questions. The first question is a tough one to answer. The answer to the second question is the Reds rotation looks better than the Cardinals rotation on paper.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 4:57 PM

You think whoever steps in to close for the Reds will have a 1.51 era and have 38 saves?

-- Posted by DaleDoback on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 5:17 PM

Dale, this is Dustin we are talking about.

-- Posted by sideline starter on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 5:27 PM


The chances of the ERA being as low aren't likely. But really the only thing that matters with a closer is the percentage of games he saves. If Chapman is as effective as a starter he will likely be more valuable to the Reds in the rotation. With Jocketty as GM there is a good chance the Reds will go get what they need at the trading deadline if there are holes to fill.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 5:39 PM

Dustin, Im not understanding the fear of the Reds. They lost Stubbs, added Choo. They think they are gunna get away with Bruce in CF, im not real sure what theyre thinking unless they tape him to a cheetah. They have a good rotation on paper, but so did Miami last year. I think we are better set up to win now and in the long term.

-- Posted by DaleDoback on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 6:19 PM

Dustin you mix insanity with logic in your posts sometimes to such a scary degree that I think your trolling everyone on purpose.

For one Chapman is definitely more valuable to the Reds in the rotation. That is a correct logical statement because his talent spread over more innings is better for them.

However, to believe that he will be as effective the whole year and not get tired arm in the 2nd half is recognizable. This guy hasn't started a baseball game in about 4 years and loves to hit 100. He is gonna wear out some believe me. If you don't want to take my word for it just look at Lance Lynn's second half of last year.

Secondly the most asinine thing you said was that it didn't how well the reliever who took over Chapman pitched as long as he got saves. Saves are most overrated statistic bar none. All means is that you were the last guy who did his job and didn't screw up. What's worse is that it restrains the best pitcher in your bullpen to that last inning in a save situation when it would be better to have used him in the 8th when the 3rd, 4th, and 5th hitters were up.

-- Posted by Bunk on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 6:21 PM

I mean a lot went right for the Reds last year. They only had Votto get in serious injury trouble for any length of time and their pitching staff had no injuries and pitched well all year. Cueto is coming off his injury and we don't even know how effective he is going to be yet.

-- Posted by Bunk on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 6:25 PM

Dustin Please just stick to the volleyball threads.... That's what you know best.

-- Posted by Kobeyashi on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 9:11 PM

The only team than won more games than the Cincinnati Reds last season in the regular season was the Washington Nationals. Cincinnati won nine more games than St. Louis in the regular season. Based on what has taken place in the offseason I don't think it's the craziest idea in the world to think that might happen again this year.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 10:10 PM

So, I've clearly missed some interesting conversation over the last day and a half.

My two cents...

Dustin -- I don't think Cincinnati taking the division is a stretch. I also don't think it's a shoe-in. They have a number of question marks just like St. Louis does. My guess on who will take the top spot will depend on the health of Jaime Garcia and Rafael Furcal (or their potential replacements.) If the Cardinals work some magic (or the potential trade that keeps buzzing around today), they could easily become the favorites. Also, the Cardinals play well against Cincinnati and with Houston out of the division they will be seeing a little more of each other this season.

That's another important factor (and a column for later in the week)--How will losing the NLC punching bag affect the dynamics of the division?

Everyone -- As far as Chapman in the rotation, that's a coin toss. The front office is for it, most everyone else is scratching their heads. I understand their thinking, 7 innings of Chapman is better than 1, but I'm not sure it's the right move. Guys who throw the speeds he does put a tremendous amount of strain on their arms. How 175+ innings will affect him remains to be seen.

He's going to have to be amazing for his value as a starter to outweigh what he brings to the game as a closer. As a closer, if they get the game to Chapman, it's lights out. No one will argue that. That's too much to expect of Broxton in my opinion. He's good, but not what he once was.

Bunk -- I totally agree about Mo in regard to scouting and future development. The fact is, this front office operates different from the former. The final goal, championships, is the same for everyone. It's all about approach. The answer isn't all in scouting or all in advanced analytics, it lies in between. (Somewhere between Moneyball and Trouble with the Curve. Had to throw in a plug for the baseball flicks. Anyone who hasn't watched them both, should. Each basically tells why the other is wrong.)

You also made a good point about run distribution. The Cardinals did score a lot in bunches last year. It's almost like it was one run or 10 without any middle ground. Matheny has them working a lot on smart base running right now in an effort to help them better manufacture runs and not sit around waiting for longballs. Home runs are fun to watch, but they come when they want to come.

Sportsnerd -- You make a good point about not counting on all prospects to pan out. Some simply don't make the transition. Some will get hurt. Some will be career minor leaguers. But a couple could turn out to be great. It's a crap shoot, but in this game it's OK to load the dice. The Cardinals have.

I know I've missed a bunch of people, but I wanted to dive in! It's so hard to get comments sometimes so this is great to see. Thanks to all of you for reading and joining in!

-- Posted by Corey Noles on Mon, Feb 25, 2013, at 10:39 PM

I agree completely about the role of traditional scouting when building a team Corey. It is especially helpful when projecting who will continue to excel when they are promoted in the minors, deciding between two players with similar statistics, or weeding out players who may be over performing or underperforming in a small sample size. It's just when people realize that cheap rookies that give you the same production as an expensive vet are more valuable that I get bumfuzzled with folks.

Keep up the good work on these columns. As long as you keep writing them I'm sure we will stick around to read them and argue about something.

-- Posted by Bunk on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 9:25 AM

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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