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  • This and that from BA and BP

    From BP:
    St. Louis Cardinals: Entering this season the bench seemed a Who’s Who of Guys Who Belong In Double-A…coaching. Roger Cedeno? Einar Diaz? Hector Luna? Abraham Nunez? Instead, the bench has been better than medical tape to head trainer Barry Weinberg, buying time to let key players like Larry Walker, Scott Rolen and Reggie Sanders heal. (Part of that windfall traces to the Cards’ decision to finally cut bait on Cedeno.) Maybe the Cardinals are having one of those “lucky” seasons where a half dozen players blow PECOTA out of the water, but when the Braves do that we tend to chalk it up to John Schuerholz and Leo Mazzone. Let’s look at the big contributors who have stepped out of the shadows:
    John Rodriguez is 27 and has had a very odd season. After an eight-year minor-league career playing in the system for his boyhood hero Yankees, the Bronx native hit the glass ceiling and signed with Cleveland as a minor-league free agent last November. His big spring (.320/.370/.760) opened some eyes, but the Tribe thought better of the limited sample size (25 at-bats) and he was reassigned to Buffalo. He struggled (.247/.323/.447, just five HR in 170 AB) there, but St. Louis must have liked something about him because player development director Bruce Manno crafted a small trade to get him. Rodriguez joined the Memphis Redbirds on June 9 and went Ruth on the Pacific Coast League: 17 HR in 120 AB; .342/.419/.808. A small window, to be sure, but for a team that’s short a couple outfielders like St. Louis was and still is, you’ve got to catch the lightning in the bottle. Cards GM Walt Jocketty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he had seen Rodriguez play four games before promoting him, and that the Memphis staff recommended him highly.

    Now performing capably as a big league left fielder (.286/.347/.451 and 5.1 VORP in 27 games with above average defense), J-Rod is making a small name for himself. That recognition alone should interest more parties, and sadly, that’s the metric used by some major-league front offices. After a stellar 2004 with Columbus, Rodriguez wasn’t too hard to spot; the Indians took a wise gamble on him, but credit the Cardinals for capitalizing on this one. Maybe with Sanders and Walker eligible free agents after this year (see below), he’ll actually have a future with the team.

    Nunez is also a fish swimming in new water for the first time, having escaped to St. Louis after eight years in Pittsburgh. He’s a middle infielder by trade but is serving as Rolen’s primary sub at third base, and he’s shocked everyone by outperforming Rolen himself. Clearly, Rolen’s battled injury, but Nunez no longer looks like the man we had pegged for a scrap-heap shortstop. Why isn’t Nunez (.306/.373/.413 this year) playing like Abraham Nunez (career .238/.306/.316 in eight erstwhile seasons)? Without a significant power spike, we have to dig a little.

    Code:
    Year    BABIP BB/PA SO/PA
    1997-2004 .305  .085 .166
    2005    .334  .095 .108
    Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is often the culprit in these cases, but it’s not enough to explain Nunez’s success. He’s walking a little bit more, but it’s only a 1 percent shift from career levels. Bingo. Nunez has cut his strikeouts by 35 percent, and that combined with the slight uptick in patience and more bloopers falling than normal does a fair job of explaining the source of Nunez’ modest achievements.
    Through Monday, the Redbirds had a 99.85 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Clay Davenport’s Playoffs Odds Report. With October ball virtually in the bag, Tony LaRussa can rest easy. Most managers fret when half their lineup is disabled--especially if two of the ailing four are Rolen and Walker--but the Cardinals can afford to nurse them back to full health.

    On a separate note, the Cardinals have a huge crop of impending free agents. Walker, Sanders, Jeff Suppan, Julian Tavarez, Matt Morris, John Mabry, Mark Grudzielanek, Nunez, Cal Eldred, Diaz, Al Reyes and So Taguchi are not signed for 2006. Couple that with getting Cedeno off the books, and Jocketty should have a massive chunk of cash at his disposal this winter as they head into a new ballpark.

    The foundation remains--Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Rolen, Jim Edmonds and Jason Isringhausen are all under contract until at least 2007; Mark Mulder through 2006--and make no mistake, this team is driven by Pujols and Carpenter, who just may be the best hitter and pitcher in the game today. But those supporting players, the J-Rods and Nunezes and Mabrys and Taguchis, are the reason the Cardinals can rest up and coast into October.
    And from BA:

    Who do you foresee in the Cardinals' rotation next year? Chris Carpenter is the only guy locked up past 2005, though everyone else but Matt Morris could be retained either by picking up their option (Mark Mulder, Jeff Suppan) or offering arbitration (Jason Marquis). Also, what can be expected from the return of Chris Narveson, who left St. Louis last season in the trade for Larry Walker?

    Kevin Hester
    St. Louis
    Carpenter will be back, and I don't think the Cardinals will hesitate to pick up Mark Mulder's reasonable $7.25 million option, especially considering that they gave up Dan Haren, Daric Barton and Kiko Calero to get him. That leaves Morris (free agent), Suppan ($5 million option or $1 million buyout) and Marquis (arbitration-eligible after making $3 million this year).

    My guess is that St. Louis brings back two of the other three starters, most likely Morris and either Suppan or Marquis. The free-agent pickings look slim, with A.J. Burnett and Kevin Millwood the only options more attractive than Morris. The Cardinals system isn't teeming with prospects, but it does offer two who can compete for the rotation next year. It's unlikely that a contender would trust two spots to rookies, but the No. 5 job could come down to Anthony Reyes and Adam Wainwright.

    Reyes would be the favorite to win that battle, and he already gave a taste of things to come by easily handling the Brewers in an emergency start on Aug. 9. He has a plus fastball that can get into the mid-90s, and his curveball and changeup are solid. He throws strikes and his biggest need is just to stay healthy. Injuries dogged him at Southern California, and he missed three weeks in July with a strained joint in his shoulder.

    Wainwright has bounced back this season after suffering through his worst year as a pro in 2004, when he was bothered by a strained elbow ligament. It's possible that the Cardinals could use the loser of the Reyes-Wainwright battle in middle relief in the majors until the need for another starter arises.

    The Cardinals made Narveson a second-round pick out of a North Carolina high school in 2000, and he quickly emerged as one of their top pitching prospects. He blew out his elbow the following year, however, and required Tommy John surgery. A lefthander, Narveson has regained his stuff, which is average across the board. St. Louis sent him to the Rockies in the Walker deal last August, and he went to the Red Sox when they dumped Byung-Hyun Kim in March. Boston designated Narveson for assignment when they needed a 40-man roster spot to promote Roberto Petagine, and the Cardinals claimed Narveson on waivers.

    Narveson has leveled off in Triple-A this year, going 4-5, 4.73 with a 73-50 K-BB ratio in 116 innings, but he can be a useful pitcher for the Cardinals. Though he's not on the level of Reyes or Wainwright, he's still one of the best pitching prospects in the upper levels of the St. Louis system. He projects as a swingman, capable of making occasional starts and pitching middle relief.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Fishbone@Aug 17 2005, 01:30 PM
    From BP:
    St. Louis Cardinals: Entering this season the bench seemed a Who’s Who of Guys Who Belong In Double-A…coaching. Roger Cedeno? Einar Diaz? Hector Luna? Abraham Nunez? Instead, the bench has been better than medical tape to head trainer Barry Weinberg, buying time to let key players like Larry Walker, Scott Rolen and Reggie Sanders heal. (Part of that windfall traces to the Cards’ decision to finally cut bait on Cedeno.) Maybe the Cardinals are having one of those “lucky” seasons where a half dozen players blow PECOTA out of the water, but when the Braves do that we tend to chalk it up to John Schuerholz and Leo Mazzone. Let’s look at the big contributors who have stepped out of the shadows:
    John Rodriguez is 27 and has had a very odd season. After an eight-year minor-league career playing in the system for his boyhood hero Yankees, the Bronx native hit the glass ceiling and signed with Cleveland as a minor-league free agent last November. His big spring (.320/.370/.760) opened some eyes, but the Tribe thought better of the limited sample size (25 at-bats) and he was reassigned to Buffalo. He struggled (.247/.323/.447, just five HR in 170 AB) there, but St. Louis must have liked something about him because player development director Bruce Manno crafted a small trade to get him. Rodriguez joined the Memphis Redbirds on June 9 and went Ruth on the Pacific Coast League: 17 HR in 120 AB; .342/.419/.808. A small window, to be sure, but for a team that’s short a couple outfielders like St. Louis was and still is, you’ve got to catch the lightning in the bottle. Cards GM Walt Jocketty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he had seen Rodriguez play four games before promoting him, and that the Memphis staff recommended him highly.

    Now performing capably as a big league left fielder (.286/.347/.451 and 5.1 VORP in 27 games with above average defense), J-Rod is making a small name for himself. That recognition alone should interest more parties, and sadly, that’s the metric used by some major-league front offices. After a stellar 2004 with Columbus, Rodriguez wasn’t too hard to spot; the Indians took a wise gamble on him, but credit the Cardinals for capitalizing on this one. Maybe with Sanders and Walker eligible free agents after this year (see below), he’ll actually have a future with the team.

    Nunez is also a fish swimming in new water for the first time, having escaped to St. Louis after eight years in Pittsburgh. He’s a middle infielder by trade but is serving as Rolen’s primary sub at third base, and he’s shocked everyone by outperforming Rolen himself. Clearly, Rolen’s battled injury, but Nunez no longer looks like the man we had pegged for a scrap-heap shortstop. Why isn’t Nunez (.306/.373/.413 this year) playing like Abraham Nunez (career .238/.306/.316 in eight erstwhile seasons)? Without a significant power spike, we have to dig a little.

    Code:
    Year       BABIP  BB/PA SO/PA
    1997-2004  .305   .085  .166
    2005       .334   .095  .108
    Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is often the culprit in these cases, but it’s not enough to explain Nunez’s success. He’s walking a little bit more, but it’s only a 1 percent shift from career levels. Bingo. Nunez has cut his strikeouts by 35 percent, and that combined with the slight uptick in patience and more bloopers falling than normal does a fair job of explaining the source of Nunez’ modest achievements.
    Through Monday, the Redbirds had a 99.85 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Clay Davenport’s Playoffs Odds Report. With October ball virtually in the bag, Tony LaRussa can rest easy. Most managers fret when half their lineup is disabled--especially if two of the ailing four are Rolen and Walker--but the Cardinals can afford to nurse them back to full health.

    On a separate note, the Cardinals have a huge crop of impending free agents. Walker, Sanders, Jeff Suppan, Julian Tavarez, Matt Morris, John Mabry, Mark Grudzielanek, Nunez, Cal Eldred, Diaz, Al Reyes and So Taguchi are not signed for 2006. Couple that with getting Cedeno off the books, and Jocketty should have a massive chunk of cash at his disposal this winter as they head into a new ballpark.

    The foundation remains--Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Rolen, Jim Edmonds and Jason Isringhausen are all under contract until at least 2007; Mark Mulder through 2006--and make no mistake, this team is driven by Pujols and Carpenter, who just may be the best hitter and pitcher in the game today. But those supporting players, the J-Rods and Nunezes and Mabrys and Taguchis, are the reason the Cardinals can rest up and coast into October.
    And from BA:

    Who do you foresee in the Cardinals' rotation next year? Chris Carpenter is the only guy locked up past 2005, though everyone else but Matt Morris could be retained either by picking up their option (Mark Mulder, Jeff Suppan) or offering arbitration (Jason Marquis). Also, what can be expected from the return of Chris Narveson, who left St. Louis last season in the trade for Larry Walker?

    Kevin Hester
    St. Louis
    Carpenter will be back, and I don't think the Cardinals will hesitate to pick up Mark Mulder's reasonable $7.25 million option, especially considering that they gave up Dan Haren, Daric Barton and Kiko Calero to get him. That leaves Morris (free agent), Suppan ($5 million option or $1 million buyout) and Marquis (arbitration-eligible after making $3 million this year).

    My guess is that St. Louis brings back two of the other three starters, most likely Morris and either Suppan or Marquis. The free-agent pickings look slim, with A.J. Burnett and Kevin Millwood the only options more attractive than Morris. The Cardinals system isn't teeming with prospects, but it does offer two who can compete for the rotation next year. It's unlikely that a contender would trust two spots to rookies, but the No. 5 job could come down to Anthony Reyes and Adam Wainwright.

    Reyes would be the favorite to win that battle, and he already gave a taste of things to come by easily handling the Brewers in an emergency start on Aug. 9. He has a plus fastball that can get into the mid-90s, and his curveball and changeup are solid. He throws strikes and his biggest need is just to stay healthy. Injuries dogged him at Southern California where he was Mark Prior's teammate, and he missed three weeks in July with a strained joint in his shoulder.

    Wainwright has bounced back this season after suffering through his worst year as a pro in 2004, when he was bothered by a strained elbow ligament. It's possible that the Cardinals could use the loser of the Reyes-Wainwright battle in middle relief in the majors until the need for another starter arises.

    The Cardinals made Narveson a second-round pick out of a North Carolina high school in 2000, and he quickly emerged as one of their top pitching prospects. He blew out his elbow the following year, however, and required Tommy John surgery. A lefthander, Narveson has regained his stuff, which is average across the board. St. Louis sent him to the Rockies in the Walker deal last August, and he went to the Red Sox when they dumped Byung-Hyun Kim in March. Boston designated Narveson for assignment when they needed a 40-man roster spot to promote Roberto Petagine, and the Cardinals claimed Narveson on waivers.

    Narveson has leveled off in Triple-A this year, going 4-5, 4.73 with a 73-50 K-BB ratio in 116 innings, but he can be a useful pitcher for the Cardinals. Though he's not on the level of Reyes or Wainwright, he's still one of the best pitching prospects in the upper levels of the St. Louis system. He projects as a swingman, capable of making occasional starts and pitching middle relief.
    Fixed

    Comment


    • #3
      Who knew Bill Pecota would be a statistical whiz?

      "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
      Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
      -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

      Comment


      • #4
        Through Monday, the Redbirds had a 99.85 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Clay Davenport’s Playoffs Odds Report.
        This is why I love statheads. Just the fact that people would devise formulas and take the time to calculate a number that represents a team's chances of making the playoffs, down to hundreths of a percent, is hilarious.

        Re: the actual content--they overestimate Rodriguez a bit. Then again, they haven't seen him get doubled off on an infield popup, twice.
        Official sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals

        "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

        Comment


        • #5
          I stopped reading when it said J-Rod is "above average defensively"
          Official sponsor of Mike Shannon's Retirement Party

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