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Thread: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    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 ( ) 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?
    .

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    Member CougarQuest's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    I think the Reds still have a better kicker than the Cards

    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    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.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    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.

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    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.
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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    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.
    .

  8. #7
    I'm gettin paper Homer Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    Very well done will.

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    Member medford's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    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.

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    OlafTheBlack Dan's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    Maybe the Reds have a slight advantage on the field, but the Cardinals have Cris Carpenter's son!
    Sabermetrics is this: A batter's goal is to extend the inning. Extend enough innings and you're going to score runs. Extend more innings than your opponent and you're going to score more runs than him.

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    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    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.
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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    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.
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

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  13. #12
    I'm gettin paper Homer Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    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.

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    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.
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

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    I'm gettin paper Homer Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    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.

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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: How do the Reds & Cards match up for 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by medford View Post
    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.
    .


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