The Pujols negotiations are, well, pretty boring. If you are like me, you’re sick of hearing about aimless speculation about what will happen next. So lets speculate less aimlessly, if you will, about the future at first base without Five. We’ve got a few options. One, Matt Adams, may be a little far away, but that could change with an incredibly important, and what I cautiously see as a difficult, year for him in 2011. The other two are Mark Hamilton, and Allen Craig, viable mid-20′s players that could provide what most teams want from the corners — a hitter — one being more practical than the other. Let me explain…
Archive for the “analysis” Category
Andrew in Allen Craig, analysis, Mark Hamilton, Matt Adams, tags: 2009 Draft, Albert Pujols, Allen Craig, Mark Hamilton, Matt Adams, St. Louis Cardinals
azruavatar in 2011 MLB Draft, analysis
I saw an interesting Keith Law tweet today:
I’m not fully versed on the 2011 class yet, that will take me a couple months yet, but I’m a little disappointed by Law’s tweet. The Cardinals will have their typical draft pick in 2011 and that’s it. They’ll have no extra draft picks from free agent players. The Rays in contrast will have a bevy of picks in the first round.
This isn’t a criticism of the Cardinals so much of a lamentation of the upcoming draft. We’ll pick 22nd overall and while it’s impossible to know who will be available then 5 months in advance, there’s more college pitchers than I’d like to see in the top ranks of the draft. The Cardinals need the opportunity to snag some additional position player talent and a single pick in the first round doesn’t really give them the latitude to take many risks.
In the 2006 draft, the Cardinals were coming off their second 100 win season and being the best team in the regular season. Drafting in the last position, they selected a live arm with potential but unrefined secondary stuff. 6 picks later, the Marlins would take Chris Coghlan.
We stay in the 2005 draft with our next set of picks as well. After selecting Mark McCormick with the 43rd pick and Tyler Herron with the 46th pick, the Cardinals went back for another right hander in the second round taking Josh Wilson with the 70th overall pick. Yunel Escobar would be selected by the Braves just 5 picks later.
Let’s cover the first retrospectively questionable decisions made in the 2005 draft: Mark McCormick over Jed Lowrie.
Yesterday we looked at the potential middle infielders that the Cardinals have drafted in the Jeff Luhnow era. With neither of their first round shortstop picks (Tyler Greene and Pete Kozma) developing to the point that they project as more than a fringe bench players, it’s difficult to argue that the Cardinals have made an effort to target players to try and fill the gaping hole of the middle infield within the farm system.
What follows is an attempt to identify middle infield prospects that the Cardinals did not draft but were likely on their radar during the last 6 drafts. This is largely a subjective exercise and is not intended to be definitive. In hindsight, it will be easy to say that the Cardinals should have drafted Jed Lowrie rather than Mark McCormick. I expect to revisit some of these picks more specifically in later posts. For now, I’ve combed the first five rounds of the 2005-2009 drafts looking for players that have had success and project well in the middle infield. I will also list the Cardinals pick which occurred immediately prior to that player.
The next two posts are inspired by this Lboros comment on the lengthy VEB post I penned yesterday:
It’s not a secret that the middle infield was a huge problem for the Cardinals last year. Their two primary middle infielders — Skip Schumaker and Brendan Ryan — posted wOBAs that valued their offense at 7.5 and 23.8 runs below average respectively. With the bat, these two cost the Cardinals 3 wins on paper. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
The issue, as Lboros saliently pointed out, is that they Cardinals continue to struggle with how to solve this problem. After Edgar Renteria’s departure in 2004, the team signed David Eckstein to shortstop on a three year deal. Following Eckstein’s contract, Cesar Izturis was given a season at shortstop with disastrous results. Brendan Ryan has been the primary if not everyday shortstop for two years running. The Cardinals have never gotten an average OPS (OPS+ = 100) from the position since Renteria’s departure.
Second base has been just as much of a conundrum. Schumaker managed to crack the average OPS barrier in 2009 (102 OPS+) but played atrocious defense his first year at the position and saw his offense plummet in 2010. The Cardinals have cycled unceremoniously through stop gap second basemen since the good years of Fernando Vina (which, to be fair, were also followed by the bad years of Fernando Vina): Bo Hart, Tony Womack, Mark Grudzielanek, Aaron Miles and Adam Kennedy. Skip Schumaker was converted to second base to try and cover for the farm systems continued inability to produce a middle infielder.
So who have the Cardinals drafted in the middle infield in recent years. We’ll take a look after the jump at all the middle infielders the team has drafted in the Luhnow era (2005 – present).
Question: Is this the best set of pitching prospects the Cardinals have had in their farm system since Jeff Luhnow took over Scouting & Player Development?
The barren days of the farm system seem remarkably barren in retrospect but that’s not for a lack of pitchers in the system. A look at the 2005 Baseball America Prospect Handbook makes a case for a system built on pitching prospects. While many of the prospects would suffer ignominious ends, at the time it was a strong cadre of arms composing the core of the Cardinals farm system.
azruavatar in Adam Ottavino, analysis, P.J. Walters
I have no real reason to think that Kyle Lohse is hurt. The fact that Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan let him pitch deep into a failing outing makes me think that there’s nothing physically wrong with him. He did seem remarkably detached from what he was doing as the game progressed but that’s a very subjective assessment on my part and one that, admittedly, may not be fair.
That said, we’ve seen players hit the DL with what many outside the clubhouse perceive to be phantom illnesses. Whether that’s to let them rest or get some mental things worked out, it’s tacitly accepted among MLB. So if that were the case, who would be the option to come up from Memphis? This also assumes that the Cardinals wouldn’t want to simply give Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs or Blake Hawksworth a spot start but they seem content with those three in the pen. On to the stats!
A question recently posed to me has led to some further questions. As we entered 2009, the depth in the outfield was lauded as one of the real strengths for the team. With Rick Ankiel, Chris Duncan, Ryan Ludwick and upcomer Colby Rasmus. It was hard to envision a scenario in which we didn’t have a productive fly catching crew.