Ben Frederickson Live

Ben Frederickson Live

Bring your Cardinals, Blues, Mizzou and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.




  • It’s the same trait that makes these guys become the .00000001 percent of athletes who get paid to do this professionally. If Adam Wainwright and others in his shoes let others decide when he was done, he would have never been here. The game can tell you when you’re done. The team can tell you when you’re done. Often these things happen before the player admits he’s done.
    Ben, how 'bout Mr. Piscotty and those A's, Real disappointing that town, with the money around it, can't build a stadium.
    Piscotty now has a new career high in homers, with games to go. Fun to see. That Yairo Munoz has been pretty good too, huh? Cool to see a trade that was made with good intentions work out for all involved. As for the stadium stuff, you would think STL would applaud a region for being standoffish toward publicly funding a sports venue. Guess not.
    Where would you place Flaherty and Hicks in NL ROY top-10 if you are/were casting such votes?
  • I’m going to have to be somewhat vague here because I am voting on that this season and I’m not allowed to announce my picks until they become public. I do think Harrison Bader will be brought up before Hicks though. Bader has a higher WAR than Flaherty and Soto and Acuna Jr.
    Do you think Bader has much of any chance to win the RoY? Are your top 3: Acuna, Soto, Bader?
    Re: Ross and the $200K thing and him vs Wainwright to start.. One thing Ross has done is shown he can be a very effective non-blowout long man. Come in and clean up a bit of a mess and then get the game to the late innings. I don't think that's a trivial skill, and with all the starters near innings highs or just so young that every start is a bit of a dice roll, having a guy in Ross' role has got to be very helpful to Shildt. Would they give Ponce the Wed start, and thus give everyone else more rest, if they didn't have Ross ready to take over if it goes south? Would they use Ross as a long man on Wed if they'd already said he's getting the Dodgers start that's going to Waino? If they started Ross on Wed instead would they be comfortable with Ponce starting against the Dodgers or backing up a Waino start? Having Ross as a little used emergencies only long man would be stupid, but in a little over a month with the Cards he's pitched 20.1 innings, which is low for a starter but quite high for a reliever. So they are not wasting him; they are using him effectively in role that's important to this particular staff.
  • You bring up some great points, and Shildt went out of his way last night after the win to praise and explain Ross’ role and how valuable is it to the team. You are absolutely right that the presence of Ross makes the safety net for Wainwright more taut, if you will. And, on a bigger scale, the importance of starters in the current climate — going shorter, etc — combined with the postseason and the bullpennning that comes with it, makes the role of “the starter” perhaps less important than we tend to think. On the flip side, what might Wainwright look like as a reliever? Really sharp for two innings, feeding his curve into 100 mph plus of Hicks might make for a nasty combo. It’s not Waino or Ross as starter. It’s one starting, with the other in the pen.
    Ben, WAR is a lazy way to judge a players season.
    For a chat, it’s not a bad metric. My apologies.
    Last night was the worst possible result for the TEAM. If Waino is sharp, no brainer he starts again. If he is awful, he gets redeployed. Now they are caught in between because they can’t alienate a class act like Waino but if he bombs on Sunday and the Cards miss the post-season by a slim margin... yikes!
  • It just set up a do-over. Nothing more. It can’t be the worst possible result when it resulted in the best result possible — a win. The Cardinals tend to win when Wainwright pitches at home. For whatever reasons.
    Ben, what exactly do you do in the 10 minutes it takes you to answer a question?
  • Well, today I’m juggling a baseball writers’ lunch that I couldn’t miss. Planning out this year’s dinner and all that. But I do apologize for the delay. I will speed up now that it’s done. I’m in the process of relocating to the ballpark. If you all are down to go long today, we can chat up until first pitch or so. If there’s an audience, I’ll stick around. Thanks for hanging with me here.
    Do you tend to use the classic stats for judging a player or the more advanced stats?
    I use them all. They are available. Easy to find. Why not? Some I like more than others. Most have some sort of value. A potpourri is my preference.
    Hate to say it, but I am not confident CMart is the answer to closer, either. He usually gives us drama, never a 1-2-3 inning. Do you think the Cards pulled the plug on Holland too early, as he is now pitching better?
  • The 9th is going to be dramatic. He who emerges from it save in hand sticks. That’s how this goes. Martinez has done that so far. His job to lose, as long as he’s available. Hicks when he’s not. That seems to be the plan. No, the Cardinals did not cut ties too early on Holland. They probably waited too long. He’s been better in Washington. Let’s not get carried away.
    What is the most important defensive stat for you? I use Fangraph's DRS to judge fielders, do you think that is the best stat?
    My go to is Fielding Bible’s Runs Saved. It’s runs above average and comes with a rank. You can go deeper into specifics, like arm strength of an outfielder and range of a shortstop.
    Are you still taking the Cubs to win the division? Seems they have been playing mediocre baseball all year given their talent/payroll and it may finally catch up to them tonight. I would love a 1 game playoff against them to put the 2015 nightmare behind us.
    I am. But they’re sweating in Chicago. Schedule is not doing any favors either. They are whining about having to go back to Washington in the hurricane weather and don’t be shocked if MLB gives them a break there. But that should be protested hotly by both the Brewers and the Cards, especially if the league agrees to move that makeup game to a season-ender that gets conveniently scrapped if it doesn’t come with playoff implications. That would turn into a gifted off day. A 161 game schedule. Move the game if you must. But it should be played. And it should not be played in Chicago either. Busch would host, I imagine. (Unlikely, sure). Milwaukee makes sense.
    I just want to say Mike Schildt is awesome. He fosters such a loving, good energy, we are all in this together type atmosphere that just allows everyone to thrive. Especially the young players. I love how he asks everyone their opinion about every decision he makes - before, during, and after. And how he calls LaRussa up every night to ask dad if he did ok. This shouldn't be seen as an insecurity or an inability to make decisions but as just being really awesome. I especially like how he has made everyone better by just being there. Its almost like magic. He has such good energy around him. #givehimtheredjacketnow
  • Ah, sarcasm, I sense your presence. Shildt is a good man. That is not what makes him a good manager, but it does help. Just heard a story today about the time he took to connect with a young man who is battling cancer, and the impact he made on the fan. This was not a made for TV moment. It was passed along third hand. He is who he has always been, and this recent rise has not changed him. That’s a good thing.
    Can you summarize the top pluses and minuses of why DeLong is or isn't best suited to remain at SS longer term?
  • Sure. You move him if you acquire or develop a better defensive shortstop. That sounds harder to do this season compared to last.
    It is good to see Ozuna start to hit HRs--it seems the time off helped. But I notice he still does not have full arm strength on his throws, as he use to have a rocket. Will he get his throwing arm back after an offseason of rest?
  • Rest didn’t seem to help much this offseason, did it? The treatment that he got recently seems to have helped his swing quite a bit, to the point it’s fair to wonder what the heck took so long to address it. If Ozuna blocked treatment, that was a mistake on his part, seeing the results he has had since. Surgery is the big question. Seems like it might be necessary this offseason. He should have every interest in getting right for his contract season.
  • Hang with me here. One final hoop as I go through security at the ballpark. Then I’ll be ramping things up from the press box and getting to your questions faster. Thanks for your patience
    I think I recall reading recently in the PD (may have been in yesterday's chat with Mr. Goold) where Maddon's shtick is growing old up North. Would you have any insight into what seems to be the feeling around that club? Disgruntled fans b/c the team isn't holding a 10 game lead in the division, or more smoke than that? I would love to see a collapse these last few weeks with one of the Brewers or Cards taking the division, the other as a WC, and a team out west as the 2nd WC.

    Thanks for the chat!
  • I won’t prented to have any unique insight to the Cubs clubhouse, but in my few trips there this season the climate seems just fine. The players seem to be more confident than the fans and to some extent the media about Maddon. Seems like some of the folks who were giggling and clapping when he broke out his antics are now tired of them. The turning point seemed to be some of his questionable moves during the World Series. All was not forgotten and forgiven with the ring I guess?
    Given the way the Cards have played at home and away and versus the Cubs and Brewers, what scenario would be ideal for the Cards in the Wild card game (if they make it)?
  • Oddly enough, they have a better record against the Cubs than the Brewers so far this season. Barely. 9-7 against Chicago and 8-8 against the Brewers. Still think you would rather face the Brewers than the Cubs. (Not if that game is played today, though. The Brewers are piping hot, as the Cubs are finding out.)
  • Ben, thanks for sticking around and taking questions. I'm sure you aren't obligated to stay as long as you do so thank you.

    Also, can we pump the brakes on Travis Ford a little bit? Not saying we were going over the top but the recruitment battle isn't over with yet. I am obviously a Mizzou guy but we will see some good recruiting battles between SLU and Mizzou. Both Mizzou and SLU have solid coaches. I think Travis Ford could have a nice run at SLU though don't get me wrong.

    - Also, do you think that there is a cultural problem at Illinois basketball? They keep losing players, particularly to Mizzou.
  • That Travis Ford has Mizzou fans concerned about recruiting is a good sign for SLU.
    What should not be assumed is that they are always competing for the same recruits.
    Hargrove, for example, had Mizzou's interest, but he was not a top priority for the Tigers. Could he have turned into one? Perhaps, sure. SLU struck first.
    Who wouldn't love to have Carte'Are Gordon?
    Cuonzo Martin is going to be hard to beat on the east side, especially. I like Mizzou's chances with both E.J. Liddell, Mario McKinney, for example.
    A common misconception here is that there is some sort of bad blood. Maybe between fans. Not the coaches.
    Ford's son is walking on at Mizzou this year.
    Cuonzo has a good relationship with Corey Tate.
    There are enough talented players to go around. Expect competition to be hot and heavy for the best.
     
    Keep losing players? I don't know about that one. They lost Tilmon as a signee after a coaching change and the hiring of Martin, who has strong ties to Tilmon's hometown. They lost Mark Edwards who wanted a fresh start after tough debut and had originally committed to Mizzou as a baseball player. I think Illinois is in a good spot with Underwood. Illinois has to be able to get good players out of Chicago. It's a hard game. He's making progress.
     
    Basically, I'm optimistic about all three teams.
    Call me a homer if you want, but I'm just happy the days of awful basketball in every direction appear to be ending. 
  • It seems like Mizzou basketball has lost out a couple of big recruiting targets in Rocket Watts and Tray Jackson recently. Do they need to land both EJ Liddell and Mario McKinney to salvage this years recruiting class?
  • I'd be surprised if McKinney winds up elsewhere. He's got a pretty good recruiter in Jimmy.
    The big one to watch is of course Lidell.
    When Martin really wants a player, he handles that recruiting personally. He is the point man.
    And he's taking that approach with E.J.
    He's watched him play as much a possible within the NCAA limits.
    He has talked to him a lot about the kind of legacy he could leave at Mizzou.
    Locals know how beloved this wave of local NBA stars have become, from Tatum to Beal and beyond. But what we don't know is what that would look like if the STL kid picked Mizzou. MPJ, while not from Columbia, was the closest to finding out, but it flopped. Lidell is being sold that message, and it's an intriguing one.
  • Have you asked Marcell Ozuna about how his shoulder feels?
  • He's been asked many times.
    It was fine, until it wasn't, and now it feels better.
    The answers, like his performances, have shifted. None have been incredibly straightforward.
    He hasn't given many straight answers to the media about what, specifically, he's dealing with. Not that he has to. It's obvious watching him swing now that it feels better. It's obvious that fixing the issue is going to be a big topic this offseason.
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