Baseball is a numbers game. Even the stark, pasty math freaks of the world come to appreciate baseball simply for its incredible depth in its own statistics. You can’t be a “hardcore” baseball fan and not have at least some appreciation for the numbers. Am I a Sabes guy? Not really, but I do like to use it as a tool for a better understanding of a player’s performance. I certainly believe in the “eye test”. Scouts can’t just be statistical majors and poor over the numbers of every player in the nation. They go and watch these kids for a reason. As a blogger, we are supposed to provoke thought and, most of the time, criticize our team. The Cardinals have been riding through the season, butter smooth. Their are things that I could be nit picky about and maybe I will at some point, but for now let’s just look just how successful the Cardinals have been this season. Get ready because I’m going to throw some numbers at you.
We all know that the Cardinal’s success this season has derived from their starter’s ABSURD magic this season. Do you know what Adam Wainwright’s SO/BB ratio is? How about 14.00. His career AVG? 3.23. Under Derek Lilliquist, the Cardinals have tweaked their
strategy. It still goes back to Dave Duncan roots, them being 2nd in GB % at 50.2%. But Derek has seen that his arms possess some K potential and has encouraged them to use it. The Cardinals are 4th in the NL in k/9 at 7.84. Almost every arm possesses a lightning fastball and the Redbirds are 1st in the MLB in FB%. Lilliquist and Molina are having the starters ramp it up in the top of the zone to strike guys out and ITS WORKING. These guys don’t give up HR either. They are, BY FAR, 1st in the MLB in HR/FB ratio at 5.4%. 2nd is DET at 8.9%. Here are a few more…
- The Cards are next to last in the MLB in relievers innings pitched at 144.
- Shelby Miller leads all rookie pitchers in WAR and ERA.
- Rosenthal leads rookie relievers in k/9 ratio at an insane 13.33
- The Cardinals are 5th in the MLB in AVG fastball velocity at 92 MPH.
What about the Bird’s bats? It’s business as usual for the Cards…
- 1st in AVG at .269
- 2nd in OBP at .333
- 2nd lowest K% at 18.1%.
- 3rd in swinging strike percentage at 8.2%
This is a team that is middle of the pack at best in HR. Guys like Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, and David Freese haven’t quite found their power stroke yet. Instead, it seems like the Cardinals always have guys on, and are trying to bring them home with smart baseball. All of that starts at the top. Who do you think is 1st in WAR for the Cardinals? Nope, not Molina, it’s MATT CARPENTER. In fact, he’s tied for 1st in the NL in R’s with 46. Remember those defensive concerns? Not an issue with only 1 error. Credit that to his phenomenal work ethic and infield coach Oquendo. Carpenter is getting on base at a higher clip than Jon Jay did last year and that is really helping fuel this HR-less offense. Matt Carpenter actually leads ALL 2nd basemen in WAR. All Star year? Meanwhile, Molina is chasing a batting title with an NL leading .350 AVG. Craig, despite his HR struggles is 6th in the NL in RBI”s at 39.
The Cards are rolling and let’s enjoy it while we can. Baseball can change in the blink of an eye. It’s a marathon, but hey… does this look like a “transition” year to you?
All statistic courtesy of FAN GRAPHS