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View Full Version : How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?



Will M
02-13-2011, 05:07 PM
Most folks think the NL Central will be a 3 team race in 2011. I have been thinking about how the Reds stack up against the Cards & the Brewers. This post is my thoughts on how they stack up against the Cards. I will attempt a fairly novel approach. I look at positions where the teams are approximately equal & then at positions where one team has an advantage. Then at the end I'll add up each teams strengths & weaknesses & see who looks better on paper. As usual any input is appreciated.

1B: Votto (7.4 WAR) vs Pujols (7.3 WAR)
Advantage: even
I can see arguments for both sides. Some would say Votto was a one year wonder but he OPSed 981 in 2009. He is also at least ( :D ) 4 years younger than Pujols. Pujols's OPS took a hit from the stratosphere last year. I wonder if his elbow is the problem.

Outfield:
Advantage: even
First lets look at Bruce (5.3 WAR) vs Holliday (6.9 WAR). On paper this seems a big win for the Cards. I suspect it may be a slight win for them in 2011 but not as big as it looks. A couple of reasons. Bruce will improve. Simply adding a half a win above replacement for 2011 puts him ahead of Holliday's 2008 & 2009 numbers. If Holliday repeats his near MVPesque 2010 then Bruce won't pass him this year but if Holliday is more like 2008 or 2009 then Bruce may be a better player in 2011.
Now lets look at Stubbs (3.2 WAR) vs Rasmus (3.5 WAR). I'm going to give a slight edge to the Cards on this one as well. Both are very good young players but Rasmus did outperform Stubbs in 2010 & is 2 years younger. However, Stubbs is a bit of a wild card for the Reds. The league could adjust to him OR he could bust out & steal 60 bases. That or a kinder UZR rating would boost his WAR higher.
Last lets look at left field. Gomes (-0.1 WAR)/Lewis (0.9 WAR) vs Berkman (2.1 WAR)/Jay (1.1 WAR).
Gomes's WAR value should be better in 2011 if he is used properly (only starts vs LHP). I suspect the Reds platoon will produce a solid WAR value. Maybe somewhere between 2-3. Berkman (IMO) will be a disaster for the Cardinals in RF. The last time he played the outfield was 2007. The last time he played the outfield well was 2003 (not a typo). He is 35 years old. At this point in his career he is either a first baseman or DH. I doubt he can play LF much less RF. Even if he matches his 2010 with the bat his defense will subtract a lot from his value.
I think the Cards may have some advantage in Holliday>Bruce & Rasmus>Stubbs. But I feel this is wiped out by Berkman<<Lewis/Gomes. I am calling the overall outfield even. I think if there is an advantage it is probably in the Reds favor.

2B: Phillips (4.0 WAR) vs Schunmaker (-0.2)
Advantage: big edge to the Reds

SS: Janish (1.0 WAR)/Renteria (1.3 WAR) vs Theriot (0.0 WAR)/Punto (1.4 WAR)
Advantage: even
Both teams wish they had better options here. Unless someone catches lightning in a bottle this looks pretty even.

3B: Rolen (5.0 WAR) vs Freese (1.5 WAR)
Advantage: Reds
Even if we knock off a couple of WARs in 2011 the Reds still come out on top.

Catchers: Hernandez (2.6 WAR)/Hanigan (2.2 WAR) vs Molina (2.6 WAR)/Laird (0.2 WAR)
Advantage: Reds
Molina's OPS was 671 vs Hernandez (792) & Hanigan (834). Yes Molina is a better defensive catcher than Ramon but overall I think the Reds duo is better than Molina plus a replacement level player. It looks to me like Molina would be better if the Cards had a better backup. Maybe he is starting to weak down a bit.

Bench/Depth:
Advantage: Reds
The Cards have a couple of decent bench guys like Jay & Punto. The Reds have their own solid bench guys. However the Reds have guys in AAA who could hold the fort down in case of injury whereas the Cards do not.

SP3: Wood (102 ip, 1.1 whip, 3.51 era) vs Garcia (163 ip, 1.3 whip, 2.70 era)
Advantage: even
I picked these two to start with. Both are young lefties who had success in the rookie years. they seem comparable.

SP4: Arroyo (215 ip, 1.1 whip, 3.88 era) vs Westbrook (202 ip, 1.33 whip, 4.22 era)
Advantage: even. maybe a slight edge to the Reds
One thing to remember is that Westbrook pitched 34 innings in 2008 & none in 2009.

SP1: Cueto (185 ip, 1.3 whip, 3.64 era) vs Wainright (230 ip, 1.1 whip, 2.42 era)
Advantage: big edge to the Cards
Cueto is a nice pitcher & probably the Reds best bet for 2011 success. But even a nice "#2 starter" is dwarfed by a Cy Young caliber guy like Wainright.

SP2: Volquez (62 ip, 1.5 whip, 4.31 era) vs Carpenter (235 ip, 1.2 whip, 3.22 era)
Advantage: big edge to the Cards
Volquez is a fairly big unknown for 2011. I'm cautiously optimistic.
Yet Carpenter is another Cy Young caliber pitcher.

SP5: Bailey (109 ip, 1.4 whip, 4.46 era)/Leake (138 ip, 1.5 whip, 4.23 era) vs Lohse (92 ip, 1.8 whip, 6.55 era)
Advantage: big edge to the Reds
The numbers speak for themselves. Lohse was a decent pitcher but has been battling injuries.

SP6/rotation depth.
Advantage: big edge to the Reds
The Reds have Leake/Bailey, Chapman, Maloney & Lecure.
The Cards have several starters with the potential to break down. If they do they have Blake Hawksworth, Ian Snell & Miguel Batista.

Bullpen:
Advantage: Reds
This one is tough due to the volatility of relievers. The Reds have a nice deep pen. The Cards have some guys who seem to get the job done. I suspect they don't have the depth the Reds do if someone goes down or goes bad. Also they are weak in terms of left handed relievers.

Lets sum up:
The Cards big (and only) advantages lie in their two TOR starters.
The Reds have big advantages at 2B & 5th starter/rotation edpth.
While we would all love to have two TOR starters the Reds big advantages at these other spots may make up for this. Phillips was 4 wins better than Schumaker last year. Is Wainwright worth 4 wins over Cueto?
Lets say Carpenter is worth a ton more than Volquez. How much more is Bailey, Leake & the Reds 7th/8th/9th starters worth vs Lohse & the St Louis dregs? I mentioned in another thread that the average playoff team in 2010 had 19 games started by their 6th best (or worse) starter. Should that fate hit the Reds & Cards equally then the Reds are in a much better position.

Reds have advantages at 3B, catcher, position player depth & bullpen.

If all five of the Cards starters stay healthy and Berkman can play RF defensively then I think the Cards would beat the Reds. To m the odds of this happening seem very low.

IMO it seems the Reds are a better team on paper than the Cards in 2011.

Thoughts?

CougarQuest
02-13-2011, 05:14 PM
I think the Reds still have a better kicker than the Cards

:cool:

TheNext44
02-13-2011, 05:57 PM
Depth is the biggest and most important difference, imo. It's hard to find a contending team that has as little depth as the Cardinals this season.

MikeThierry
02-13-2011, 11:57 PM
I don't know if WAR is the best way to evaluate a player. I just find flaws in the stat in general. I think it is an OK guide to use but using it to evaluate player vs player on different teams shouldn't be the end all of the discussion.

Anyway, I think it is a nice breakdown but there seems to be some flaws with it. First off, I don't know if you can say 3rd base is a total advantage to the Reds. Last year, Freese was in the running for ROY for half of the season until he was injured. For a while there, Freese was the most consistent player on the Cardinals besides Pujols. If Freese can come back to playing like he did, he will be one of the key contributors for the Cardinals. I also don't think Rolen will have the sort of year he did this year as he did last year. He turns 36 this year and I just think it is a bit unreasonable to expect that he will have the same performance from last year. On a whole, I just think it is tough to say that this is a clear advantage for the Reds.

As far as giving the Reds the advantage in the Catching department, what exactly are you looking for? I will give you that the Reds catchers are better offensively than Molina (though Molina had a down offensive year) but I still think you have to give the edge to the Cardinals simply because of pure defense at this position. Molina is the best defensive catcher in the game. He literally shuts down the run game, saving runs from being scored. There are teams that go into a series with the Cardinals that shut down their run game. This is the one position in the game where defense and the ability to handle a pitching staff is valued more than offense. It also must be noted that Molina's cERA led the majors last year with a 3.24. I just think these factors have to be looked at when discussing the catcher position rather than just purely offense.

As far as Bruce vs. Holliday, I don't know what from Holliday's 2008 and 2009 stats you are looking at to say that Bruce will be a better player. Bruce has never had a batting average of .321 and .313. I just think that even if Bruce does improve a bit, he is still going to have a ways off before even beginning to match Holliday's play.

I think there should also be some more in depth research done on the Bullpens. I don't think this is an automatic advantage for the Reds. The Cardinals have one of the best right handed setup mans in baseball in Kyle McClellan. In 2010, he had a 2.27 ERA coming out of the pen. They also have Motte who had a 2.24 ERA coming out of the pen. If you also look at the off season move of getting Brian Tallet from the Jays, that kind of solves the left handed issue you were talking about. While his numbers might not look impressive from the outside, when you delve in deeper the Cardinals kind of got a good find. The Jays were using him as a starter/long relief last year where as Duncan is putting him in the pen where he kind of should have been in the first place. Look at his stats against left handed hitters. Lefties had a .176 BA against him and he has a 4.67 SO/BB ratio. His splits are noticeably different against right handers. It just makes you realize why the Jays have been bad for so many years. They don't put their players in positions to win. Anyway, back to my central point. The Cards bullpen cannot be overlooked and I don't know if you can say that the Reds clearly have a better pen.

As far as Pujols vs. Votto, I don't even know why this is a debate. Pujols is still the best offensive force in the game today. You pointed out that his OPS fell from the previous year. While that is true, it could be argued that in 2009 was Pujols best season. He lead the NL in 8 offensive categories. In my opinion, it is a bit unfair to point to that "decline" as an indication that his overall game is declining. If you look at his 2010 OPS of 1.011 compared to his career OPS of 1.050 (best in baseball) it does show decline but not enough in my opinion to say it is a trend. Besides, in 2002 and 2007 he had worse OPS. In fact, in 2002 he was voted second in MVP behind Bonds.

MikeThierry
02-14-2011, 01:17 AM
One other issue that wasn't brought up is coaching. I'll still take a Tony LaRussa/Dave Duncan combo over any manager/pitching coach duo in the bigs.

Will M
02-14-2011, 01:37 AM
I don't know if WAR is the best way to evaluate a player. I just find flaws in the stat in general. I think it is an OK guide to use but using it to evaluate player vs player on different teams shouldn't be the end all of the discussion. .
I think its a fair starting point. I don't know of a better stat.
Note that I am not simply putting the players 2010 WAR values into a 2011 spreadsheet. I am using them as a base & then trying to judge the direction and amount of dropoff in 2011 based on certain factors. Say up for Bruce due to age, even for Phillips who is in his prime, down for Rolen due to age/injuries & down for Berkman due to age and the defensive dropoff by playing him in RF.


Anyway, I think it is a nice breakdown but there seems to be some flaws with it. First off, I don't know if you can say 3rd base is a total advantage to the Reds. Last year, Freese was in the running for ROY for half of the season until he was injured. For a while there, Freese was the most consistent player on the Cardinals besides Pujols. If Freese can come back to playing like he did, he will be one of the key contributors for the Cardinals. I also don't think Rolen will have the sort of year he did this year as he did last year. He turns 36 this year and I just think it is a bit unreasonable to expect that he will have the same performance from last year. On a whole, I just think it is tough to say that this is a clear advantage for the Reds. .
Rolen was worth 5 WAR last year. He may certainly tail off from that. However, he was worth 3.8 WAR in 2009 & 3.0 WAR in 2008. Freese had a nice half season as a 27 year old rookie then got injured. He didn't show any speed & not much power (although he did hit for power in the minors). He looks like a guy that could be a nice bench guy or hold down a position until a better option can be found. He doesn't look like a 2.5 WAR solid major league regular to me. From my viewpoint this was is a clear "advantage Reds". Not in the same way Carpenter is better than Pujols or Phillips is better than Schumaker. However IMO Rolen is a solid bet to outproduce Freese in 2011.


As far as giving the Reds the advantage in the Catching department, what exactly are you looking for? I will give you that the Reds catchers are better offensively than Molina (though Molina had a down offensive year) but I still think you have to give the edge to the Cardinals simply because of pure defense at this position. Molina is the best defensive catcher in the game. He literally shuts down the run game, saving runs from being scored. There are teams that go into a series with the Cardinals that shut down their run game. This is the one position in the game where defense and the ability to handle a pitching staff is valued more than offense. It also must be noted that Molina's cERA led the majors last year with a 3.24. I just think these factors have to be looked at when discussing the catcher position rather than just purely offense..
Molina: 1138 innings, 35sb/33cs, 5 E, 7 PB
Ramon: 732 innings, 35sb/18cs, 4 E, 2 PB
Ryan: 525 innings, 28sb/13cs, 4 E, 2 pb
Now, I don't doubt that Molina is a better defensive catcher than either of the Reds duo. However, our guys aren't bad defensively & they outproduced Molina offensively by a wide margin. Add in the 25-30 games that the Cards will start a replacement level guy & thats why I give this one to the Reds.
If it was Molina/Laird vs Ramon/Corky or Molina/Laird vs Hanigan/Corky then I'd say the Cards have the edge. But the Reds have the ability to keep both of their above average catchers sharp whereas the Cards have to run Molina into the ground.


As far as Bruce vs. Holliday, I don't know what from Holliday's 2008 and 2009 stats you are looking at to say that Bruce will be a better player. Bruce has never had a batting average of .321 and .313. I just think that even if Bruce does improve a bit, he is still going to have a ways off before even beginning to match Holliday's play..
I am looking at Holliday's WAR stats. Bruce is a gold glove caliber defender in right. Holliday is an above average defender in left. That makes Bruce a much more valuable player based on defensive metrics. Holliday was worth 5.7 WAR in 2008 & 5.6 WAR in 2009. Bruce was worth 5.3 WAR last year. So, based on WAR, a 1/2 game improvement by a young & upcoming Bruce combined with a dropoff by Holliday to his 2008/2009 form would make Bruce the more valuable guy in 2011. Now, that being said I still rated Holliday better than Bruce in 2011. The reason I rated the outfields as 'even' is because I expect a disaster in RF for the Redbirds.


I think there should also be some more in depth research done on the Bullpens. I don't think this is an automatic advantage for the Reds. The Cardinals have one of the best right handed setup mans in baseball in Kyle McClellan. In 2010, he had a 2.27 ERA coming out of the pen. They also have Motte who had a 2.24 ERA coming out of the pen. If you also look at the off season move of getting Brian Tallet from the Jays, that kind of solves the left handed issue you were talking about. While his numbers might not look impressive from the outside, when you delve in deeper the Cardinals kind of got a good find. The Jays were using him as a starter/long relief last year where as Duncan is putting him in the pen where he kind of should have been in the first place. Look at his stats against left handed hitters. Lefties had a .176 BA against him and he has a 4.67 SO/BB ratio. His splits are noticeably different against right handers. It just makes you realize why the Jays have been bad for so many years. They don't put their players in positions to win. Anyway, back to my central point. The Cards bullpen cannot be overlooked and I don't know if you can say that the Reds clearly have a better pen. .
I don't think the Cards have a bad bullpen. I think its average to above average. However I think the Reds pen is very very strong. The Cards have Franklin, McClelan, Boggs & Motte. They then have 2 LOOGYs (Miller & Tallet). The Reds counter with Cordero, Masset, Chapman, Bray & Ondrusek. They have a host of quality arms for the last two spots. I think the Reds lefties are significantly better than the Cards & the Reds bullpen depth is much better than the Cards. Thats why I give the Reds the edge here.


As far as Pujols vs. Votto, I don't even know why this is a debate. Pujols is still the best offensive force in the game today. You pointed out that his OPS fell from the previous year. While that is true, it could be argued that in 2009 was Pujols best season. He lead the NL in 8 offensive categories. In my opinion, it is a bit unfair to point to that "decline" as an indication that his overall game is declining. If you look at his 2010 OPS of 1.011 compared to his career OPS of 1.050 (best in baseball) it does show decline but not enough in my opinion to say it is a trend. Besides, in 2002 and 2007 he had worse OPS. In fact, in 2002 he was voted second in MVP behind Bonds.

Votto will be 27 opening day. He has OPSed 0.981 & 1.02 the last 2 years.
Pujols will be 31 opening day. He has OPSed 1.10 & 1.01 the last 2 years.
Votto's 2010 was not a fluke. He is 4 years younger than Pujols. I don't think you can make a good case thas THIS year Pujols is better than Votto. Sure he might be. Maybe he returns to his career norm of an ~1.05 OPS & Votto OPSes ~1.00. But its also possible that Joey adds a few points to his OPS & an aging injured (elbow) Pujols drops a few points. I know Albert has been absolutely great. First ballot HOF. However, thats in the past. I think for 2011its a pretty fair estimate to grade this 'even'. Maybe i am being a 'Homer' but I don't think so.

Homer Bailey
02-14-2011, 01:51 AM
Very well done will.

medford
02-14-2011, 10:07 AM
A couple of things...

I don't know that it makes much sense to compare starter to starter in a slot system. After game 1, there's no telling how the rotations shake out. Games are rained out, starters skipped, other pushed back due to injury, etc.. Though I think you got the general idea correct. The top of the Cards rotations beat the Reds rotation unless a couple of the young guns take the preverbial "next step" The Reds have a ton more depth, which serves well over a 162 games. In a short series in the playoffs, the Cards rotation, "as is" is the better choice. For the long stretch, the Reds win out. The key for the Cards is staying healthy, they had to turn to a bunch of sub-standard guys by seasons end, patch work things together, which contributed to their down fall. Carpenter showed signs of wearing down towards the end of last season. Was that a 1 year thing, or is he begining the natural decline as age hits? Will the Cards have to reduce his work load? Will he be able to make it a full season? I think all of those questions are huge keys for the Cards this year, perhaps the biggerst factor in their success/failure.

Does WAR include defense? I assume so, so wouldn't part of Berkman's WAR include his defense at 1b/DH last year? You made note of this in your analysis, and I'm still scratching my head on why the Cards dished out so much money for him. I have a hard time believing he can be anything passable in the OF. I have my doubts that he can hold up over a full season playing in the OF, which I also tend to think will effect his bat. Again the lack of depth could bit the Cards here as well. I don't see anyone on the immediate future who could come in, and provide a big spark in the OF if forced into action due to injury.

Rolen v Freese. I wouldn't surprise me to see this turn into a win for the Cards. I have my doubts that Rolen will hold up, he'll certainly need even more time off this year. The key for the Reds is if someone like Francisco, Renteria or frasier can take on 1-2 starts a week and provide solid offense and defense while in there. The reds were fortunate to get a career like season out of Cairo while filling in for Rolen. However, it was obvious that Dusty didn't trust the numbers Cairo was putting up last year, for as the season wore on, and Rolen began to wear down, he wasn't given as much rest as he likely needed, continueing the wear. The Reds will need someone they trust to give Rolen a day off, even if it comes in a key series vs the Cards or Brewers in early september.

Overall, good work. If the Cards can stay healthy, they'll be in it the entire season. I know that's always a factor with all teams, it just seems like it matters more to the Cardinals than many contenders.

Dan
02-14-2011, 10:17 AM
Maybe the Reds have a slight advantage on the field, but the Cardinals have Cris Carpenter's son!

oneupper
02-14-2011, 10:20 AM
My unscientific take:

The Cards scare the hell out of me.

They may have compromised their defense with their offseason moves, but IMO the offensive upgrade is huge.

Last year, the Cards couldn't buy a hit from their weaker links in the lineup. For opposing pitchers, it was get through Pujols and Holiday and you were home free. Ryan, Lopez, Molina...easy pickings. Rasmus was the only other tough out and he had his ups and downs. IMO, that's one reason they couldn't beat the likes of Brewers, Cubs and even Pirates down the stretch.

Theriot and Berkman may be hacks in the field, but they are tough outs. They always make pitchers work. Freese or whoever plays 3B is an upgrade on Lopez.

Cards look like sure 90+ game winners unless someone important goes down. I just hope the REDS keep up with them.

MikeThierry
02-14-2011, 11:14 AM
Will, we are just going to have to agree to disagree on Votto vs. Pujols. Until Pujols proves that he can't do it anymore, I will always take Pujols. Pitchers pitch him completely different than any other hitter in the game, including Votto, Cabrerra, and Hamilton. Pujols is the only player in baseball that can demand a 30 million dollar contract and get it for a single year. While that really doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things, it just shows you how valuable of a player he is compared to everyone else. He is a better defensive player than Votto as well. Is range factor was off the charts last year compared to everyone else at that position. Until Pujols ends his streak of .300 avg, 30 hrs, and 100 RBI's, I'm still not going to put anyone above him. This is especially true in a contract year.


Molina: 1138 innings, 35sb/33cs, 5 E, 7 PB
Ramon: 732 innings, 35sb/18cs, 4 E, 2 PB
Ryan: 525 innings, 28sb/13cs, 4 E, 2 pb
Now, I don't doubt that Molina is a better defensive catcher than either of the Reds duo. However, our guys aren't bad defensively & they outproduced Molina offensively by a wide margin. Add in the 25-30 games that the Cards will start a replacement level guy & thats why I give this one to the Reds.
If it was Molina/Laird vs Ramon/Corky or Molina/Laird vs Hanigan/Corky then I'd say the Cards have the edge. But the Reds have the ability to keep both of their above average catchers sharp whereas the Cards have to run Molina into the ground.

I understand what you are saying here but Molina had a down offensive year and both Ramon/Ryan had career offensive years. Isn't it reasonable to expect that Molina progresses to the means and that Ramon/Ryan regress to the means? I just don't think you can put a value on the ability to shut down the run game and the ability to handle a pitching staff. Both areas, Molina is superior to than Ryan/Ramon. I am still going to choose Molina.


I am looking at Holliday's WAR stats. Bruce is a gold glove caliber defender in right. Holliday is an above average defender in left. That makes Bruce a much more valuable player based on defensive metrics. Holliday was worth 5.7 WAR in 2008 & 5.6 WAR in 2009. Bruce was worth 5.3 WAR last year. So, based on WAR, a 1/2 game improvement by a young & upcoming Bruce combined with a dropoff by Holliday to his 2008/2009 form would make Bruce the more valuable guy in 2011. Now, that being said I still rated Holliday better than Bruce in 2011. The reason I rated the outfields as 'even' is because I expect a disaster in RF for the Redbirds.

The issue of Bruce being a 5.7 WAR player is one of the reasons why I have a problem with the whole WAR stat to begin with. Offensively, if you look at the stats, Bruce would match up more with Rasmus rather than Holliday. In fact, if you look at the 2010 stats Rasmus had a better OPB, SLG, OPS+, and OPS than Bruce did last year. They are essentially the same player on the offensive level. Yes, I understand Jay is a good defensive player. However, the Cardinals have induced the most ground balls in baseball for the past couple of years. They do not rely on their outfield defense as much as most clubs do. That is why I think you have to look at the players and compare it to the role that are used on their clubs. Obviously, the Reds would need great defense in the outfield due to GABP being almost a bam box. However, the Cardinals can suffer a bit on outfield defense because they are less reliant on that defense due to the ground ball factor and Busch Stadium being one of the more pitcher friendly parks in the game. If Colby Rasmus and Jay Bruce are essentially the same player, the Reds simply do not have a player in the outfield that can match up to Holliday. That is why I give the edge to the Cards in the outfield.


Rolen was worth 5 WAR last year. He may certainly tail off from that. However, he was worth 3.8 WAR in 2009 & 3.0 WAR in 2008. Freese had a nice half season as a 27 year old rookie then got injured. He didn't show any speed & not much power (although he did hit for power in the minors). He looks like a guy that could be a nice bench guy or hold down a position until a better option can be found. He doesn't look like a 2.5 WAR solid major league regular to me. From my viewpoint this was is a clear "advantage Reds". Not in the same way Carpenter is better than Pujols or Phillips is better than Schumaker. However IMO Rolen is a solid bet to outproduce Freese in 2011.

Just as you hold reservation about Berkman in the Cards outfield, I hold the same reservation for Rolen on the Reds. You simply cannot count on him being injury free this whole season. I just feel that is going to be a rotating position this year for the Reds. I also think there is much more upside with Freese. As you pointed out, he was a rookie last season. He is only going to get better, including that power you wanted to see.


I also understand people's reservation about Berkman. I share it. However, for me this is a low risk/high reward position for the Cardinals. The potential of Berkman in that lineup with Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, and Freese is too great to ignore. If the Berkman experiment fails, Jon Jay proved last year that he could hit well in front of Pujols. I'll just put it this way, Jon Jay wasn't the reason why the Cardinals failed last season. They failed because Shumaker, Brendan Ryan, and Lopez failed. Jon Jay had a great rookie season last year so I'm not afraid of what will happen if Berkman fails in RF.

Homer Bailey
02-14-2011, 12:10 PM
Will, we are just going to have to agree to disagree on Votto vs. Pujols. Until Pujols proves that he can't do it anymore, I will always take Pujols. Pitchers pitch him completely different than any other hitter in the game, including Votto, Cabrerra, and Hamilton. Pujols is the only player in baseball that can demand a 30 million dollar contract and get it for a single year. While that really doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things, it just shows you how valuable of a player he is compared to everyone else. He is a better defensive player than Votto as well. Is range factor was off the charts last year compared to everyone else at that position. Until Pujols ends his streak of .300 avg, 30 hrs, and 100 RBI's, I'm still not going to put anyone above him. This is especially true in a contract year.

It's completely reasonable to choose your own guy, and most in baseball would choose Pujols. Me? Give me the guy who is just entering his prime, vs. the guy who is probably already past it. No one has ever doubted Pujols' past greatness, but the guy has some mileage on him. Still obviously an all star and one of the best 2 or 3 players in the game, but right now, for 2011, I'd honestly rather have Votto.



I understand what you are saying here but Molina had a down offensive year and both Ramon/Ryan had career offensive years. Isn't it reasonable to expect that Molina progresses to the means and that Ramon/Ryan regress to the means? I just don't think you can put a value on the ability to shut down the run game and the ability to handle a pitching staff. Both areas, Molina is superior to than Ryan/Ramon. I am still going to choose Molina.

It's close. For the Cardinals, it probably makes more sense to have Molina because of how poor the Cardinals D is, especially up the middle, so if I'm a Cards fan, I probably want Molina to.



The issue of Bruce being a 5.7 WAR player is one of the reasons why I have a problem with the whole WAR stat to begin with. Offensively, if you look at the stats, Bruce would match up more with Rasmus rather than Holliday. In fact, if you look at the 2010 stats Rasmus had a better OPB, SLG, OPS+, and OPS than Bruce did last year. They are essentially the same player on the offensive level. Yes, I understand Jay is a good defensive player. However, the Cardinals have induced the most ground balls in baseball for the past couple of years. They do not rely on their outfield defense as much as most clubs do. That is why I think you have to look at the players and compare it to the role that are used on their clubs. Obviously, the Reds would need great defense in the outfield due to GABP being almost a bam box. However, the Cardinals can suffer a bit on outfield defense because they are less reliant on that defense due to the ground ball factor and Busch Stadium being one of the more pitcher friendly parks in the game. If Colby Rasmus and Jay Bruce are essentially the same player, the Reds simply do not have a player in the outfield that can match up to Holliday. That is why I give the edge to the Cards in the outfield.

Bruce did not hit his stride offensively until the last two months of the year, and he was pretty much the best player in baseball over those last two months. I would not be surprised at all to see Bruce in the .950 to .975 OPS range this year. You don't see it because you don't watch him play, but he is a truly, truly an elite defender. The guy gets to everything, and rarely has to make the fancy diving play because he camps out under balls that others have to dive for because of his superb reads. There is a ton of value in what that does for a pitching staff, and how that ultimately saves runs. However, I do think that WAR over-rates defense just a bit.

Bruce is set for a monster offensive season in 2010. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him post a 6.0+ WAR.

Also, you have it completely backwards about the need for a solid outfield based on ball parks. As Busch is more of a pitchers park, it's MUCH more important to have an outfield with range compared to a smaller park. More balls will be put into play at Busch, and you will need outfielders that can cover ground and make outs.


Just as you hold reservation about Berkman in the Cards outfield, I hold the same reservation for Rolen on the Reds. You simply cannot count on him being injury free this whole season. I just feel that is going to be a rotating position this year for the Reds. I also think there is much more upside with Freese. As you pointed out, he was a rookie last season. He is only going to get better, including that power you wanted to see.

Upside in a guy who didn't make the majors until he was 26? A guy that has 4 home runs in over 300 PA's? And has been aided by a career .376 BABIP? C'mon man. Rolen may not be a spring chicken, but when he plays, the guy is nails. Absolutely money defender, and a great line drive hitter. He may not post the power numbers that he posted in the first half of last year, but he's a complete professional, and absolutely more valuable at 3rd base than David Freese.


I also understand people's reservation about Berkman. I share it. However, for me this is a low risk/high reward position for the Cardinals. The potential of Berkman in that lineup with Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, and Freese is too great to ignore. If the Berkman experiment fails, Jon Jay proved last year that he could hit well in front of Pujols. I'll just put it this way, Jon Jay wasn't the reason why the Cardinals failed last season. They failed because Shumaker, Brendan Ryan, and Lopez failed. Jon Jay had a great rookie season last year so I'm not afraid of what will happen if Berkman fails in RF.

Jon Jay didn't "prove" anything. He had pretty good numbers over 300 PA's, but that doesn't "prove" squat. Again, he was a 25 year old rookie aided by a very lucky .350 BABIP. Another guy that hits for basically no power.

Berkman just doesn't have anything left. He's probably going to be the worst defender in the majors next year in RF. I seriously can't wait to watch it.

MikeThierry
02-14-2011, 03:03 PM
Homer, I'm going to lunch so I'll respond to you more in depth later but I don't know how you can say a guy (Pujols) is past his prime when he lead the league in HR's and RBI's in 2010 and had a career year in 2009.

Homer Bailey
02-14-2011, 03:19 PM
Homer, I'm going to lunch so I'll respond to you more in depth later but I don't know how you can say a guy (Pujols) is past his prime when he lead the league in HR's and RBI's in 2010 and had a career year in 2009.

I'm saying he is more likely to be past his prime than on his way up, or at his peak. Still a top 3 if not top 1 player in the league, but I don't think it's crazy to say he is past his prime. His prime just happens to be other-worldly.

I don't mean it as a diss to Pujols at all. In fact, it's way more of a compliment than a diss. He posted the third lowest wOBA of his career last year. He's still got plenty left in the tank, I just don't think he'll ever be 2006-2009 Albert ever again.

Will M
02-14-2011, 04:50 PM
A couple of things...

I don't know that it makes much sense to compare starter to starter in a slot system. After game 1, there's no telling how the rotations shake out. Games are rained out, starters skipped, other pushed back due to injury, etc.. Though I think you got the general idea correct. The top of the Cards rotations beat the Reds rotation unless a couple of the young guns take the preverbial "next step" The Reds have a ton more depth, which serves well over a 162 games. In a short series in the playoffs, the Cards rotation, "as is" is the better choice. For the long stretch, the Reds win out. The key for the Cards is staying healthy, they had to turn to a bunch of sub-standard guys by seasons end, patch work things together, which contributed to their down fall. Carpenter showed signs of wearing down towards the end of last season. Was that a 1 year thing, or is he begining the natural decline as age hits? Will the Cards have to reduce his work load? Will he be able to make it a full season? I think all of those questions are huge keys for the Cards this year, perhaps the biggerst factor in their success/failure.

Does WAR include defense? I assume so, so wouldn't part of Berkman's WAR include his defense at 1b/DH last year? You made note of this in your analysis, and I'm still scratching my head on why the Cards dished out so much money for him. I have a hard time believing he can be anything passable in the OF. I have my doubts that he can hold up over a full season playing in the OF, which I also tend to think will effect his bat. Again the lack of depth could bit the Cards here as well. I don't see anyone on the immediate future who could come in, and provide a big spark in the OF if forced into action due to injury.

Rolen v Freese. I wouldn't surprise me to see this turn into a win for the Cards. I have my doubts that Rolen will hold up, he'll certainly need even more time off this year. The key for the Reds is if someone like Francisco, Renteria or frasier can take on 1-2 starts a week and provide solid offense and defense while in there. The reds were fortunate to get a career like season out of Cairo while filling in for Rolen. However, it was obvious that Dusty didn't trust the numbers Cairo was putting up last year, for as the season wore on, and Rolen began to wear down, he wasn't given as much rest as he likely needed, continueing the wear. The Reds will need someone they trust to give Rolen a day off, even if it comes in a key series vs the Cards or Brewers in early september.

Overall, good work. If the Cards can stay healthy, they'll be in it the entire season. I know that's always a factor with all teams, it just seems like it matters more to the Cardinals than many contenders.

WAR does include defense. I agree with you. To me its near GM malpractice to pay $8M for Lance Berkman to play RF.

The reasons I 'slotted' the pitchers was to try & see if the 2 teams had some guys that were roughly equal. I think they do. Wood ~ Garcia. Arroyo ~ Westbrook. That way it seemed easier to see who was left & try to get a feel for just how much better the Cards #1 & #2 guys are & just how much better the Reds #5/6/depth guys are.

We'll have to 'agree to disagree' on Rolen vs Freese. I think Rolen will certainly drop off from his stellar 2010 but not enough for Freese to be a better player in 2011. I just don't think Freese has the pedigree (he was a 27 year old rookie) or power to be an everyday player. Can it happen? sure. Brady Clark was a 'late bloomer' as was Neslson Cruz. Ryan Hanigan has done a fine job the last couple of years. However, most guys who have a brief flash of success like Freese can't sustain it. Chris Dickerson would be a recent example. There are many others.

Will M
02-14-2011, 05:01 PM
My unscientific take:

The Cards scare the hell out of me.

They may have compromised their defense with their offseason moves, but IMO the offensive upgrade is huge.

Last year, the Cards couldn't buy a hit from their weaker links in the lineup. For opposing pitchers, it was get through Pujols and Holiday and you were home free. Ryan, Lopez, Molina...easy pickings. Rasmus was the only other tough out and he had his ups and downs. IMO, that's one reason they couldn't beat the likes of Brewers, Cubs and even Pirates down the stretch.

Theriot and Berkman may be hacks in the field, but they are tough outs. They always make pitchers work. Freese or whoever plays 3B is an upgrade on Lopez.

Cards look like sure 90+ game winners unless someone important goes down. I just hope the REDS keep up with them.

I guess I am less impressed with the Cardinals 'offensive upgrade'.
To me Berkman looked old last year. Lots of guys in the pre PEDS era fell off a cliff at about age 33-35. Dale Murphy & Jim Rice come to mind. To me Berkman looks like a guy whose bat speed is much slower than in his prime. He is especially woeful against lefties (ops 517 in 2010 & 710 in 2009).

Ryan Theriot was not a good player last year. His OPS was 633. This looks to be on a downward trend (2008-745, 2009-712, 2010-633). To me he doesn't look like much of an upgrade (offensively or defensively).

Will M
02-14-2011, 05:12 PM
Will, we are just going to have to agree to disagree on Votto vs. Pujols. Until Pujols proves that he can't do it anymore, I will always take Pujols. Pitchers pitch him completely different than any other hitter in the game, including Votto, Cabrerra, and Hamilton. Pujols is the only player in baseball that can demand a 30 million dollar contract and get it for a single year. While that really doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things, it just shows you how valuable of a player he is compared to everyone else. He is a better defensive player than Votto as well. Is range factor was off the charts last year compared to everyone else at that position. Until Pujols ends his streak of .300 avg, 30 hrs, and 100 RBI's, I'm still not going to put anyone above him. This is especially true in a contract year.



I understand what you are saying here but Molina had a down offensive year and both Ramon/Ryan had career offensive years. Isn't it reasonable to expect that Molina progresses to the means and that Ramon/Ryan regress to the means? I just don't think you can put a value on the ability to shut down the run game and the ability to handle a pitching staff. Both areas, Molina is superior to than Ryan/Ramon. I am still going to choose Molina.



The issue of Bruce being a 5.7 WAR player is one of the reasons why I have a problem with the whole WAR stat to begin with. Offensively, if you look at the stats, Bruce would match up more with Rasmus rather than Holliday. In fact, if you look at the 2010 stats Rasmus had a better OPB, SLG, OPS+, and OPS than Bruce did last year. They are essentially the same player on the offensive level. Yes, I understand Jay is a good defensive player. However, the Cardinals have induced the most ground balls in baseball for the past couple of years. They do not rely on their outfield defense as much as most clubs do. That is why I think you have to look at the players and compare it to the role that are used on their clubs. Obviously, the Reds would need great defense in the outfield due to GABP being almost a bam box. However, the Cardinals can suffer a bit on outfield defense because they are less reliant on that defense due to the ground ball factor and Busch Stadium being one of the more pitcher friendly parks in the game. If Colby Rasmus and Jay Bruce are essentially the same player, the Reds simply do not have a player in the outfield that can match up to Holliday. That is why I give the edge to the Cards in the outfield.



Just as you hold reservation about Berkman in the Cards outfield, I hold the same reservation for Rolen on the Reds. You simply cannot count on him being injury free this whole season. I just feel that is going to be a rotating position this year for the Reds. I also think there is much more upside with Freese. As you pointed out, he was a rookie last season. He is only going to get better, including that power you wanted to see.


I also understand people's reservation about Berkman. I share it. However, for me this is a low risk/high reward position for the Cardinals. The potential of Berkman in that lineup with Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, and Freese is too great to ignore. If the Berkman experiment fails, Jon Jay proved last year that he could hit well in front of Pujols. I'll just put it this way, Jon Jay wasn't the reason why the Cardinals failed last season. They failed because Shumaker, Brendan Ryan, and Lopez failed. Jon Jay had a great rookie season last year so I'm not afraid of what will happen if Berkman fails in RF.

Just a few numbers. The predictions for 2011 OPS are from fangraphs. They are the average of Bill James, Marcel & fans. For the most part they are similar although Ramon's slugging for 2011 had some variance.

Molina:
2008 OPS 740
2009 OPS 749
2010 OPS 671
2011 OPS 708 predicition

Hanigan:
2009 OPS 692
2010 OPS 834
2011 OPS 750 prediction

Hernandez:
2009 OPS 699
2010 OPS 792
2011 OPS 717 prediction

Ok. Molina is a great defensive catcher. IMO Hanigan is above average defensively & Ramon is average defensively. So you could argue that Molina's defense outweighs his weaker bat. Its tough to quantify. However, I think you are missing a key point. Molina can't catch every game. In fact his weak stick in 2010 could be due to the fact that the Cards started him in 135 games last year. Even if his stick rebounds the Cards will still start a replacement level catcher in ~27 games. Thats 17% of the season. Its why I think the Reds catchers are better than the Cards even if Molina rebounds a bit offensively & Hanigan/Hernnadez regress a bit offensively.

Homer Bailey
02-14-2011, 05:32 PM
Will,

If you've got the opportunity, I wouldn't mind seeing a similar breakdown for the Brewers, or other NL central teams. Just a thought.

Will M
02-14-2011, 06:28 PM
Will,

If you've got the opportunity, I wouldn't mind seeing a similar breakdown for the Brewers, or other NL central teams. Just a thought.

Thanks for the support!

I have been mulling both the Reds vs Cards and the Reds vs Brewers matchups for a while. The matchup vs the Brewers isn't as easy to do but I am planning to post something soon.

Maybe I'll look at the Cubs as well. It seems that the other two teams are well behind the best teams in the division.

bucksfan2
02-15-2011, 09:36 AM
My thoughts on this matter.

I will take Pujols and its not even close. Votto had a Pujols type season last year but he hasn't done it over the course of 5 or so years. There lies the difference.

The Cards big 4: Carpenter, Wainwright, Pujols, and Holliday are tough to match. The Reds only have one player who fits into that mold right now and that is Votto. If your going by WAR Bruce may venture somewhere into that arena because of his defense. The issue I see with the Cards big four is they all could break down. Carpenter is an injury risk every season and Wainwright was sat down for the final few starts last season. If they can avoid the injury bug then they will be very tough.

The Cards advantage: 1b, LF, TOR Pitching
Reds Advantage: RF, 3b, 2b, MOR and BOR pitching, Depth
Push: SS, CF, C
Up in the air: Bullpen. Its just too variable year in year out to make a decision right now.

The reason the Cards could win the division is if Carpenter, Wainwright, and Garcia all start and pitch at a high level for 32 games. Berkman who I think will be an utter disaster in RF will have to show he can play in the OF and stay healthy. IMO if Berkman plays everyday in RF he will be limited to 100 games.

_Sir_Charles_
02-15-2011, 09:44 AM
I guess I am less impressed with the Cardinals 'offensive upgrade'.
To me Berkman looked old last year. Lots of guys in the pre PEDS era fell off a cliff at about age 33-35. Dale Murphy & Jim Rice come to mind. To me Berkman looks like a guy whose bat speed is much slower than in his prime. He is especially woeful against lefties (ops 517 in 2010 & 710 in 2009).

Ryan Theriot was not a good player last year. His OPS was 633. This looks to be on a downward trend (2008-745, 2009-712, 2010-633). To me he doesn't look like much of an upgrade (offensively or defensively).

Very much THIS.

I firmly believe we should be much more concerned with the Brewers and Cubs than with the Cardinals. Sure, they've got 4 really good players...but this ain't basketball, you need more than that to be successful. The Cards as a whole are trending down, while the Brewers & Cubs seem to be moving in the opposite direction. (Brewcrew considerably moreso than the cubs to this point)

Homer Bailey
02-15-2011, 10:45 AM
My thoughts on this matter.

I will take Pujols and its not even close. Votto had a Pujols type season last year but he hasn't done it over the course of 5 or so years. There lies the difference.



The fact that Votto hasn't done it over the last 5 years, and is trending upward is what makes me like Votto more, and the fact that Albert has done it over the last 5 years, and is more likely to be on the decline then on the rise, also contributes.

Just because someone has done it over the course of 5 years or so doesn't make him more likely to do it going forward.

bucksfan2
02-15-2011, 10:49 AM
The fact that Votto hasn't done it over the last 5 years, and is trending upward is what makes me like Votto more, and the fact that Albert has done it over the last 5 years, and is more likely to be on the decline then on the rise, also contributes.

Just because someone has done it over the course of 5 years or so doesn't make him more likely to do it going forward.

Albert Pujols has been considered the best player in baseball over the past 5+ years. Votto is trending in the right direction but hasn't shown the consistency that Pujols has. To compare Votto and Pujols evenly speaks of homerism.

Homer Bailey
02-15-2011, 10:52 AM
Albert Pujols has been considered the best player in baseball over the past 5+ years. Votto is trending in the right direction but hasn't shown the consistency that Pujols has. To compare Votto and Pujols evenly speaks of homerism.

No, it does not. I've made fair points about their projections going forward, and you just keep talking about the past. I'm not here to talk about the past.

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/stone/mcgwirecong.jpg

medford
02-15-2011, 11:06 AM
My thoughts on this matter.

I will take Pujols and its not even close. Votto had a Pujols type season last year but he hasn't done it over the course of 5 or so years. There lies the difference.



I guess the question lies, at what point do you take the leap and assume that Joey isn't a 1 year wonder? Do you wait until he puts together 3, 4, 5 seasons of similar stats (keeping in mind, that despite the issues he had 2 seasons ago, he still put up great offensive numbers)? Similarly, at what point do you take the leap that Pujols best days are behind him, that he's begining the natural decline that most players see in the mid 30s?

I get what you're saying, and I'm not assuming that Albert will be any less the monster he's been at the plate this year, as he's been at the past. However, I remember Jr coming to town, and despite a solid 1st season in Cincy, he didn't quite put up the numbers that he had the previous 5 seasons. Many said "he's junior, he's done it forever, you can count on him" as the injuries and age took their tole, as his bat slowed down a bit, as he had to begin cheating on fastballs, etc..

I think what Will is saying, and what I agree with, is that this comparision has more to do w/ Joey than it does w/ Albert. I think if the comparision was Bruce and Albert's offensive numbers, than I think there'd be a ton more hesitation, Albert's offensive output is what we all hoped for from Bruce, what his success coming thru the minors hinted that he may be capable of one day. However, despite some solid stretches and a great closing 2 months at the end of last year, Jay hasn't put up the numbers to indicate that he will definently take the jump to MVP contender. There is still that hope, and perhaps those 2 months at the end of last year are the spring board to the career we all hoped for, but its far too early to know for sure.

Joey on the other hand, has proven his worth the last 2 years. He's won the MVP in a runaway, and frankly I see no reason to believe its a fluke. He hasn't done over a decade the way that Albert has, but he's shown me enough, both in results and approach at the plate, to make me believe he'll be an regular MVP contender over the next 5-6 seasons. There is nothing that screams fluke, or small sample size to me w/ Joey. I have no doubts that Albert will continue to be a great player, even albert at 80% of what he's been over the last 5 years is still a great player. However, I also believe that Joey will be right there with him. He hasn't done it over the extended period that Pujols has, but at some point you've got to take the leap that he'll continue to produce like he has the last couple of seasons.

I guess the beauty, is that we all start finding out in a little over a month if we're right or wrong.

Edd Roush
02-15-2011, 02:47 PM
Very much THIS.

I firmly believe we should be much more concerned with the Brewers and Cubs than with the Cardinals. Sure, they've got 4 really good players...but this ain't basketball, you need more than that to be successful. The Cards as a whole are trending down, while the Brewers & Cubs seem to be moving in the opposite direction. (Brewcrew considerably moreso than the cubs to this point)

Sir Charles, I usually agree with most of what you post, but IMO there is no way the Cubs have a better record than the Cards this year unless the Cards are rought with major injuries and the Cubs stay 100% healthy. If we were to do this comparison between the Cubs and Cards, I think the Cubs might only win SS and maybe RF. Like the CAIRO projections, I see the Reds, Brewers and Cardinals battling it out for the top three spots and then about a 10-12 win gap and then there is the Cubs and then a 10-12 win gap and there is the Astros and then the Pirates are battling to win 63 games (or not lose 100 games).

Quatitos
02-15-2011, 02:48 PM
I understand what you are saying here but Molina had a down offensive year and both Ramon/Ryan had career offensive years. Isn't it reasonable to expect that Molina progresses to the means and that Ramon/Ryan regress to the means? I just don't think you can put a value on the ability to shut down the run game and the ability to handle a pitching staff. Both areas, Molina is superior to than Ryan/Ramon. I am still going to choose Molina.


Agreed that all of the players will probably not produce as bad/good as they did last year, but even with that it is probably safe to say that both Ramon/Ryan will outproduce Molina. For sake of argument lets consider Bill James' projections for the three.

Ramon Hernandez: .264/.330/.400/.730 with .320 wOBA
Ryan Hanigan: .281/.370/.377/.747 with .337 wOBA
Yadier Molina: .272/.339/.361/.700 with .311 wOBA

I mean not a huge difference but you will be getting around ~150 games from Hernandez/Hanigan and ~130 from Molina, with a drop off to a guy like Gerald Laird for the other games. I also think with that playing 136 games in '09 and 130 in '10 could have played a large part in Molina's decline at the plate last year, and that if it keeps up, his '10 numbers possibly more indicative of what he will put up going forward instead of his '08-'09 numbers.

As for controlling the running game, it is hard to put a value on it, but it is easier to compare how well teams control the running game. The hard part comes in that teams who control the run game well will not have many people run on them, and when they do they will probably be above average baserunners. So it is a bit unfair to compare a team like the Cardinals who only allowed 53 SB to a team like the tigers who allowed 101, even though the tigers caught 50 runners to the Cardinals 38. But for comparing the Reds and Cardinals, it is probably a bit easier to compare since the difference is 53 to 71, much closer.

Now to compare how well the running game is "controlled" I feel that you should also consider the number of passed balls that the catchers gave up. I'll consider the number of advancements allowed as SB+PB, and see the ratio of advancements allowed to the number of runners caught stealing. Not surprisingly, the Cardinals ranked first in this with a 1.658:1 ratio, largely in part due to Molina's good defense. Surprisingly though, the Reds ranked second (NL and AL included) with a 2.206:1 ratio. Obviously this number doesn't tell everything about how well the running game is controlled, but I think it along with the third lowest number of advancements allowed illustrates that the Reds are an above average team at controlling the run game as well.


Team SB SB+PB CS (SB+PB)/CS PB
Cardinals 53 63 38 1.658 10
Reds 71 75 34 2.206 4
Rockies 81 96 43 2.233 15
Tigers 101 112 50 2.240 11
Blue Jays 69 79 35 2.257 10
Astros 89 101 44 2.295 12
Indians 125 136 58 2.345 11
Mets 51 61 26 2.346 10
Padres 79 92 39 2.359 13
Nationals 79 84 35 2.400 5
Twins 82 90 37 2.432 8
Braves 102 108 44 2.455 6
Giants 115 121 49 2.469 6
Dodgers 97 103 39 2.641 6
Royals 137 148 55 2.691 11
Marlins 111 122 44 2.773 11
White Sox 105 109 39 2.795 4
Phillies 84 90 31 2.903 6
Athletics 88 96 32 3.000 8
Mariners 73 89 29 3.069 16
Orioles 83 86 27 3.185 3
Rays 89 98 30 3.267 9
Brewers 100 105 31 3.387 5
Rangers 116 124 35 3.543 8
Diamondbacks 115 130 36 3.611 15
Angels 133 149 41 3.634 16
Cubs 114 120 31 3.871 6
Pirates 116 127 32 3.969 11
Red Sox 169 183 42 4.357 14
Yankees 132 144 23 6.261 12


As for how well a pitching staff is handled is very tricky to figure out. How much credit do you give to the catcher and how much credit do you give to the pitcher? There aren't really many stats to measure this by aside from catcher's ERA, and based on that Hanigan is roughly equal to Molina and both do better than Hernandez.

Considering the positives and negatives for both sides, I would honestly have to say that it is about even at the catcher position assuming the players regress more towards their career averages offensively.

_Sir_Charles_
02-15-2011, 04:12 PM
Sir Charles, I usually agree with most of what you post, but IMO there is no way the Cubs have a better record than the Cards this year unless the Cards are rought with major injuries and the Cubs stay 100% healthy. If we were to do this comparison between the Cubs and Cards, I think the Cubs might only win SS and maybe RF. Like the CAIRO projections, I see the Reds, Brewers and Cardinals battling it out for the top three spots and then about a 10-12 win gap and then there is the Cubs and then a 10-12 win gap and there is the Astros and then the Pirates are battling to win 63 games (or not lose 100 games).

Well, the way I'm looking at it is that I firmly believe that the Cards OVER-performed last season. Obviously those main 4 cogs performed as expected, but many others played above their heads IMO. And with the changes that they've made I also believe have made them a worse team. Both offensively AND defensively. I don't think there's a chance in heck that their bullpen can repeat the performance they had last year.

As for the Cubs, I feel that they drastically UNDER-performed last year. Ramirez, Lee, Soriano & Soto all had down years. They've replaced the aging Lee with Carlos Pena. Pena should get a bump from playing in Chicago AND in the NL. And if the other guys rebound back to their norms, the Cubs should see a huge upswing on offense. As for pitching, they've lost Lily & Gorzelany but added Matt Garza and Zambrano back to the role of starter full-time. Garza never really had a great record in the AL but his secondary stats have always looked decent. Move him to the NL and he should see a considerable bump. So for me, the question mark for their rotation is Zambrano. If he returns to even CLOSE to his old self, they're going to be a force. The pen...anchored by Marmol, added Wood to a pretty decent pen.

I don't think the Cubs are in the same class as the Reds or Brewers, but I do think they're as good as, if not better than, the Cardinals. But it's just my opinion...so take it for what it's worth. :O)

medford
02-15-2011, 04:31 PM
[QUOTE=_Sir_Charles_;2324479]
As for the Cubs, I feel that they drastically UNDER-performed last year. QUOTE]

Groundhog day was a couple of weeks ago. :)

medford
02-15-2011, 04:37 PM
sorry, double post

Edd Roush
02-15-2011, 05:31 PM
Well, the way I'm looking at it is that I firmly believe that the Cards OVER-performed last season. Obviously those main 4 cogs performed as expected, but many others played above their heads IMO. And with the changes that they've made I also believe have made them a worse team. Both offensively AND defensively. I don't think there's a chance in heck that their bullpen can repeat the performance they had last year.

As for the Cubs, I feel that they drastically UNDER-performed last year. Ramirez, Lee, Soriano & Soto all had down years. They've replaced the aging Lee with Carlos Pena. Pena should get a bump from playing in Chicago AND in the NL. And if the other guys rebound back to their norms, the Cubs should see a huge upswing on offense. As for pitching, they've lost Lily & Gorzelany but added Matt Garza and Zambrano back to the role of starter full-time. Garza never really had a great record in the AL but his secondary stats have always looked decent. Move him to the NL and he should see a considerable bump. So for me, the question mark for their rotation is Zambrano. If he returns to even CLOSE to his old self, they're going to be a force. The pen...anchored by Marmol, added Wood to a pretty decent pen.

I don't think the Cubs are in the same class as the Reds or Brewers, but I do think they're as good as, if not better than, the Cardinals. But it's just my opinion...so take it for what it's worth. :O)

I just don't see how the Cards over-performed last year. While I agree that Berkman should be a step down from Ludwick and Theriot is certainly a step down defensively at short, I don't see major regression out of any of the Cards' players. I think Holliday and Pujols will be money next year and as long as Rasmus gets along with Larussa, he should get a Stubbs-like boost this year. I also expect third base to better for the Cards with Freese playing full-time and I could see a slight bump up offensively from behind the plate for Yadi.

As for the Cubs under-performing, I could see a slight bump up from Aramis, but I actually Soriano to be closer to his 2009 numbers than his 2010 numbers. Soriano is a decent player at best with a superstar contract. He will be lucky to break an .800 OPS in my mind and he plays just awful defense. I also like Derrek Lee over Carlos Pena and I expect the Cubs first-base drop off, especially considering defense, to be similar to the Cardinals right-field situation. As for Geovany Soto, I think he is going to struggle to replicate his OPS from last season, but may be more valuable than Yadi next year. While the Cubs' rotation and bullpen has improved this season, the Cards' rotation is still much better than the Cubs' rotation. I think I would take the Cubs' bullpen over the Cardinals' bullpen, but I think the Cardinals advantage with the better rotation is much larger than the Cubs advantage with their bullpen.

Add that all up and I see the Cards being a good 8-10 games better than the Cubs next year.

_Sir_Charles_
02-15-2011, 06:18 PM
I just don't see how the Cards over-performed last year. While I agree that Berkman should be a step down from Ludwick and Theriot is certainly a step down defensively at short, I don't see major regression out of any of the Cards' players. I think Holliday and Pujols will be money next year and as long as Rasmus gets along with Larussa, he should get a Stubbs-like boost this year. I also expect third base to better for the Cards with Freese playing full-time and I could see a slight bump up offensively from behind the plate for Yadi.

Offensively, the only Cardinal I thought played over their head was Jay. For my money, the over-reaching took place on the pitching front for the Cards. Garcia came out of nowhere to lock down the #3 spot. I can't see him repeating that...or even coming close. The other slot was the bullpen. Motte, McClellan, Franklin and even Big Sweat pitched over their heads IMO. I also think Carpenter regresses this coming season along with Garcia.

But for me, the defense is the biggest factor for the Cards in my book. For a team that depends so much on pitching...fielding a horrendous defense behind them is nearly unforgivable from a GM. I fully expect to see ERA's jump all over the Cardinals pitching staff. They could very possibly be the worst defensive team in the National League.


As for the Cubs under-performing, I could see a slight bump up from Aramis, but I actually Soriano to be closer to his 2009 numbers than his 2010 numbers. Soriano is a decent player at best with a superstar contract. He will be lucky to break an .800 OPS in my mind and he plays just awful defense. I also like Derrek Lee over Carlos Pena and I expect the Cubs first-base drop off, especially considering defense, to be similar to the Cardinals right-field situation. As for Geovany Soto, I think he is going to struggle to replicate his OPS from last season, but may be more valuable than Yadi next year. While the Cubs' rotation and bullpen has improved this season, the Cards' rotation is still much better than the Cubs' rotation. I think I would take the Cubs' bullpen over the Cardinals' bullpen, but I think the Cardinals advantage with the better rotation is much larger than the Cubs advantage with their bullpen.

Add that all up and I see the Cards being a good 8-10 games better than the Cubs next year.

Derrek Lee.... .251 avg / 16 hr / 56 rbi
I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL to see Pena DOUBLE those numbers (hr's/rbi's). Yes, he's a drop off defensively, but we're talking about first base defense...not exactly a focal spot defensively. That's where they try to HIDE defensively-challenged players quite often. But your point is certainly valid.

Aramis Ramirez... .241 avg / 25 hr / 83 rbi
His numbers don't look TOO horrendous until you think about what he was doing back in July. He was sitting there at a .200 batting average and just a black hole in the lineup. His second half was quite good and more reflective of his normal production IMO. (.207 / 10 / 32) first half. (.276 / 15 / 51) second half.

If those 2 slots improve, the entire Cubs offense improves IMO. Lee & Ramirez were the key cogs in that offense. Another year of experience from Colvin & Castro...add it all up and I see improvement on the horizon. Basically put, I foresee improvements both offensively and pitching-wise from the Cubs. They won't have the expectations either and with a new manager I see a much more laid-back and free and easy Chicago club. How much they improve...no clue. But I think the amount the Cards have gotten worse is greater than the amount the Cubs have improved.

MikeThierry
02-15-2011, 09:01 PM
Well, the way I'm looking at it is that I firmly believe that the Cards OVER-performed last season. Obviously those main 4 cogs performed as expected, but many others played above their heads IMO. And with the changes that they've made I also believe have made them a worse team. Both offensively AND defensively. I don't think there's a chance in heck that their bullpen can repeat the performance they had last year.

Not to be a jerk about this but did you even watch the Cardinals last year? They were probably one of the most fundamentally unsound Cardinals teams I have seen in recent memory. Their record against sub .500 teams is one area of anger from last year. I understand your point about the pitching. The starter ERA was second only to the A's (most underrated pitching staff in baseball in my opinion). However, I tend to think that some of the starters might be better than last year, if that's possible. Wainwright will still be Wainwright. Carpenter might decrease a bit but that decrease has to be put in relative terms. Even if he decreases a bit, I think its safe to say that he will still be one of the best pitchers in the league. I think Jaime Garcia can get even better. Last year, he was a year away from Tommy Johns surgery. From what I understand from Tommy John's surgery, it really takes two full seasons for a pitcher to regain his former strength. One key pitch that Garcia didn't have in his arsenal last year was his curve ball. For some reason, he wasn't able to get it over consistently. With him getting stronger from being farther away from Tommy John, I expect him to re-master some of his pitches and pitch farther into games. My bottom line on him is I think he is only going to get better. Jake Westbrook, on the other hand, intrigues me. I think he is only going to be better coming over from the AL, being in the hands of Dave Duncan, and he is another pitcher that will be 2 years removed from Tommy John's surgery like Garcia was. I think will have a great year this year. He was the best pitcher on the Cardinals down the stretch where he posted a 2.92 ERA in September/October and if that is any indication, I like the Cards chances when it comes to pitching this season.

MikeThierry
02-15-2011, 09:09 PM
I also think Theriot will have a bounce back year from last year. He was in an unstable situation in Chicago last year and he suffered from it. Now he is in a situation where his job is stable. I know he isn't Brendan Ryan defensively but you all are making him sound like he is Felipe Lopez at short. Theriot is still a plus glove at short stop. He will also be a much more stable hitter than Ryan. There were times when Ryan looked lost at the plate last year and you almost felt that the pitcher had a better shot at getting hit than Ryan. Theriot will add a better bat to the lineup rather than having Brendan Ryan be an automatic out at the plate. What actually SHOCKED me looking at Theroit's stats was the fact that for 3 straight years he has led the NL in singles (154 in 08, 139 in 09, and 139 in 10). That shocked me that even in his down year last year he led the league in that category. That is perfect for batting in front of Pujols and Holliday. Obviously the more guys you have in front of Pujols, the better the offense is considering he is the steam engine for the Cardinals.

Homer Bailey
02-15-2011, 09:26 PM
I also think Theriot will have a bounce back year from last year. He was in an unstable situation in Chicago last year and he suffered from it. Now he is in a situation where his job is stable. I know he isn't Brendan Ryan defensively but you all are making him sound like he is Felipe Lopez at short. Theriot is still a plus glove at short stop. He will also be a much more stable hitter than Ryan. There were times when Ryan looked lost at the plate last year and you almost felt that the pitcher had a better shot at getting hit than Ryan. Theriot will add a better bat to the lineup rather than having Brendan Ryan be an automatic out at the plate. What actually SHOCKED me looking at Theroit's stats was the fact that for 3 straight years he has led the NL in singles (154 in 08, 139 in 09, and 139 in 10). That shocked me that even in his down year last year he led the league in that category. That is perfect for batting in front of Pujols and Holliday. Obviously the more guys you have in front of Pujols, the better the offense is considering he is the steam engine for the Cardinals.

Theriot has never really been a plus defender. It would be generous to call him an above average defender, and at age 31, I certainly won't call him that.

And a bounce back on offense? The guy has a career .319 wOBA. He's never been a good hitter either.

MikeThierry
02-15-2011, 09:30 PM
He is certainly a huge upgrade offensively over Brendan Ryan. Not only did Theriot led the NL in singles last year, he actually had a better at bat per strikeout ratio than Pujols did last season. Pujols was 9th in the NL with a 7.7 AB/SO compared to Theriot with a 7.9 AB/SO. For the role the Cardinals are using him for (getting on in front of Pujols and having a competent at bat) I think Theriot could do well for the Cards.

All this means is that the Cardinals will have 3 guys from the top ten last year in AB/SO (Molina was 6th with a 9.1 AB/SO ratio). The Cardinals lineup, I think, will be a tougher lineup to pitch to in the 2011 season.

Homer Bailey
02-15-2011, 09:34 PM
He is certainly a huge upgrade offensively over Brendan Ryan. Not only did Theriot led the NL in singles last year, he actually had a better at bat per strikeout ratio than Pujols did last season. Pujols was 9th in the NL with a 7.7 AB/SO compared to Theriot with a 7.9 AB/SO. For the role the Cardinals are using him for (getting on in front of Pujols and having a competent at bat) I think Theriot could do well for the Cards.

Using counting stats, especially singles (of all stats to use), isn't going to help you make your case for Theriot's offensive ability. Strikeout ratios are useful and all, but the bottom line when it comes to offensive value provided is defined much better with stats such as OPS and wOBA. It's pretty much a fact that Theriot is a below average offensive player, and probably somewhere around average as a shortstop (offensively).

At least Brendan Ryan gives you (true) plus defense. As a Reds fan, I'm happy with the Cards replacing Ryan with Theriot.

MikeThierry
02-15-2011, 09:46 PM
If Theriot can give the Cardinals what he gave the Cubs on 09, it will be a significant upgrade from Ryan. In 09, he had a .284 AVG and .343 OBP. In 2010, Ryan gave the Cardinals a .223 AVG and a .279 OBP. I look for Theriot to bounce back from his 2010 campaign and hit better considering he will probably hit in front of Pujols.

mth123
02-15-2011, 10:14 PM
Theriot replaced the wrong MI. Without question, Skip Schumaker is the weakest link in that starting 8. He's a horrid defender at 2B and a MI of Ryan and Theriot had the makings of a strong tandem with with Theriot being an upgrade at the lead-off spot over Schumaker. Schumaker might prove useful as a supersub who play's all three OF spots and spots in at 2B in really short non-pitching staff killing stints. I'm not big on Ryan, but he's clearly a better player than Schumaker IMO. I think Larussa's personality hurt St. Louis here.

Quatitos
02-15-2011, 10:39 PM
If Theriot can give the Cardinals what he gave the Cubs on 09, it will be a significant upgrade from Ryan. In 09, he had a .284 AVG and .343 OBP. In 2010, Ryan gave the Cardinals a .223 AVG and a .279 OBP. I look for Theriot to bounce back from his 2010 campaign and hit better considering he will probably hit in front of Pujols.In 2009, Brendan Ryan also gave the cards a .292/.340/.400 line. So they both were good in '09 (relative) and bad in 2010, although Brendan Ryan was worth more WAR (heavily driven by defense in '10) with ~200 less PA each year. Unless Theriot has a major resurgence, this is probably a side-grade at best.

Going by career averages, Theriot is a better hitter, but will definitely not give you the defense you got from Brendan. Considering how much you tout the Cardinals heavy ground ball tendencies, it would be more important, assuming similar players, to have the more defensively proficient player. Without the plus defender at short, the inadequacies of Schumaker at 2nd will probably be more apparent this season as well. Along with that, there seems to be a downward trend in Pujols' range at first, and Freese appears to be an average fielder at best from his limited major stats, and minor league stats(although those are limited). This does not look like a good sign for all those ground ball pitchers that the Cards have.

MikeThierry
02-16-2011, 12:27 AM
Quatitos, Freese struggles a big at the start of the season but he really started to play defense well before he got injured. I look for him to improve a bit on his defense as his career goes on. As far as Albert goes, you are right. He has decline a bit the past couple of years. That said, he is still arguably one of the best if not the best defensive first baseman in the game. Even if he declines just a bit, he will still be in an elite category as far as the glove is concerned.

I understand what you are all saying about Theriot. I watch every Cards game I can though and it was maddening how last season the Cardinals essentially had 3 easy outs in the lineup. That isn't counting the pitchers spot. In my opinion, it is worth sacrificing a little defense if that means one of those easy outs can be filled by a player who can give the Cardinals a competent at bat and get on base in front of Pujols and Holliday, none of which were happening on a regular basis last year. To me, the offensive upside is much greater than any defensive liability Theriot might have for the Cardinals.

Will M
02-16-2011, 03:52 AM
Mike,

It seems to me that the Cards had a poor offseason. They needed a right fielder & signed an aging DH type. For right field. If the Reds had done that I would be very very upset. Us Reds fans remember Dunn in left with Griffey in center or right. It was ugly. Then the Cards go out & replace Ryan with Theriot. what?! I don't see that as an improvement. Add in Schumaker who needed to be sent to the bench. Add in Freese who I am obviously less enthused about then you. He seems a fine role player but not a starter. Anyone who doesn't break into the show until age 27 has to be considered questionable as an everyday player. So IMO they dropped the ball in RF & didn't improve in the infield. Its a horrible offseason for the Cards. If all goes right (which it rarely does) they could win the division. But IMO they are perilously close to a disaster.

- Will

Ron Madden
02-16-2011, 04:09 AM
He is certainly a huge upgrade offensively over Brendan Ryan. Not only did Theriot led the NL in singles last year, he actually had a better at bat per strikeout ratio than Pujols did last season. Pujols was 9th in the NL with a 7.7 AB/SO compared to Theriot with a 7.9 AB/SO. For the role the Cardinals are using him for (getting on in front of Pujols and having a competent at bat) I think Theriot could do well for the Cards.

All this means is that the Cardinals will have 3 guys from the top ten last year in AB/SO (Molina was 6th with a 9.1 AB/SO ratio). The Cardinals lineup, I think, will be a tougher lineup to pitch to in the 2011 season.

There are many ways to make an out other than to strike out and Theriot is very good at all of them. If given the choice between Theriot and Ryan, I'd rather have Ryan.

That said, I'll never count the Cardinals out. Many of my fellow Reds Fans have predicted their demise since 2001 but they are always in the race for the post season. It looks to me to be a three team race to the wire in 2011.

reds44
02-16-2011, 04:13 AM
I just know the Reds have far more awesomeness on their team than the Cardinals.

klw
02-16-2011, 09:47 AM
I just know the Reds have far more awesomeness on their team than the Cardinals.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/captain%20awesome.jpg
What if the Cards sign this guy?
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/111398129.html

medford
02-16-2011, 09:55 AM
Not to be a jerk about this but did you even watch the Cardinals last year? They were probably one of the most fundamentally unsound Cardinals teams I have seen in recent memory. Their record against sub .500 teams is one area of anger from last year.

Mike,

With all due respect, I think you're making the mistake many fans make (hey I make it too, its only natural as a fan who wants to believe everything will fall right so you have hope at the start of a season, rather than thinking everything will break wrong and you have no reason to watch).

Anyhoo, Cardinals were pretty unsound, especially compared to the Cardinal standards of recent seasons. How did they get any better? They signed a 1B coming off a poor season where his bat has clearly slowed down, and now want him to play RF. How is he going to hold up running around out there as often, chasing into OF walls, etc... They've taken a downgrade defensively at SS, they're just as bad at 2b.

You also want to believe that some of those aging players are due to bounce back. That the lines of Berkman, theriot & Molino are all due big seasons. Kudos to you if you're correct, and its certainly possible, but history would suggest that a catcher that has logged as many innings as Molino is due for a decline from his norms, that Berkman isn't going to be much different than he was last year, not even considering his change in position, Theriot won't be any better than last year. Reds fans present the same hopes every year as well, we're no different, but I think over the long run, its folly to put so much faith into bounce back years, or a change in fundamentals when nothing was directly done to change said fundamentals.

Of course on the flip side, there's those magical years like the '99 reds (even though they didn't make the playoffs) where guys like Pete harnisch regain their previous magic, Casey & D'meat hook produce their brief top level runs at the same time, etc.. where all a fans' hopes and dreams collide at the same time to give you something far greater than you probably had the right to hope for. For as often as sports kicks us in the teeth, those magical seasons are what makes it so special.

Homer Bailey
02-16-2011, 11:05 AM
Anyhoo, Cardinals were pretty unsound, especially compared to the Cardinal standards of recent seasons. How did they get any better? They signed a 1B coming off a poor season where his bat has clearly slowed down, and now want him to play RF. How is he going to hold up running around out there as often, chasing into OF walls, etc...


You've got this one all wrong...




There's no way Berkman is making it to any wall in time to crash into it :cool:.

PuffyPig
02-16-2011, 11:29 AM
He is certainly a huge upgrade offensively over Brendan Ryan. Not only did Theriot led the NL in singles last year, he actually had a better at bat per strikeout ratio than Pujols did last season. Pujols was 9th in the NL with a 7.7 AB/SO compared to Theriot with a 7.9 AB/SO. For the role the Cardinals are using him for (getting on in front of Pujols and having a competent at bat) I think Theriot could do well for the Cards.

All this means is that the Cardinals will have 3 guys from the top ten last year in AB/SO (Molina was 6th with a 9.1 AB/SO ratio). The Cardinals lineup, I think, will be a tougher lineup to pitch to in the 2011 season.

I admit that Theriot and Molina don't strike out much, but it just underscores what terrible hitters they are.

Leading the league in singles is great perhaps, but it underscores how very leittle power he has. 19 x-tra base hits is truly awful. His lifetome OPS is about 50 points higher than Ryan, and consdiering their ages, Ryan is probably a better bet to improve.

Theriot should be batting 9th for the Cards. Give your worst hitters the fewest PA's. Hitting guys like that ahead of Pujols is the reason the Cards run production goes down instead of up.

_Sir_Charles_
02-16-2011, 11:50 AM
Not to be a jerk about this but did you even watch the Cardinals last year? They were probably one of the most fundamentally unsound Cardinals teams I have seen in recent memory. Their record against sub .500 teams is one area of anger from last year.

Not to worry...you're not being a jerk. Lively debate is a GOOD thing. And I completely agree about the poor fundamentals. To be honest, that was one aspect that I somewhat expected. Not quite to that extreme, but this year should show that aspect to dip even further I think.


I understand your point about the pitching. The starter ERA was second only to the A's (most underrated pitching staff in baseball in my opinion). However, I tend to think that some of the starters might be better than last year, if that's possible. Wainwright will still be Wainwright. Carpenter might decrease a bit but that decrease has to be put in relative terms. Even if he decreases a bit, I think its safe to say that he will still be one of the best pitchers in the league. I think Jaime Garcia can get even better. Last year, he was a year away from Tommy Johns surgery. From what I understand from Tommy John's surgery, it really takes two full seasons for a pitcher to regain his former strength. One key pitch that Garcia didn't have in his arsenal last year was his curve ball. For some reason, he wasn't able to get it over consistently. With him getting stronger from being farther away from Tommy John, I expect him to re-master some of his pitches and pitch farther into games. My bottom line on him is I think he is only going to get better. Jake Westbrook, on the other hand, intrigues me. I think he is only going to be better coming over from the AL, being in the hands of Dave Duncan, and he is another pitcher that will be 2 years removed from Tommy John's surgery like Garcia was. I think will have a great year this year. He was the best pitcher on the Cardinals down the stretch where he posted a 2.92 ERA in September/October and if that is any indication, I like the Cards chances when it comes to pitching this season.

I agree in regards to Wainright to some extent. He'll be solid, in my mind, without a doubt...but Cy Young solid? I'm not sure you can reasonably expect him to repeat the performance he had last year. Carpenter I see dipping further. Age does have to catch up to even Carpenter. (Carpenter 35, Franklin 37, Miller 37, Suppan 36) I don't see improvement reasonable for any of these guys. As for Garcia...his record was excellent, as was his era...but he seemed to be one of the luckiest pitchers in the NL last season. I'm sure it's just from my observations on him, but it seemed like every time he pitched he gave up a lot of hits & walks but kept escaping unscathed. But that huge jump in workload combined with the league now having a book on him should bring him back down to earth IMO.

_Sir_Charles_
02-16-2011, 11:55 AM
Theriot has never really been a plus defender. It would be generous to call him an above average defender, and at age 31, I certainly won't call him that.

And a bounce back on offense? The guy has a career .319 wOBA. He's never been a good hitter either.

This. Although he did seem to always come through against the Reds. Not Berkman-like...but still annoying.

pahster
02-16-2011, 12:35 PM
He is certainly a huge upgrade offensively over Brendan Ryan. Not only did Theriot led the NL in singles last year, he actually had a better at bat per strikeout ratio than Pujols did last season. Pujols was 9th in the NL with a 7.7 AB/SO compared to Theriot with a 7.9 AB/SO. For the role the Cardinals are using him for (getting on in front of Pujols and having a competent at bat) I think Theriot could do well for the Cards.

All this means is that the Cardinals will have 3 guys from the top ten last year in AB/SO (Molina was 6th with a 9.1 AB/SO ratio). The Cardinals lineup, I think, will be a tougher lineup to pitch to in the 2011 season.

Leading the league in singles just means he played a lot and had absolutely no power.

Edd Roush
02-16-2011, 02:12 PM
Offensively, the only Cardinal I thought played over their head was Jay. For my money, the over-reaching took place on the pitching front for the Cards. Garcia came out of nowhere to lock down the #3 spot. I can't see him repeating that...or even coming close. The other slot was the bullpen. Motte, McClellan, Franklin and even Big Sweat pitched over their heads IMO. I also think Carpenter regresses this coming season along with Garcia.

But for me, the defense is the biggest factor for the Cards in my book. For a team that depends so much on pitching...fielding a horrendous defense behind them is nearly unforgivable from a GM. I fully expect to see ERA's jump all over the Cardinals pitching staff. They could very possibly be the worst defensive team in the National League.



Derrek Lee.... .251 avg / 16 hr / 56 rbi
I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL to see Pena DOUBLE those numbers (hr's/rbi's). Yes, he's a drop off defensively, but we're talking about first base defense...not exactly a focal spot defensively. That's where they try to HIDE defensively-challenged players quite often. But your point is certainly valid.

Aramis Ramirez... .241 avg / 25 hr / 83 rbi
His numbers don't look TOO horrendous until you think about what he was doing back in July. He was sitting there at a .200 batting average and just a black hole in the lineup. His second half was quite good and more reflective of his normal production IMO. (.207 / 10 / 32) first half. (.276 / 15 / 51) second half.

If those 2 slots improve, the entire Cubs offense improves IMO. Lee & Ramirez were the key cogs in that offense. Another year of experience from Colvin & Castro...add it all up and I see improvement on the horizon. Basically put, I foresee improvements both offensively and pitching-wise from the Cubs. They won't have the expectations either and with a new manager I see a much more laid-back and free and easy Chicago club. How much they improve...no clue. But I think the amount the Cards have gotten worse is greater than the amount the Cubs have improved.

I could see a slight regression out of Jaime next year. That being said, I'm not sure there is one Reds' pitcher who I wouldn't trade heads up for Garcia. He was definitely better than any Reds' starter last year and he put up solid numbers for the PCL in 2009. The thing the Cardinals have to most worried about with Garcia is his innings bump.

As for D. Lee vs. Pena, I guess our difference in offensive production expectations lies in what indicators we are using. Pena could very well hit 30+ jacks this season and knock in 100 guys, but I still don't think he will out OPS Derrek Lee. I like to use OPS as an offensive indicator over counting stats, but if you are going off counting stats I definitely could see Pena hitting more home runs than Lee. RBIs are dependent on which slugger has more guys on base ahead of them.

And while first base defense isn't crucial, it is still something that differentiates the players. It's hard to know how much that difference is worth, but give me D. Lee next year any day over Pena.

As for Aramis, I can agree that he is likely to not be an offensive black hole as he was in the first half of 2010.

I do see improvements for the Cubs next year. I just don't see much rotational depth and I just don't see any superstars in the mold of Pujols, Holliday or Votto. I think they will win around 80 games and could stick around for a while, but I am much more afraid of the Cardinals next year than the Cubs. If the Cardinals stay healthy (which is unlikely), I think they should be the favorites to win the division.

_Sir_Charles_
02-16-2011, 02:17 PM
Fair enough Edd. Agree to disagree on a few points. As long as both the Cubs and the Cards finish BEHIND the Reds...it's all good. :beerme:

MikeThierry
02-18-2011, 02:04 AM
This is my fandom coming through on this but Pujols is also going to have a monster year. Matt Yalloff (can't spell his name) on the MLB network made a great point. For the past two off seasons, Pujols had to rehab from minor surgery. Last year he had to get rid of bone spurs. This year, he was surgery free and was able to focus mainly on getting into playing shape. He actually looked really good when he came into camp today. Being that this is a contract year and he is in great shape, I think he is going to have a monster year. Heck, even Bill James picks him to be the first player to win the triple crown in decades, this year.

Realistically, I see him having a huge year.

Letting my fandom influence my logic.... he is going to get the triple crown this year:beerme:;)

By the way, the only reason why I bring up that Theriot led the league in singles 3 years in a row is that I just believe he will fit will with the role that the Cardinals are using him for. We aren't asking him to drive in runs.

MikeThierry
02-18-2011, 02:11 AM
I agree in regards to Wainright to some extent. He'll be solid, in my mind, without a doubt...but Cy Young solid? I'm not sure you can reasonably expect him to repeat the performance he had last year. Carpenter I see dipping further. Age does have to catch up to even Carpenter. (Carpenter 35, Franklin 37, Miller 37, Suppan 36) I don't see improvement reasonable for any of these guys. As for Garcia...his record was excellent, as was his era...but he seemed to be one of the luckiest pitchers in the NL last season. I'm sure it's just from my observations on him, but it seemed like every time he pitched he gave up a lot of hits & walks but kept escaping unscathed. But that huge jump in workload combined with the league now having a book on him should bring him back down to earth IMO.

Waino is only 29 and is in the prime of his career. He has kept getting better and better every year. I would expect him to pull of close to what he did this past season. Garcia was still working on some pitches last year like his curve ball so I just see him getting better. I also don't care what kind of book they have on him, he still throws stuff that is almost unhittable. My favorite pitch for him I can't even describe what it is. Its almost like a mixture of a screwball and change up that he throws to right handed hitters. It not only runs away from the batter but sinks as well. Its an unfair pitch. You are right though about him allowing walks. That is one thing that kind of bugged me about him last year. However, that is only going to get better with time.

I still think one of the big advantages that the Cardinals have over many other teams is Dave Duncan. He is simply the best pitching coach in the game and could be the first pitching coach to go into the Hall of Fame. If anyone can help improve a young pitcher its him. Remember, he is the same guy who took an almost washed up Chris Carpenter from the Blue Jays and made him into a Cy Young pitcher.

By the way, I thought Jeff Suppan went to the Giants this season?

_Sir_Charles_
02-18-2011, 09:13 AM
By the way, I thought Jeff Suppan went to the Giants this season?

You're probably right. I was merely looking at the 40-man roster on ESPN. Pretty good chance it's not updated.

Quatitos
02-18-2011, 12:40 PM
Waino is only 29 and is in the prime of his career. He has kept getting better and better every year. I would expect him to pull of close to what he did this past season. Garcia was still working on some pitches last year like his curve ball so I just see him getting better. I also don't care what kind of book they have on him, he still throws stuff that is almost unhittable. My favorite pitch for him I can't even describe what it is. Its almost like a mixture of a screwball and change up that he throws to right handed hitters. It not only runs away from the batter but sinks as well. Its an unfair pitch. You are right though about him allowing walks. That is one thing that kind of bugged me about him last year. However, that is only going to get better with time.

I still think one of the big advantages that the Cardinals have over many other teams is Dave Duncan. He is simply the best pitching coach in the game and could be the first pitching coach to go into the Hall of Fame. If anyone can help improve a young pitcher its him. Remember, he is the same guy who took an almost washed up Chris Carpenter from the Blue Jays and made him into a Cy Young pitcher.

By the way, I thought Jeff Suppan went to the Giants this season?

I think you are being a bit too optimistic with Garcia. Predicting him to put up a 2.70 ERA next year is just not reasonable. I could honestly say that somewhere around ~3.5 is probably around where you might see him, if he keeps up his numbers from last year. He is a high GB% pitcher (55.9% last year) so his HR/9 (0.5) shouldn't regress too much but I don't see him keeping it quite that low. Along with that, his infield defense behind him will not be as good, with Pujols the only above average defender left. Since Garcia is not a high strikeout guy (7.27 K/9) he does need to rely on his defense, and it just won't be as good this season. His ERA (2.70) also outperformed his FIP (3.41) and xFIP (3.73) by a fairly sizable amount.

I also think you over value what Duncan is worth. Yes he is probably one of the top 5 pitching coaches in the game currently, but you have to give pitchers some of the credit for just being good. Sure Carpenter really blossomed once he reached the cards, but you have to also give Carpenter some credit for that. I don't see Lohse blossoming as a Card :)

Suppan is with the giants btw, atleast according to COT's Contracts.

Ron Madden
02-22-2011, 05:48 AM
There are many ways to make an out other than to strike out and Theriot is very good at all of them. If given the choice between Theriot and Ryan, I'd rather have Ryan.

That said, I'll never count the Cardinals out. Many of my fellow Reds Fans have predicted their demise since 2001 but they are always in the race for the post season. It looks to me to be a three team race to the wire in 2011.



After taking another look at the Cubs, I may have under-rated them in this post.

The Reds could very well be in the thick of a Four Team race for the NL Central.

Quatitos
02-23-2011, 01:12 PM
Waino is only 29 and is in the prime of his career. He has kept getting better and better every year. I would expect him to pull of close to what he did this past season.

It looks like that won't be happening this year. It would be interesting to see how the Cardinals' pitchers stack up against the Reds' pitchers now.