Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Ben Frederickson answers your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings, chatters. Big series begins at the ballpark tonight. Cardinals aren't toast quite yet. Four games back in the second wild card with a chance to make up ground by beating the division-leading Brewers. I was at Mizzou camp yesterday do if you have any questions about what players looked like doing stretching and light drills, I'm your man. Let's roll. We will hit it hard until I need to get my things together and head to the ballpark.
    Three of the top ROY candidates in both leagues are former Cardinals that the organization didn’t assess properly or gave up on , And more likely to win this award than the one the Cardinals kept .What does it say About their talent and judgment or ability to get equal return on a trade?
    It doesn't say one thing exactly, because not every one of those players had the same situation.
    The Cardinals under-projected Randy Arozarena, for sure. They didn't think he was this kind of player. They've admitted as much, even though they like Liberatore quite a bit.
    Every team in the league was out on Jose Adolos Garcia. Even the one benefitting from his season this season. The Rangers passed him through waivers. Every team had their chance. No one bit. Then, this.
    No one blinked when Patrick Wisdom departed, and Mariners let him come and go without every getting him a shot.
    So, it's a mixed bag.
    Projection and talent analysis deserves to be under a microscope for the Cardinals, for sure.
    But you also give some credit to these guys for continuing to put in the works. Sometimes a change of scenery does someone good, and sometimes being "given up on" unlocks something that wasn't showing beforehand. The Cardinals have said not misreading their own prospects is the key to their draft-and-develop model working at its best, and these guys thriving elsewhere needs to be studied. It's also accurate that something that helps all players is a chance, and playing time. Some teams have rules (designated hitter) or aspirations (not as competitive) that allow more opportunities for certain players. The Cardinals need results daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and that I think can put pressure on young players that does not exist elsewhere. St. Louis is a great place to play, but it's not an easy place to play. 
    Hi, Ben. Thank you for taking time to conduct these chats. I was reading an article recently that said that batting average is no longer a good barometer of the success of a hitter. Do you agree? What, in your opinion, is the best measure of a hitter's effectiveness -- OPS, SLG? If it's no longer batting average, Mendoza must be happy that his name has stopped being associated with futility. Thanks.
    OPS, or on-base plus slugging percentage, is the one to use if you're going to use one.
    If you want to get fancy check out adjusted OPS. The shorthand is OPS+. 
    It takes into consideration all kinds of things, like ballpark factors, and gives one easy number that defines a league average hitter. It's 100. Above it is above league average for that season. Below it is below. Nolan Arenado this season has an OPS+ of 129. His career-high is 133. Matt Carpenter's at 79, the exact same place he finished last season.
    I don't dismiss batting average entirely, but I rarely just use one stat to look at anything.
    I look at batting lines: average, on-base and slugging percentage.
    I still care a lot about RBIs and home runs, which makes me old-school I guess.
    If I want to compare players from different seasons, I like OPS+. 
    Good morning. Ben. Do you think that analytics are ruining baseball? I understand how they can be a tool to help players, but it seems to me that they are being used to dictate how the game is played. And, to me that's wrong. But, then I'm an old guy -- been a Cardinal fan for 55 years. Thanks for taking my question.
    I think "analytics" have become a buzz word for all the things certain baseball fans don't like.
    Earlier this month Joey Votto was asked about his home-run streak ending, and he said he found it ironic the streak started with a ball that should have probably been a fly out but carried out of the stadium and ended on a ball he drilled with one of his higher exit velocities of the season, one that would have been a home run in most parks.
    That's analytics.
    The newspaper business uses analytics. These chats are proof. We know they move the needle with our readers. I can see how many of you are here. I can see how many of you read the recap. I make the recap for that reason; people read it. Analytics informs that action.
    Until baseball assigns runs based on what the numbers said a hit was "supposed" to do versus what it actually did, then what happens in reality matters more than anything else.
    But using the massive amounts of data available to study the trends and better understand the game is smart. It would be a waste not to try.
    When it comes to coaching and playing, the key is getting all of that information -- it's endless -- through a funnel that can help a player or coach make a better decision in the minutes, second or fractions of a second where it can help the right action instead of cause paralysis.
    That's the hard part.
    The best do it well.
    But there are a lot of people, whether writing about the sport or trying to coach or play it, that get lost in the weeds.
    Sometimes when I read in-depth analytics stuff it's clear to me that the person writing it maybe doesn't understand it.
    If you can't explain it simply, it's not going to help someone.
    In short, the word analytics has become this catch-all for bad, complicated things.
    When used correctly, they should make things easier.
    There is a lot of misuse.
    Will be Busch be packed tonight? It’s an important series. Fans wanted the team to play better and they’ve won 8 of 9. And we have to stop pointing to the teams they’ve played because in June they had stretches against bad teams and didn’t play well then. A full house could give the players a lot of extra energy.
    We'll see. David Freese bump should help. I think a lot of folks are still a bit skeptical, considering those wins came against the Royals and the Pirates. Agree that tonight will be a good litmus test to see how "in it" the fans are for what the team hopes to prove is a wild-card push.
    I think the cards are going to sneak in the playoffs. Probably the last week of the regular season. What are your thoughts about this?
    The Reds are a better bet for the second wild card at the moment.
    They're 1.5 back instead of 4 for the second wild card.
    Phillies are essentially tied with Cards.
    Latest FanGraphs projection gives the Cards a 6.4 percent chance.
    Let's see how the boys hang against the Brewers with everything on the line.
    Happy Tuesday to you Ben! Thank you for the great chats!

    There is a lot of angst regarding DeJong’s low BA, low RBI total and high Ks, though he has provided solid defense at SS.

    While it would be great to have a Correa, Seager, Story, or Semien at SS, and a Castellanos, Cruz, or Marte at DH, and a Scherzer, Gausman, or Morton added to the rotation, $43.8M of payroll space (See Spotrac) does not spend like it used to.

    Please put on your POBO/GM hat and prioritize the positional needs of the Cardinals (highest-to-lowest) and how you would spend the $43.8M this offseason. Please add the player names (not necessarily from above) YOU would target. Positions are SS, SP, & DH.

    1. POS.________ Pick-1__________________Pick-2_____________________
    2. POS.________ Pick-1__________________Pick-2_____________________
    3. POS.________ Pick-1__________________Pick-2_____________________
    Thanks, Bob.
    No need for a worksheet.
    The Cards need to do something to help their middle infield but their tack record in landing the top of the market free agents in a competitive field is not good. There's interest in Story, as evidenced by the trade deadline. I wonder if Javier Baez could be a fit.
    Neither would necessarily require sending DeJong elsewhere. As said before I think he could be a help in a less pressurized role, and he plays solid shortstop. Maybe they feel they have to deal him, but I wouldn't be surprised if he figures it out elsewhere and that moves looks regrettable. Just my two cents. Felt the same way about Wong, and that came true.
    Scherzer won't command big dollars as he's near the end of the line, and some of that could depend on if Wainwright comes back. We don't know yet. I can't get a read on him.
    No need to mess with the outfield too much as the young guys have settled in and performed pretty well.
    I do think they should do something to get some added thump to DH. I'm increasingly liking the idea of Albert Pujols as the DH against lefties and bat off the bench. It didn't make sense to get him this season but he's thriving in that role with the Dodgers, and a DH would make it possible along with Goldschmidt's daily presence at first base.
    Unless a pending FA hitter is signing his final contract, why would he sign with the Cardinals? The stadium will suppress his offensive stats so much that it will limit future earnings.
    Wanting to win would come to mind. That led Arenado and Goldschmidt here. Two of the best hitters in the NL over the years. Not as free agents, but as trades who could have stopped the transactions.
    Ben, as the Cards resume play back in the major leagues tonight, the Cards are now only two games back on the loss side of the second wild card. SD is in a free fall while Cinc looks the more formidable threat. How bad will all those early season losses to Cinc look given Mo’s unwillingness to bolster a beleaguered pitching staff?
    You can see how it's shaping up.
    If the Cards sneak in, they get to say their plan "worked".
    If they miss the cut, they get to explain again why there wasn't more front-office urgency sooner.
    That said I don't think the fans are going to be doing backflips about another wild-card fizzle on the 10-year anniversary of the last championship won, if that turns out to be the case.
  • BenFred,

    During the BPIB podcast you and Derrick talked about having the Cardinals FO adding a more aggressive voice. Do you think the DeWitt's feel this way? After 6 years in a row of not making moves at the deadline and coming up on a decade of no WS title it seems like something needs to change. It doesn't have to be a firing, maybe just an outside addition?
    Not sure. They haven't said much about this season lately.
    After the field of dreams game last week, I continue to hear talk about how MLB needs to capitalize on the excitement they've built up and get the new CBA done without a work stoppage. While I whole heartedly agree, I can't see MLB getting out of their own way when it comes to protecting the owner's revenue. They had an unbelievable opportunity to play during 2020 when no other sport would have been operating and couldn't get that worked out, it feels like the opportunity now won't have any kind of impact on their urgency to get something done.
    Fair point. My hope is that both sides have enough smart people who realize what a disaster it would be for the sport -- and therefore both sides - - to shoot itself in the foot this offseason. That's the hope, that both owners and players realize that a deal must be done, no matter what. They can cut into spring training if they have to but a delayed/shortened season would drive fans away, and baseball can't afford to do that. It has to know that.
    Yesterday, your colleague, DG, whom I have a great deal of respect for, was asked by a chatter about the justification of Carpenter’s continued use by the Cardinals. DG’s response was in 4 parts, the first two were “contract” and “history.” There are not two words that have been more detrimental to this franchise in the last 5 years than “contract” and “history, especially the latter. How many guys did this team come into spring training touting their return to their 2019 “form?” I’m not saying DG is wrong, he was being honest, but that is the exact line of thinking that has us 3rd in the Central right now.
    Carpenter's 10th on the team in at-bats. His OPS as a pinch-hitter this season is .754. The National League average is .641. It's a bad contract the Cardinals are going to see through the end because they've got a lot of respect for him, and because he's doing OK in the role he's in, but they're not rolling him out there every day or anything. Bad contracts are a part of the reason the Cardinals are in third place, you bet. No debate there.
    I'll give the Cubs credit for this.... when they make a decision about what direction they want to go, they go all in. What baffles me is that a franchise with those resources couldn't figure out a way to retain the bulk of their core players, many of whom still have prime years left. What is the underlying story?
    Seems like the Cubs core felt like ownership was being cheap and unwilling to pay up after the championship, despite suggestions those extensions would come.
    Rizzo, specifically.
    He was the one they should have kept, no matter what, I think.
    Is Carlson good to go for tonight? We need his bat and defense for this series. We need our three best OF tonight.
  • You all will know when we do.
    I say move Tarasanko now,so,other moves can be made,yes or no? I'm impressed with the newer Cardinals, especially some of those relievers,any chance they come back next year? Mizzou's new AD? How do you like the hire?
    I'm kind of in the sooner-rather-than-later camp, too. I don't think you want the cloud hanging over the team as it nears camp, and it will limit other moves the longer Army waits it out. I still think it happens eventually, before the season starts.
    I really like the stuff Luis Garcia has flashed recently. He's on an expiring minor league deal but could re-up if he thinks there's a shot at a role. He's got some filth, and has not been walking guys. Just one walk in 12.2 innings.
    I've been impressed by what I've heard from and about Desiree Reed-Francois. She's more than qualified based on her experiences at previous stops and those making a big deal out of UNLV football record don't know how abysmal it is to try to win there. That she rallied enough support for facility improvements and increased ticket sales impresses me. She will be graded on things like fundraising, projects and hires, not the press conference quotes, so we will see. 
    Ben, is it crucial that the Cards sweep or at least take two out of three against the Brewers? I just think if we loose the series we lose our momentum.
    Sure seems that way to me. Cards are 3-3 against the Brewers so far this season. A series win at home should not be an unrealistic expectation.
    Is it unfair of me to believe that a miracle run to a wild card, or god forbid division title, would ultimately be a negative for this franchise? It would be fun, yes. But all it would do is vindicate the current FO mindset of pursuing a place just one tick above mediocrity and then doing as little as possible once the season starts. Changing that mindset would, I believe, be far more beneficial to the franchise than a few playoff games.
    That's assuming the mindset would change.
    Nothing to do but see how it plays out.
    You're remembered by where you finish, not how you got there.
    It seems like Mizzou’s O-line has a lot of returning talent, but will be undersized with 3 of 5 likely starters under 300 lbs. What impact do you expect that to have on the inside run game? I like Badie and Young but not sure they’ll be able to pound it up the middle for tough yards like Rountree could.
    Good question, though I'm more skeptical (for now) about the running backs instead of the linemen. A lot of people seem to assuming Mizzou will be a much more explosive offense this season because Drinkwitz is ready to open up the passing game and let Bazelak's improved experience combined with more athleticism at receiver produce more explosive plays. And that's great, if it works. But the best way for it not to work is to fail at establishing a respectable running game. Badie only totaled 48 carries last season. Young had 10 carries as a freshman last season. Rountree had 209! I know Drinkwitz is high on Young. Seems like it will be a Badie/Young tandem but someone has to prove they can be The Guy when a team needs a yard. You can only give it to one running back when it's 4th and goal from the one.
  • Do you think this Missouri team has the potential to have a Cinderella story and win 10 games or more or do you think coach Drink needs another year or two of recruiting before that's possible? Are we short at key positions or what do you think will be the main shortcomings for this team? Call me crazy, but I have never been this excited about Missouri football. I thought Pinkel did a fantastic job. I just never believed he could recruit well enough to go the next level and build a program that's could consistently was in the top 15 most years. I think Drink can if they pay him, his staff and continue to make significant improvements to the facilities
    I think an eight-win season would be a big step in the right direction for Drinkwitz in year two.
    I don't think this team has the talent or the schedule to get to 10 wins, as a lot of the recruiting success he's had is not quite in the spot where it can impact the on-field product just yet.
    The No. 1 thing for this season is continuing the feel-good momentum and not letting it get derailed. An eight-win season would do that. Especially if it ends in a bowl win. 
    Hello Ben, how would you rank the older starting pitchers on who should be brought back next year? I definitely think they should try to bring back one, perhaps two of these guys: Waino, happ, Leblanc, Lester?
    Wainwright, for sure.
    I was higher on LeBlanc before his injury.
    Not sold on either of the deadline additions beyond this season.
    Parking nightmares, fights in the stands, disgusting concessions (didn't he partner up with J Jones on this?), a court case that's not looking very promising, a stadia that came in $3B over budget and betting the future on an old QB who is 0-3 in the playoffs. Is it safe to say Stank has had better days?
    Well, at least Arsenal fans love him. Oh, wait. What the heck was up with that food in the stadium? I was hesitant to even make fun of it because I thought it might be fake, it looked so bad. Is that true? It looked like prison food.
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