Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions at 11 a.m. Monday

Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions at 11 a.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat with Derrick Goold at 11 a.m. Monday

    Greetings. Welcome to another in the ongoing series of Cardinals chats on Monday here at StlToday. Cardinals are coming off their second series sweep of the season -- their first at home, their first against a division foe. Their rotation is providing more quantity (of innings) and quality (of starts), and voila! ... sweep. Pitching like that is how the Cardinals are built to contend, and why they've been so inconsistent to start the season. Hope people had a chance to watch the Padres-Dodgers series. Such compelling, exceptional and entertaining baseball.
    You've got questions. I'll do my best to offer answers. Let's get going earlier here because I'll have to step aside briefly around 3 p.m. for a commitment, and then I'll come back to finish with a lightning round to take you into Rick Hummel's coverage from the ballpark.
    Away we go.
    Despite the Cardinals giving away large amount of talent for not much return they’re still hanging in there. I am for one amazed
    This is why, during all these chats, the question for the Cardinals -- to me -- isn't scouting. The scouts are acquiring talent. It's the development and identification of the talent -- and also where the Cardinals haven't been able to acquire/develop talent. Other teams in the division look on enviously to how the Cardinals draft/develop/sign pitching talent. Especially the Cubs. Had a conversation with a Cubs executive during the 2016 World Series, and the point he made as if they're going to have the longevity of being a "dynasty" the next step for them was developing their own pitching, as the Cardinals did. The Cubs haven't. They had to trade, they had to sign, and overall they just haven't had any contribution in recent years from homegrown pitchers. That could change in the coming years because the Cubs snagged one of the people responsible for the Cardinals' success drafting pitching. Dan Kantrovitz, within hours of having a chance to return to the Cardinals as a front-office executive, switched and took a job running the Cubs' draft. 
    To your point, the Cardinals have pollinated pitching staffs around the game, and they've even sent off a few outfield prospects. It's about what those teams do to unlock the hitters, and what the Cardinals haven't been able to do to identify or have that talent manifest. They do at least identify it.
    Why did it take schildt so long to move Carlson into the two spot ? Goldy and Arenado have had more rbi opportunities in the last three games and Carlson is getting better pitches to hit.
    As I've been trying to say since we asked over and over and over and over about this during spring training -- it started when the manager dismissed the notion of Carpenter competing with Edman for the leadoff spot -- there has not been a satisfactory answer given for why it didn't happen sooner. There were answers, but not one that really captured a surefire reason. Some of those answers included Shildt's wish to have his two best hitters get up in the first inning. Another of those answers was to avoid asking too much of a young hitter too soon. Note: The same young hitter was the team's cleanup hitter in the playoffs.
    For the Cardinals I think it was a little bit of wishcasting. They wanted the offense to be so deep that Carlson could bat seventh because that would mean six hitters were crushing ahead of him. So they started there hoping that was the lineup they would be.
    I am a Matt Carpenter fan, but I wonder because of the GM’s lastest statements if something will be done about him when Bader returns because of roster.
    That's not the move that has to force a move with Carpenter. Bader returns, Hurst heads out. That's a straight swap because of their position, and what has been Hurst's role.
    Do you think Hicks and Reyes will get more efficient when they come into games late or will they be like Izzy used to be and make almost every game a nail biter?
    Both of them have the stuff to be more efficient, especially Hicks with his sharp, high-velocity sinker. This seems like selective memory on Jason Isringhausen. Out of complete curiosity I went and looked it up. Isringhausen had 217 saves for the Cardinals and fewer walks than saves (174). He had far fewer hits allowed than innings pitched, 312 to 408. You could look at it another way, too. He had 401 appearances for the Cardinals and faced just over 1,700 batters, so that's an average of 4.3 batters per appearance. He's got 408 innings in those 401 appearances, so he was averaging a sliver more than three outs per appearances. Unless there's a bunch of double plays ... that's three batters faced to get three outs. Now, he had some one-pitch outings in there where he finished a game by getting one out.
    Over at Baseball-Reference.com, it's possible to go even more granular, so I looked at the games he finished as a Cardinal and pitched at least one full inning to do so. And ...
    113 times he completed a full inning in 13 pitches or less.
    More than 2/3 of his full-inning games finished were done in 20 or fewer pitches.
    Matheny has quietly got KC off to a good start. Is he and the Royal capable of a winning season and playoff berth this year?
    Sure. That AL Central is the White Sox's to lose, but there are plenty of wins to chew up for another team to make a wild-card run or be there if the Fighting La Russa's tumble. There's a lot to like about the spunk and personality of that KC team. Enough to contend in the standings -- win Matheny a manager of the year award?
    What's the status of St. Louis Luke Voit? How soon will he return and how much do you think he'll impact the Yankees record as the returning home run champion?
    New York Yankees beat writers reported that Voit arrived at the alternate-site camp this past weekend, and manager Boone told reporters that Voit could be another two weeks away from rejoining the Yankees lineup. The Yankees need thump and some offense, for sure. And having a key part of last year's lineup back would bode well considering they haven't replaced his production in his absence.
    Would you like to see MLB move the mound back a foot to get more balls in play? What other thoughts and or solutions do you have to add action to the game?
    No, I would not. I would like MLB to drop the lower boundary of the strike zone by the width of the ball. That's it. Just keep the top of the strike zone where it is and lower the strike zone so that we get the sinker back in play, and the hitters have to hit that ball hard on the ground somewhere. Good bye shifts. Hello more balls in play. Hello more action in the infield, And so on.
    KMOX's Kevin Wheeler disagrees with my proposal and counters that they should shrink the strike zone and play to the power. We debate that on the recent edition of the Best Podcast in Baseball: 

    Best Podcast in Baseball : Zone Defense - Best Podcast in Baseball - Omny.fm

    What was supposed to be a standard, weekly update on all things Cardinals veered into a deep, inside-baseball debate on how to get the game revving again. St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold and KMOX/1120 AM's Kevin Wheeler began talking about the rule changes baseball is experimenting with in minor-league and independent league baseball, and while both of them see the need to get more balls in play, they have starkly different suggestions for how to do that. A brief conversation becomes a long debate on the strike zone and whether to increase the size of it change hitters or decrease it to cater to hitters. Hope you enjoy. The Best Podcast in Baseball, sponsored by Closets by Design, is a production of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, StlToday.com, and Derrick Goold,
  • (Dang that logo appeared a lot bigger than I expected. Sorry about that.)
  • Do you think Justin Williams will hit enough to play much once Bader returns or will his defensive mistakes relegate him to a bench bat?
    Yes, I think he will hit enough, and being the lefthanded-hitting option will also help him. Remember the Cardinals were still planning on playing the matchups with Harrison Bader in the lineup. He's struggled against righthanded pitchers in each of the past two years, and that's a factor that has not gone unnoticed when it comes to making out the lineup card, even when he's on the active roster.
    Could Edman bouncing between 2nd and RF to accommodate Matt Carpenter cost him and All Star Game invitation?
    No. He'll be on the fan ballot at second base, because the team designated him as their second baseman for the All-Star ballot. The rest is up to the fans. And if he doesn't win the fan vote, then he'll be considered as a second baseman for the peer vote. And if he doesn't get that, and the Cardinals need a candidate for the All-Star Game because the fans and the peers didn't vote any Cardinal onto the roster he'll be helped by the fact that he can play a bunch of positions and the manager may want that on the roster.
    But, again, he'll be the second baseman on the ballot, right there alongside Kolten Wong of the Milwaukee Brewers. And it's up to the fans to drive his candidacy.
    There was a lively debate this morning on the radio about who was the worse miss for the cardinals. Scherzer or tatis jr.

    My opinion is that it’s scherzer. Even though tatis jr is a rising star, scherzer was already a star when the cardinals could’ve signed him. And they never even pursued him. They at least scouted and had an offer extended to tatis jr. Also, even though young players can show great talent, it’s difficult to project that they’ll become superstars. The cards signed Aledmys Diaz back in the day and I’m sure they thought he’d develop into more than what he did with the cardinals.

    Which miss is worse in your opinion?
    Max Scherzer. Because he is an example of them not making a play at all, and a miss on their due diligence of knowing the player beyond the data, and also the risk of being a conservative data-driven organization that sometimes talks themselves out of moves. 
    Fernando Tatis Jr. was traded by the Sox for James Shields. There were several teams that missed on identifying what he was going to become. 
    Watching the Angels start the season playing better and Albert off to a slow start how does Madden juggle winning w keeping Pujols engaged and playing as he continues climbing all time baseball records?
    Joe Posnanski made an interesting point in his recent baseball diary entry for The Athletic. He pointed out that Pujols has climbed all the charts he's going to climb -- that the next rungs are out of reach unless he plays another full season, or several more seasons. Is he going to slug 30+ more homers this season to run down Alex Rodriguez and try to get 700 homers? He's not going to climb past Aaron and Ruth for RBIs. He's 104 behind Ruth, and 180+ behind Aaron. 
    At this point, the Angels are hampering themselves all that much it seems, and some point they'll have a conversation about the best players playing the most because their in contention. He can avoid that conversation by being one of their best options, and they'll give him that chance. Contracts do matter.
    What had Wainright done to continue his recent success and high strike out rate? Is his curve that different w spin rate and break that makes it superior to other RH pitchers in the NL and hitters can't hit it even when they know it's coming?
  • Yes. And it plays off the same eye level as his fastball, and he's got three movements to his fastball. So, when he's at his best he can tunnel the curve with what he calls the "x-game" -- and that's crisscrossing the plate with a cutter (one way) and sinker (the other) and then drop the curve out of that same release point so it plunges down. Wainwright has one of the all-time great curveballs. Ask Mets fans. They still get chills.
  • Is Carlson still considered a rookie and if so what are his chances of becoming the first Cards rookie of the year since Pujols in 2001?
    He is still a rookie. He is one of the favorites to win the NL ROY award.
    Do you think Andrew Miller will pitch meaningful innings this season?
    And it was said: “let the pitchers come forth and eat innings.” Ad they did (so far).
    They had not for awhile, and now are. And look at the wins arrive. It's not a coincidence. The offense can be maddening, but it looks like a lot of lineups are going to be that way this season. It's the pitching that needs to be the Cardinals' consistency.
    And the outfield defense.
    That needs to improve too.
  • SHOCKED at the results of your survey this far. How is it Madison Bumgarner's fault that baseball changed the rules for double headers? What is he supposed to do about it?
  • The results are fascinating. I agree.
  • You and the other PD writers seem to long for a return to small ball. Why doesn't a small market team pursue this? The could draft college players, sign international players and develop players for this. This would have to be better than tanking.
    I do not long for a return to small ball, sorry. If I've given that impression, I apologize. I am a fan of damage and quality baseball. I like great defense and strong fundamentals, and a team that do a little bit of everything. Home runs are great. Steals are awesome. A great defensive play is the best. To me, that's not small ball. That's just quality ball. I would like to see more balls in play for fielders to make plays, not because I long for bunts and stuff that are the hallmarks of small ball.
    Here's my thing: Some of the greatest athletes to play baseball ever are playing baseball right now -- right this moment -- so why isn't the game more entertaining? Why aren't games constant showcases for this athleticism? 
    It's the NHL where there was the left-wing lock and clutching and grabbing and this great era of skaters was slowed down, bogged down in the middle of the ice, and couldn't let their talents get to full speed.
    I wanted the Padres-Dodgers and some of these other games over the past weekend -- including Phillies-Rockies -- and there is such amazing talent in the game. 
    I just want the ice to be open so we can see the talent skate.
    That doesn't have to be small ball.
    Also, the Cardinals aren't a small-market team. Their fans make big-market spending possible. They can get out and get the best talent, and should. Arenado is one of the best all-around players in the league, in the game, and they can get that kind of talent, and fans should expect them to do so.
    Which starting rotation would you rather have, the Cardinals current rotation or a rotation of the starters they let go to free agency or traded (Lynn, Gallen, Alcantara, Gonzales, and Weaver)?
    Great question. That's fantastic. That's a pretty good rotation. It does not have a rising ace like Flaherty or an accomplished pitcher like Wainwright, though Lynn has an impressive career, too. So, the current Cardinals would be top heavy, and maybe the better group to go into a ... well, I was about to type playoff series. But there's a lot to like about the group you mention. To me, it looks like a staff that is currently positioned better to contend, day in and day out through the length of a long season. The group that is gone looks like one that would win more games over the course of 162 game schedule. How would it do in a playoff series?
    1. Lynn vs. Flaherty -- excellent matchup. Flaherty edge, slight.
    2. Gallen vs. Wainwright -- interesting matchup for sure. I like Gallen against the Cardinals' lineup. I like Wainwright's guile against the D-Backs' lineup more.
    3. Alcantara vs. Martinez -- great story to write given the contrast. Alcantara.
    4. Gonzales vs. Kim -- lefty vs. lefty, and this might be the pivot point of the group, where the series is decided. Kim has the ability to do what Gonzales does, and that's probably where the edge is. I think the pick here would be what gives you the answer.
    5. Weaver vs. Gant -- draw. Both are likely to leave four or five innings for the bullpen to pitch at the moment. Gant pitched really well recently. 
    Such a good question. Let's open it up to the floor to see what others say.
    Assuming (more like praying!) Arenado stays, and given how well Edman has done defensively at 2B, do you see the Cards shifting Gorman to an OF spot?
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