Cardinals chat with Derrick Goold

Bring your Cardinals questions and comments, and talk to Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold in a live chat starting at 11 a.m.




  • I don't think there's evidence to support this prediction.
  • I'm curious to know your thought, I am in a fan group on Facebook and the question came up, are the Cardinals really good or are other teams just really bad? A lot of discussion has been about the 7 wins against the Reds.. i understand the Reds are not playing good ball right now but they have talent in the outfield, they have Votto, Gennett last year i believe it was hit 4 HR's in one game against the Cardinals, they have a gold glove catchers and several talented young pitchers. I feel like we can't discount these wins, as a team the Cardinals still need to go out and perform at every aspect of the game and they did just that. Thoughts?
  • The Reds are not a good team. And that's going around. There are a lot of not really good teams in baseball, and that's going to create records like the Red Sox have and like the Mets have, and it's one of the big, big, big, big reasons why I picked the Phillies to make the playoffs. It's not because they're some world-beating contender. It's because they get to face the Marlins and the Braves 38 times. That's a good start on the way to 90 wins, no? The method that the Cardinals have used to win in these games should give you some optimism. They have shown to have a strong enough rotation to contend, and Mikolas is a big part of that. They have shown a variety of ways they can score, and they have done so without a Big 3 -- Fowler, Carpenter, Ozuna -- taking off just yet. They will catapult the lineup and need to be there for the better teams against the best pitchers. To me, there might be one great baseball team in the majors. Houston. The Dodgers, Arizona, and Red Sox are seriously good teams. Good. Then there is the next tier of teams that are good enough to tromp on all the tankers and play to a draw against the others. The Mets and the Cardinals are in that next layer, right there with the Cubs and a handful of others.The Cardinals haven't separated themselves from that group, but they could play to a draw here.
  • Love your work, Derrick. But respectfully, I think you've got things turned around re Jordan Hicks. For all pitchers in MLB history (min. 400 IP) a BABIP of .250 would be in the 99th percentile. Hicks' is .161.
    He strikeout rate is 11th worst in baseball, despite throwing harder than Bob Feller.

    The answer is not complicated. He's a young kid with so-so command and no secondary pitches yet, and he's been very fortunate not to give up 4-6 runs so far. He should be in AA, and starting, so he can throw 3-4 different pitches on a regular basis. The Cardinals are doing his career a grave disservice -- and risking his health by asking him to throw with 100% max effort 2-3 times a week.

    In my opinion.
  • I get what you're saying. But there's a school of thought that if a pitcher defies that trend, then there has to be a reason for it, right? We can turn to history for some advice. Over at Baseball-Reference.com, I can sort pitchers by BABIP based on all pitchers who have had at least 200 appearances in the expansion era (1961-now). What you'll see is the bell-curve that has Trevor Rosenthal at one tail with his .342 BABIP (second-highest of the 1,400+ pitchers! the highest of any pitcher with at least 300 appearances!!) and then this glob in the middle that includes pitchers like
     
    Chris Carpenter .301 BABIP
    Jeff Suppan .301 BABIP
    Joel Pineiro, .300 BABIP
    Mike Maddux, .299 BABIP
    Derek Lilliquist, .299 BABIP
    Mike Leake, .297 BABIP
    Todd Wellemeyer, .296 BABIP
    Ricky Horton, .291 BABIP.
    Fernando Salas, .290 BABIP
    Randy Choate, .287 BABIP
     
    That is, in the end, the purpose of the stat -- to show how luck plays a factor and how so, so, so many pitchers all gather around that .300 level, returning to norm, if you will.
     
    And, yet, there on the other side of the curve, down toward the other tail, you see things like this:
     
    Luke Gregerson, .272 BABIP
    Troy Percival, .232 BABIP
    Pat Neshek, .247 BABIP.
     
    When is luck going to balance those scales? Isn't it possible that they just have a pitch or a way of pitching that defies the BABIP curve? You know, like say Jordan Hicks has? Mariano Rivera had a cutter that sliced through baseball, and his BABIP was .265. Was he lucky all those years? Why wasn't there a correction in the hundreds and hundreds of innings he pitched? Jason Motte had a .270 BABIP. You know who else had that? Bob Gibson in this era. Luck never had a chance against Gibson. (Nolan Ryan, that dude who lucked into seven no-hitters, had a .269 BABIP in this era.) Trevor Hoffman had a .266 BABIP, and it wouldn't take much to consider that his changeup, like Rivera's cutter, helped him avoid the regression to the middle.
     
    That is what I'm driving at. History tells us a little about what may be happening, and it's not that he'll snap back to the middle. Some pitchers are good enough -- rather, some pitches are good enough to absolutely bend BABIP. 
     
    UPDATE: As mentioned later in the chat, this was by no means an attempt to suggest that .161 is possible, rather I was trying to explore the notion that a correction .300 was likely, and how some pitchers are able to over many, many innings avoid the tug of BABIP's mean. It could take awhile for Hicks' to normalize and show where he is, but he's got a pitch that stands out and, as above history shows, could put him in an elite group. 
     
  • Maximus Schrock with 2 more hits (and a walk!) today. Yairo Munoz with his first AAA longball, too. (It's early days, but both middle infielders sport an OPS between .850 and .890.) It feels like that Piscotty trade could really pay off in the long run. Which 23-year-old has the best chance to be an MLB regular, in your opinion, Derrick?

    Thanks for your time today, and thanks also to ALL of your colleagues who make these chats possible!
  • Schrock, to me. Upside bat and a clear position.
  • Have you seen Derek Jeter interviewed by Bryant Gumbel, where he attempted to deny tanking? What do you make of it? I like Jeter but, this was disappointing. He reminded me of Mark McGwire testifying before Congress.
  • Have not seen it, but I will give credit where credit is due: The Cubs owned their tanking. They were unapologetic. They answered questions about it. They spelled it out for their fans, and they didn't act surprised when accused of it. That's worth noting.
  • Is a high spin rate necessary for having success in the upper third of the strike zone with a fastball? Is it possible to develop a higher spin rate in a pitcher, or is a pitcher’s spin rate something that has to come natural?
  • Aside: Austin Gomber strikes out 16 in eight shutout innings.
  • These are the questions that teams are trying to answer at this time. They have educated all of the pitchers on what their spin rates are -- especially at the lower level -- and in talking with pitchers a lot this spring I heard about how pitchers were using their spin rate data to improve how they used pitches and where they used pitches. The high spin rate folks were moving up in the zone to take advantage of what the data suggested, and the guys with less spin rate and the sink were moving in the other direction or trying to work on a pitch to get the spin rate up. The idea is twofold, that pitchers can improve this element of their pitchers -- or improve how they use pitches when they cannot. It's the answers that aren't yet there. But when a team figures it all out, expect it to pull ahead and then everyone else copy.
  • Just curious, as a mediator of the public discourse, in that you can choose to respond to questions on twitter, in the chat, and even in your work while choosing to ignore others, do you feel that you can help shape the discourse?

    You often respond to people on twitter or questions in this chat that seem to be less thoughtful or considerate than others, and I'm sure you ignore things that are much worse, but can you help raise the bar by not responding to the stuff that isn't constructive? Or do you feel you need to respond to such stuff in the hopes of raising the bar?
  • Fair question, and it's one I wrestle with -- eventually siding with that last option you present. At times, I do feel like it's part of the role to detonate misconceptions so that they don't flourish. I do try to avoid the anger, the spite, and the mean, but you can see a storm brewing with a falsehood and it should be addressed. It's a double-edged sword, right?
     
    -- If I only approve or acknowledge positive things, then I'm pollyanna'ing.
    -- If I only approve or combat negative thoughts, then I'm feeding the rage.
     
    What I try to do is neither. I try to strike a balance of being fair, and when I see I need to defend my coverage or my phrasing against negative, critical tweets or comments, I do. That's part of being accountable. When I see a falsehood gaining traction or a misconception gathering attention, I do what I can to offer the facts, to the best of my knowledge. That seems to be in the fair zone. Look, I would love for there be less caustic questions on Twitter or in this chat, but I'm not the mediums allow for that. Anger is motivator. If you're content, why bother typing. 
     
    Ideally, since you asked, the chat would be a hub for curiosity and I would approve all the questions that pushed me to new ideas or offered me a chance to explore new concepts, like the BABIP one did recently. I'm not sure what category that question would fall it -- it did have an edge to it -- but it also served a purpose of pushing me to better explain my stance and look at the numbers.
  • Hola D, Is the last infinity stone in Wakanda?
  • All signs point to yes. Bring on the movie, already.
  • Does Pham fit still? Or can we trade high right now? He is disgruntled, the Cards aren’t ever gonna give him the big bucks he wants (and maybe deserves). Why not acquire a non-outfield asset?
  • He's disgruntled? I missed that memo. He seemed fine Sunday. Sore, but fine. Eager to play.
  • With the batters getting all this launch angle on their swings. I’ve noticed a lot of pitches pitching up in the zone more, with the umpires calling more high strikes. Do you think this is the pitchers way of combatting all this launch angle stuff.
  • I know it is. Maddux and others talked about the goal this spring: 

    Under Maddux, Cardinals turn up the high heat

    stltoday.comAfter years of the Cardinals dwelling and thriving in the lower reaches of the strike zone — so much so that the sinker and ground balls became synonymous with them
  • Who on this team do you see making the allstar team? I'm thinking C Martinez,Molina,Dejong, and Pham.
  • One of the outfielders, if not Pham. Ozuna could get the fan support, depending on how Cardinals Nation embraces him and whether his production perks up. Good call on the other three. Will be interesting to see how this closer situation sorts out. Norris has a head start on being a sleeper All-Star pick in this role. Another pitcher could make it -- reliever or starter -- if Cardinals have a strong record in mid-June.
  • I usually disagree with most all of your arguments but I do like your lineup. The idea of actually moving Carpenter down in the lineup hasn't gotten much traction.
  • Huh. Thanks for stopping by the chat despite your view.
  • Is Molina buying into the launch angle stuff as well? What's up with his hot start? I mean, he's been a solid hitter before, but he's had whole seasons with less homers, no?
  • He is. As much as anybody. He's seen a steeper incline in his launch angle than any hitter, according to data available to MLB.com.
  • Good year to be playing the AL Central. Just checked and their combined record is currently 37-56, the worst of any division.
  • Yep. Not as good as being in a division with the Fish, though.
  • Derrick, I gotta give the Cards FO credit for the early season success. I’d be whining so loudly if they had cincy’s record. Is this a 90 win team?
  • Remains in that 88-94 window for me. I think that's where I pegged them earlier. The point of the 94 is this: they just need a lot to go right to get there. It can go right. It just must.
  • Man, people have a HIGH bar for you! The amount of research you clearly put in on the fly to answer questions thoughtfully is amazing! And the amount of patience you show is even more so. I'm not sure I could manage the chat each week like you do.
  • Thanks. Next week is Rick Hummel's turn! It's the chatters Hall of Fame respite, if you will.
  • How do you see the bullpen shaking out once Tuivailala and Cecil are off the DL? Fortunate scheduling of a DL stint? Minors trip for Bowman or Leone? A DFA on the horizon?
  • I imagine it will sort itself out by injury and performance. The Cardinals can have Sherriff back in Memphis. Cecil can take some time to come back because he's not even on an official rehab assignment yet -- and he may reject one, who knows. Tuivailala is the interesting one, because in effect his role has been usurped by other righthanders so it would take a slip of Leone, Hicks, or someone else to really clear that room for Tuivailala. He's out of options, and what you may see is the Cardinals' collection of closers ultimately leads to him being traded if the Cardinals find a taker. Could see that, especially if the Cardinals give him a run in front of scouts at Class AAA on the rehab assignments. Performance and health usually answer this question before it has to be answered.
  • Would you really trade two or three top prospects for a Machado rental?
  • Depends on who the prospects are. Need names. Need to know what team I am.
  • If Ozuna performs at the level we are expecting could the Cardinals have the best/deepest lineup in the National League?
  • One of. But not the. Cubs still exist. Dodgers, too. Washington, as well.
  • I will take the Tony La Russa approach and wear a MLB hat when I enter into the hall. What do you think?
  • It's blank. Just blank. Doesn't even have an MLB logo.
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