Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions live from Jupiter at 1 p.m. Monday

Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions live from Jupiter at 1 p.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat with Derrick Goold at 1 p.m. Monday

    Just saw the Cardinals HOF nominees list. Can I publicly plead with my fellow fans to vote for Keith Hernandez already? The other guys are great, but none of them are in the ballpark here.
    You can lobby or him, for sure. It's perplexing that he isn't in yet.
    Hi Derrick,

    Do the Cardinals see Liberatore a part of this team at all? Or is he mostly in the plans for
    2021/2022? Thank you!
    They have said they would not be surprised if he contributes this season, 2021. The don't expect him to break camp with the big-league team and thus far he hasn't received that kind of look in spring training.
    Do you think this is a big year for DJong with a player like Story possibly available next year and the Cardinals having a lot of money coming off of the books.
    Even if there weren't shortstops available galore in the coming offseason this is a big season for DeJong. He's had two years where he's tired, and his production has flagged in the second half. He's also been asked to do everything for the team at times -- be the everyday shortstop all the time and hit cleanup. Now they can alleviate at least one part of that ... And see if that helps his entire game.
    Same old Cardinals. First inning,Bases-loaded nobody out - strike out Strike out . Dejong Critical situation strike out
    Good thing that was February. This is March. New month. New opportunity.
  • DG

    Thanks always for the chat.

    You saw the transition from Matheny to Yadi in your early days of coverage.

    From that experience, what do you take away when you look to Yadi to Knizner/Herrera transition?

    If Herrera is the right heir, do you see Yadi coming back for more than one year to oversee that transition? (Yadi seemed clear that he wanted to play two more years during free agency anyway)
    My move, on a probational basis, from hockey to the baseball beat coincided with Molina's arrival in the majors, so what I saw was the arrival of Matheny's heir in the clubhouse, right there, across from him. I didn't get to see, first hand, the spring training(s) leading up to that. I do know that Molina was rightfully met with a competitive situation -- Matheny could read the writing on the wall, if you will, but as long as he had the job he was going to compete to keep it, and we saw that clearly in 2004.
    Molina has taken an interest in Knizner, and his fondness for Herrera is as obvious at the ballpark as it is on Instagram. Herrera also has shown great reverence for Molina through the years.
    Molina said he wants to play through 2022, at age 40. How he arrived at that number? Well, part of it is doing what other catchers have not, and a lot of that is to compile some of the counting numbers that will sweeten his Cooperstown case. Also, saying that he wants to play two more years gives him twice as much of a chance to win a championship and also the chance to get a two-year, guaranteed deal from a team. That didn't happen. So now he's year to year. I don't think the mentoring or transition will be a reason he comes back.
    He has said that when he plays he intends to play a lot and that he sees playing time as something that he has to earn by proving he's still the best catcher in the league.
    In a way, he's competing to keep his job. But in spring it's clear he does care how ready the catcher(s) is who will eventually replace him.
    Using Nate Silver's terms "signal" and "noise," I want to ask about the custom of regarding good spring training performances as signal and bad spring training performances as "noise"—as meaningless aberrations. Can we agree that Jack Flaherty's decline last year, the gingerly way in which the Cardinals managed his starts then, and the "horrible" performance yesterday together constitute a signal that he has serious arm trouble that will, for as long as possible, be regarded by Flaherty and the team, as noise?
    What decline last year? Are you talking about the ERA that nine of the 22 runs came from one outing in Milwaukee, and otherwise he had a 3.13 ERA in his other eight starts. Please don't say his win-loss record is a sign of decline, or the innings that the Cardinals didn't let him pitch out of concern for his longterm health. Let's look at other numbers that suggest some health concern:
    His fastball averages (mph) the past three seasons -- 93.9, 93.6, 93.4
    His slider averages (mph) the past three seasons -- 84.9, 84.5, 84.3
    His curveball percentages the past three seasons -- 11.2, 12.1, 13.6.
    He didn't change his mix of pitches favoring one more than another because of soreness or any indication of a decline in effectiveness that might be a signal to make some noise.
    His expected Fielding Independent Pitching was actually better in 2020 than in 2019, and that number is based on what he could expect from the things he controlled -- swings and misses, balls, etc. His K/9 rate went up. His walk rate did, too, as he spent some time dialing in his fastball through the erratic schedule. Any sign of decline here? Not much signal there at all. If anything, the signals point again and again and again to a righthanded pitcher who four times was ready to make a start and had that start delayed -- by two days, by two weeks, by more than two months.
    Subtract that Milwaukee start from his season -- the one where the Brewers clearly had some kind of insight on what he was about to pitch, through some way -- and check out his numbers from the quick back of the napkin calculations:
    2.91 ERA, 10.59 K/9, 3.19 K/BB, and a 1.08 WHIP.
    That's, um, pretty good. 
    I’m confused and don’t understand why the light workload of pitchers in 2020 requires them to be utilized more carefully in 2021. I would think that would be a benefit as long as they have the opportunity to prepare properly for this season which it appears they do.
    Would you please explain this to me.
    Thanks very much for your efforts to bring us coverage of our Cards.
    Sure. It stems from the approach that teams use with young pitchers, and this idea that going from 100 innings one season in the minors risks injury if that pitcher is asked to them do 200 innings the next season. There are places where this is called the Verducci Effect for the writer who would calculate these numbers each season and point out that a 40 percent increase -- or thereabouts -- was an injury risk for pitchers. The number isn't precisely that, and it's more nuanced -- it has to do with pitch count, not raw innings, and some teams, like the Cardinals, even go further into the number to track "stress" pitches or stress innings. An example of that is the Cardinals' policy of having a pitcher, a young pitcher, leave an inning if he gets to 40 pitches. That's a high-stress inning and they'd rather remove the pitcher then risk the ramifications of going deeper into that inning and possibly invite injury. 
    How that applies to this season is teams see a league-wide limit on workload from the previous season and wonder how fair it is to ask a pitcher to go from 60 innings in 2020 to 200 innings. There's a hesitancy to do that with pitchers, even with the time off, and the stop/start nature of the 2020 season is another part of it considering players went from the brink of being ready to months of a shutdown to a monthlong ramp up to pitch to the sprint of 60 games, etc. This is really uncharted territory for the industry, and so all teams are going to side with caution.
    We'll watch this evolve, but expect the teams to ease into workloads and take cues from how pitchers look in May, in June, and then in the dog days of August. Also, watch how teams in contention look for pitchers via trade in July to fortify their ranks.
    Do you think John Nogowski could be the next player in the line of late bloomers that can help the team in the next couple of years, as a part time DH, PH, occasionally at 1B? I'm intrigued by the way he is described as a put the ball in play hitter and that could provide balance at the back half of the lineup. Thanks!
    I like that description. Earlier in the chat we discussed Austin Dean and the look he's getting at first and that role he'd have off the bench against lefthanded hitters. Nogowski could be a rightful challenger to the role too. It seems unlikely at the moment that the Cardinals will carry two backups at first base in Carpenter and Dean or Nogowski, but what Nogowski does -- and his knack for putting the ball in play -- there's a fit for a hitter like that coming off the bench in the National League, absolutely.
    Can you handicap Keith Hernandez' chances of making the MLB HOF via veterans commitee? Thank you for the chats. It is great to have baseball back with even a modicum of normalcy.
    There for a moment I thought we were talking about the Cardinals Hall of Fame. No, you're talking about the Hall of Fame, the big one, down the street from Baseballism in Cooperstown, that one. Right there in New York. Interesting question. This is a better question for Hummel who has been a part of these selections in the past. I have not been. I think there is a renewed appreciation for Hernandez's career, for sure, and I'm stunned he's not in the Cardinals' Hall of Fame. Fans have not given him the support. Working against him will be his voting totals during the writers' vote for Cooperstown. He was on the ballot nine years before dropping off, but really orbited around the same level of support, between 6 percent and 11 percent for seven of the nine years. He topped out at 10.8 percent. So there were voters committed to him and they maintained that total until he slipped from the ballot as it started to get crowded coming out of the 1990s. Ted Simmons had to overcome the lack of support from writers (a fact I'll never understand) and that took decades for him to do, and he was a surefire, no-doubt Hall of Famer to me. Hernandez is more on the bubble. Dale Murphy ahead of him, for example.
  • How should we evaluate the offense through spring with Roger Dean Stadium being such a difficult park for hitters? I would assume exit velocity and barrel rate would be useful. Anything else we should look at?
    Strikeouts. Strikeouts would be one. A lot of those won't bode well. In fact, do keep a look out for strikeouts and how those look. Walks are a fine number to consider, for a few hitters. Some will benefit from pitchers being wild. So, back to strikeouts as an indicator. Hard hit line drives. In Matt Carpenter's case, how many times he hits to left field, and how the ball gets there whether it's an out or not. Contact for Harrison Bader is a big one, line drive rate for all hitters would be good. Yeah, raw totals and SLG are going to be misleading. But strikeouts -- if those are up then it's a problematic sign.
    Hi DG, thanks for the chat. MM's first start getting pushed back is a good reminder of how thin the veteran starting rotation depth is. Is the team still in on Odorizzi?
    They have not lost his agent's phone number.
    Hi DG thanks for chatting today. How much of an actual competition at 2B is there? It seems like a team, for whom defense is a huge asset, is not going to want to start Carp there regularly.
    The competition is real, but there's room for both Edman and Carpenter if they perform.
    Hi DG thanks for chatting. How is Nolan Gorman looking at 2B? Is he getting an OF work in?
  • Haven't had a chance to see him at second in person. I did watch him work in the outfield, and he moved around well. Clearly has the arm for it. He was using his third baseman's glove and didn't have any issue tracking liners, or running down base hits to the chain-link fence, or any of the other things an outfield can do during BP. We'll see him in left or at second or perhaps both in a Grapefruit League game at some point in the middle of this month, if not earlier. That's in the plans for the Cardinals.
  • Stumping for Max Lanier to be the Blue Ribbon Panel’s inductee for 2021...one of the top careers by any Cardinal hurler in franchise history and a key member of the 1940s powerhouse squads.
  • He's been discussed for sure. Shouldn't be overlooked.
  • Derrick, is there *any* chance of the DH in the NL this year?
    There still is, yes. It's a key part of negotiations, which could continue and must have some resolution here in the coming weeks. There are decisions to be made, especially as long as owners still want to expand the playoffs.
    I know it was one game... and one spring training game... BUT in the 1st inning yesterday... Cardinals got the bases loaded and no outs, and again, only managed to capture one run, and only because of a gift, a wild pitch. Has Jeff Albert worked with the hitters on a situational, contact based approach? I don't have the data, but from watching the games, seems like we are well below league average score % with RISP, 0-1 outs the last several seasons
    He has worked with them -- or rather he has in the past. We watched it with our own eyes. This season it's harder to see what's going on in the hitting lab or with hitters. Well, no, check that. It's impossible. We only get what we ask about. In the past we would have been able to watch some of that in person, and I last year there were the usual drills and the expanded work done on it. That included turning situational hitting into a contest for the hitters. That has also included working through scenarios, or even have the coach call out scenarios as they're hitting the cage. Again, there is no reason to believe they aren't doing that this spring as well. It's pretty standard. I just haven't been able to see it person, and have only been told that it's going on.
    Looking at the 40-man roster we have 6 outfielders, all of whom are relatively young and deserving of a look at the Majors. Presuming Austin Dean and Justin Williams are at the bottom of the pecking order, what do they ultimately have to do to stay in the big leagues?
    Hit. Consistently. The door is open for an outfield who produces. Period. The Cardinals aren't in a position where they can overlook someone actually producing from the outfield. That time is past. They need performance.
    It's not *quite* on the same level as Boof Bonser, but Nars Lootbaar is an A+ baseball name. How are his chances in the near(ish) future, and is there a current or past baseball name you would rank as your favorite?
    We were talking about Harry "Suitcase" Simpson at the ballpark today while trying to spy a sliver of the sim game going on about 150ish yards away. That's a classic name. I've always like the name Urban Shocker from the past. Classic name ready for headline use. Also, Urban Shocker on first reference, and then Shocker on every reference after that. Like covering a superhero or something, maybe a villain from Spider-Man's Rogues' Gallery. Nars Lootbaar is in big-league camp, and that's a sign of where he fits for the Cardinals at the higher levels and on the radar. Yeah, he's developing into a prospect, and in the near-ish future he'll be in the conversation for a fourth outfield spot to see what he does with it.
    Derrick,
    Where would Molina fall in our all time catcher ranks? How about just defensively?
    Do you feel he has enough time left to still climb your rankings, and what would you need to do with the few seasons he might have left to keep climbing?
    A quick bounce over to Baseball-Reference has Yadier Molina, by WAR, currently ranked 18th among players with at least 1,000 games and 75 percent of them at catcher. Seemed like a good breakpoint.
    1. Bench 75.2
    2. Carter 70.1
    3. Rodriguez 68.7
    4. Fisk 68.4
    5. Piazza 59.6
    6. Berra 59.5
    7. Dickey 57.3
    8. Harnett 56.9
    9. Cochrane 49.1
    10. Schwang 47.9
    11. Munson 46.0
    Molina, at 40.4, is in the mix with Kendall (41.8), Porter (40.9), and Posey (41.8).
    It's possible for Molina to vault into the top 15 by the end of this season with a strong season. The above numbers favor offense heavily, but as you look through it it's possible to see how Molina could be a top 10 catcher all time, certainly a Hall of Famer, and that the bulk of his claim to that would be his defense. That top six is a heady group, honestly. But Molina is already ahead of all but two of them when it comes to defense.
    This statistic has undergone some changes over time, and a rewrite of how it calculated gave a significant boost to Molina, and still defensive WAR for catch does put him in elite company:
    1. Rodriguez 29.6
    2. Carter 26.1
    3. Boone 25.8
    4. Molina 25.4
    It is entirely possible that Molina will retire with the second-highest defensive WAR among catchers behind only Ivan Rodriguez. The Gold Gloves tell the same tale. Molina's peak defensive WAR season was 2.9. He was 0.4 in the shortened 2020 season, and he 0.8 dWAR in 2019. A repeat of that would move him into second. That's it. He's five years removed from his last dWAR season of more than 1.0. He doesn't need that much to get into the top two.
    So, to answer your question -- yeah he has the time left to move in one metric about defense into being the second best to the all-time leader, and that makes a lot of sense. He's going to be in the conversation for top five defensive catchers all-time. And if he's in that mix, then when you expand the conversation to include the ones that rocked offensively too while playing that position (i.e., Piazza), Molina still fits where he aims to be -- in the discussion for one of the best of all time.
    Sure seems like you could find the statistics to back that up.
    Good afternoon Derrick and thank you for the chat. As both Ben H. and the Commish noted in articles today, no need to worry about Jack Flaherty's outing yesterday. In fact, if I read Jack's personality correctly, he will use the experience as a motivator and not a discouragement. And the silver lining is that it unexpectedly gave other Cards pitchers an extended chance to shine. Including Tommy Parsons. Which is the beauty of spring training; a pitcher I frankly didn't know about got to showcase his ability.
    Tommy Parsons pitched well. I was unable to join his Zoom conference today, and would have liked to hear how he described that experience. He's an unapologetic strike-thrower, and that's a great way to advance in baseball.
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