Thanks for the kind words. Mozeliak has said again and again and again that he is taking the long game with Albert and the total-organization overhaul. He reiterated this to me last week at Dodger Stadium. The Cardinals have also invested in the infrastructure for this approach, too. They have the new facility in Jupiter, Fla. They have tech purchased for ALL minor-leaguers. They have made advances in how they use and become comfortable with that tech, and they have overseen a comprehensive approach that means all levels and all coaches are pulling from the same textbook, if you will, the same approach. If anything, this is an example of how they drifted and fell behind the times and are now trying to do more than catch up to the rest of the game -- they want to reclaim edge.
They waited too long, fell behind, and now they feel they need to do things more rapidly, more widespread to get back ahead, or at least catch up.
And, yes, the park is an issue.
I've done what I can illuminate how Busch Stadium has gone to an extreme pitcher's park. There are several numbers that suggest it was the worst place to hit in the majors -- for every hitter, every team, that came in. Please know that park factors take into account visitors, too, so any use of those numbers isn't predicated on the Cardinals offense being poor. If anything it's the opposite, especially given the extreme nature we saw of the Cardinals this year.
Consider the Cardinals played 81 games at home and 81 games on the road, and here was the Jeckyll and HIDE nature of their production:
At home: 77 HRs (26th in MLB), 307 runs (29th), 127 doubles (15th), .241 BA (19th), .310 on-base percentage (.26th), .385 slugging (.25th), and a .696 OPS (27th).
On the road: 121 HRs (fifth in MLB), 399 runs (seventh), 134 doubles (15th), .246 BA (sixth), .316 on-base percentage (10th), .436 slugging (fifth), and a .752 OPS (fifth).
They were a bottom five offense at home. They were a top five offense on the road.
Even if you fixate on the notion that they played in some hitter friendly parks like Milwaukee more often than other teams, then shouldn't you wonder what would be possible if they called Milwaukee home? Purely, from an offensive standpoint you'd have to wonder, right?
Would that make them a better team?
That's the question the Cardinals are exploring, because internally they feel the benefit the pitchers got from the ballpark no longer outweighs the detriment to the hitters, and there it might be making for a less entertaining ballgame.