Cardinals chat with Derrick Goold

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 1 p.m.




    Has Munoz's production this year changed the outlook on his ceiling moving forward?
  • Confirmed it more than raised it.
    If Nick Markakis gets to 3,000 hits (currently at 2234 and 34 years old) but has a career OPS below .800 (currently at .783) does he make the hall of fame?
  • Get back to me when he has 3,000 hits.
    You ask why fans fixate on Fowler? Are you in earnest, DG?

    By late May Fowler had established himself as the worst player in the national League this year, per all 3 websites that profess to measure WAR. That's Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference, and Baseball Prospectus.

    The Cards had Bader at the MLB level, O'Neill slugging .700 in AAA, and either Munoz or Jose Martinez, all as possible replacements in the daily lineup. (Fowler was starting, with Ozuna & Pham, of course.)

    Matheny began to phase out Fowler on June 12, and replace him with Bader. (Bader made 18 starts and Fowler just 11 over the next 5 weeks. Then Shildt took over and reversed course, starting Bader just 5 of the next 17 games, and Fowler 15.)

    So from late May on, Matheny gave Fowler perhaps 20-25 more starts than he should have had (he should have had zero, since the club had so many better alternatives, which was obvious both then and now), and Shildt gave Fowler 15 more starts than he should have.

    So, all told that's maybe 35-40 excessive starts for the N.L.'s worst player of 2018. So how much did that hurt the team?

    Taking the average of the 3 aforementioned WAR websites, both O'Neill and Bader have been worth almost exactly 6 WAR per 600 plate appearances this year, and Fowler was worth less than negative 2. So that's 8 wins difference over a full season between the exciting rookies and the expensive washed up veteran.

    Therefore 35-40 games, or a quarter of a season, would be a 2 win difference between Fowler and the outfielders who could have taken those starts.

    Thanks for letting me respond, Mr. Goold.
  • Thanks for the time you spent putting this together, and it makes complete sense. I wonder about the standard though. There was a time, in mid-May, when Matt Carpenter had a .140/.286/.272 slash line and his OPS was .558. That put him among the least productive players who was eligible for the "batting race" at that time. He had more strikeouts (40) than total bases (31). And that was in 140 plate appearance. No small slice of the season. But a small slice of a career. That's the question the Cardinals had to confront -- with Carpenter, with Ozuna, with Holland, and, yes, with Fowler. Was the downturn a blip that would lead to a correction, or was it a sign of an erosion that wouldn't be undone. 
     
    Fowler hit the half point as one of the least productive leadoff hitters in the game with a .225/.303/.364 slash line and a .667 OPS in 365 plate appearances to start 2015. This was his point all along this year. The Cubs stayed with him. Committed to him. Talked to him about the trends they saw. Trusted him. And in the second half he hit .272/.389/.463 with a .852 OPS to -- voila -- arrive closer to his career averages. He was the player they expected by the end of the season, and then slingshot into 2016, which was a strong career year that ended with a pirouette at first base in Game 7 of the World Series.
     
    All of that being said is this the decision the Cardinals had to make: Was Fowler worth the investment in at-bats because his career trend said he was due to bounce back, or was he in a spot where no matter what at-bats he got his swing had gotten to a point where it was undone. Hard to answer. What was clear was he asked for faith, for trust, and he didn't get it, and left him dealing with more than a wonky swing.That led to frustration and, as Mozeliak said, a depression that accelerated/enhanced his difficulty.  
     
     
  • Do you know if the front office and the players read these chats to get a sense of what the fans are thinking, or are we too small a sample size? I bet they do but won’t admit it.
  • Let's find out. They are welcome to submit a question. The Cardinals have ways to keep track of all the coverage on the team, including appearances any of us make on radio or TV.
  • If you were to make the "Cusamano milkshake bet" today as to who between Rosenthal and Waino is more likely to be on an MLB 2019 opening day roster, who would you choose?
  • Wainwright, and I would win.
  • DG: greetings from SF! How do you see next year's rotation, in particular will Carlos be back as a starter, or does the club see him as a long term, Kimrbrel-type closer? For the starting 5, there's Mikolas and Flaherty and then a bunch of question marks
  • I think the Cardinals do have that Kimbrel-type, long term closer out in the bullpen. It's Hicks. Carlos Martinez and the team expect him to be a starter for 2019. That puts him, Mikolas, Flaherty, Gomber, and Wacha as the odds-on rotation to start the year. Reyes would offer depth, along with Weaver, Poncedeleon, et. al. Wainwright would be a wild card, if re-signed.
  • Should we move Carpenter out of the top spot for lefthander Jennings' 1st inning, and bat Bader 1st?
  • Is Chase Utley a hall of famer? In their prime who do you take him or Ryne Sandberg?
  • Alright you got me caught in a freefall into these two careers. I need to stop or I'll be lost for the entire chat. I think Utley is going to be the Hall of Quite Good. I haven't given a lot of thought to Utley's Cooperstown chances because I don't have to for a few years. I've got more pressing votes to make. But at first blush it would seem odd to vote for Utley if Kent isn't in the Hall, and I haven't had a chance to vote for Kent yet because the ballot is so stocked, and I have had better options to vote on. It's the last part of your question that is a twist. I didn't get a chance to vote on Sandberg for the Hall. To me, Utley appears the better fielder and definitely a modern hitter (.823 OPS to Sandberg's .795 OPS, helped by the higher OBP, .358 to .344). When I started this, I felt that Sandberg was the better offensive threat. Look, he had a 40-homer season, a 900 OPS season, and so on. I'd lean Sandberg because the bat is going to carry that position for me, but this is closer than you think.
  • If Dexter Fowler gets to 3,000 hits, does he make the Hall of Fame?
  • If he does from both sides of the plate, absolutely. That would be a record.
  • While the Cards are ranked as the worst defensive team in the NL, many of those errors could be attributed to JMartinez on-the-job training. Even at his best Carpenter is a shade below average. If the Cards had a league average first sacker scooping up low throws and short hops, how do you think this infield would rank defensively?
  • Huh? Where are you getting this ranking. The Cardinals have committed the most errors. That hardly makes them the worst defensive team in the NL. That's awful metric to judge that. Scott Rolen or Andrelton Simmons could got out and lead their leagues in errors because they got to more balls and got dinged with more errors because of the plays they usually make. Matt Chapman, with the A's., has 19 errors at third base. That's the second-most in baseball. He is probably the best fielder at that position in the AL. Nolan Arenado has 14 errors at third for Colorado. Are you going to tell me that Todd Frazier is the better third baseman because he only has 10 errors? Todd Frazier wouldn't even say that.
     
    The Cardinals have plus-43 Defensive Runs Saved, according to Bill James Online. That is the fifth-best in the NL league, and it 's calculated by data from Baseball Info Solutions. Your right, first base is a drag on the total. First base is a minus-4 DRS, and that is the only minus position for the Cardinals in fair territory outside of pitcher. Otherwise, they have the best defensive infield unit of the league.
  • Hey, Derrick.
    Your response to the Fowler comment (where you articulated the club's feelings not your own, of course) is a textbook example of rationalization.

    By the logic espoused, it would never ever make sense to bench any veteran player no matter how terrible -- because sometimes they bounce back! But need I remind you that we have seen Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Moss and Ty Wigginton and Mark Ellis among others as they were played a little too much or waaay too much for the Cards when they were washed up.

    When a guy Fowler's age is suddenly terrible, and there are clear replacements available within reach, you bench him. Or maybe better still, you send him to AAA under the guise of injury to work on his swing. There was no clear and obvious guy to replace Matt Carpenter as he slumped. (You can say Jose Martinez, but I disagree. He's so terrible in the field and on the bases, that he's just a 2-WAR player even when he's mashing the ball.) There were multiple choices to replace Fowler.

    Thanks for the chat, and all the time you and your colleagues give to us in this format. It is VERY appreciated, Derrick!
  • By your logic, you would never give a player a chance to play his way out of a hole and back to career numbers. This is my point. This is MY point. The dilemma with Fowler was clear: Was he going to bounce back or was there a hindrance to him bouncing back? That's the question. The Cardinals made the commitment to Matt Carpenter that Fowler wanted for himself, and the Cardinals were rewarded with a tremendous, MVP-style season from Carpenter, especially as they started to awaken in the middle of the summer. Fowler did not get the same run until briefly after the All-Star break, and then he had the fracture. I'm suggesting that the question has to be answered is this:
     
    -- Is there anything prohibiting the player from playing at his career norms (age, injury, something else)?
    -- If so, what is it and can it be solved?
    -- If not, why isn't he getting the chance to return to his career rates?
     
    It's not a simple question. It's not supposed to be. Players decline. Players age. Players have injuries. Any and all things are possible, and should be explored. Your comparisons are apt. The Cardinals had to ask these same things of Peralta. And then every so often a player written off over and over and over again emerges, gets a chance because of his track record and -- what's this? -- performs.
     
    Enter Adam Wainwright.
  • FYI the David who posted the question referencing Peralta/Moss/Wigginton/Ellis is not me. I would never show appreciation!
  • Noted. There are about 20+ David/Dave combos in here. Not all the same people.
  • DG,since we have many starting possibilties next year,how would Reyes look as a 8th inning setup man in the pen?
  • Solid. Possible. By May.
  • Derrick,
    Did you see the picture of the Detroit Tigers rookies dressed up as Oompa Loompas? Have the Cardinals done anything this year to the rookies? I know a few years back they made them get coffee for the Vets outside of Wrigley in full uniform.

    Thanks for the Chats, gets rid of my Monday blues each week.
  • The rookies dressed up as Blues hockey players. Even Tyler O'Neill. Munoz looked the part.
    When will the Cardinals be out of the international spending penalty box and be able to throw maximum cash at top prospects? And is it possible that Victor Victor Mesa delays his MLB audition long enough for the Cardinals to be able to spend?
  • At the end of this signing period -- so June next year. Victor Victor Mesa would have to really want to be a Cardinal for him to wait that long.
  • By and large the "young Cardinal arms" are inconsistent, marked by lack of control (walk too many) resulting in high pitch counts, and low number of innings pitched which has resulted in pressure on the bullpen. This includes the overhyped Flaherty, who has the ability but hasn't shown it consistently. I wish I was wrong but the eye test says not. Now Shildt can finagle the rotation and hopefully they can make the playoffs but if they get in they are doomed. They are on level with the brew crew for starters but not bullpen and the Brewers have better "D" and "O", so it's going to be a battle. Then there is the roster limit to consider for the playoffs, if they make it in. The Cubs will win the division but are hurting for a bullpen. Am I wrong?
  • Just got a push notification from my fantasy baseball league that Yelich is now listed as day-to-day. Any news on that front? Perhaps he should take the next 3 days off.
  • He seemed completely fine on TV moments ago as the Player of the Week. All those awards this season are a lot to carry, I guess. Maybe Ben Frederickson could give him a hand.
  • Who weighs in on the decision whether a player plays or not due to injury. Wong says he'll play if they have to amputate his leg, but he's not playing so does he have no say? Mikolas is the obvious choice for WC starter because of his low walk rate. I think they will regret using anybody else.
  • There are four elements to this decision:
     
    Player
    Manager
    Front office
    Medical staff/Trainers
     
    According to the managers and front office, the ones here with veto power are the player and the medical staff/trainers. If the trainers tell the manager that the player can do more harm to the injury and jeopardize him for longer, then it does not matter much what the player has to say. If the player says he feels compromised or is worried about further injury, it doesn't matter much what others have to say. If the player says go, and the trainers same it's OK, then the manager and front office have to weigh if the player at less than his best is worth playing over someone healthier. That's the call they make. The front office will also factor in future concern and limits when it comes to young pitchers, mostly.
    Last I heard, the Cardinals were saying that Reyes would be good to go at the start of spring training and he would prepare in the spring to be a starter. Of course, I think they said that last year, and it turned out differently. Is that still the thinking? If it works out that way, I would be hugely disappointed if he does not crack the opening day rotation.
  • That is still all true, and all of these things can coexist. He may very well be ready for the start of the season as a starter -- at Class AAA Memphis. That is entirely reasonable, and even likely as the Cardinals don't want to go through the same things and, more so, don't want Reyes to go through the same thing again. He does not need to get that training on the job, where standings count, if the Cardinals can avoid it. His next season sets up a lot like this past season: Prepped as a starter, ready as a starter entering spring, on a reduced workload during spring, appearing late in spring, starting year on the DL or in the minors, unless needs brings him to the majors in whatever role is needed.
  • You thought of Allie Caufield instead of thinking of me and and that hat covering my god-like mind? Oh well, I really don't have the time to discuss the errors of your value judgements. - Mr. Reilly.
  • Calm your valve, Ignatius. Judgment doesn't have "e."
  • Watching MLB Network this morning. Derosa, Byrnes, and Sherman were doing a would you rather segment on the Cardinals vs. the Brewers. 2 of the 3 chose Counsel over Shildt. 3 of 3 chose the Brewers line-up. 3 of 3 chose the Brewers bullpen. 3 of 3 chose Yelich in a key at-bat over Carpenter. The only place they gave the advantage to St. Louis was starting pitching. In 2018 is this type of stuff still bulletin board material for a team or is that not a thing anymore? It seems like national media consistently sleeps on the Cardinals.
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