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.

    This could be a really wrong take, but the main difference I see in in the development Tyler O’Neill this year vs. someone like Paul Dejong is the sudden ability to lay off the pitch trailing out of the bottom/away part of the zone. Tyler O’Neil has REALLY made himself into a hitter that is much less likely to chase that pitch this year and he’s getting better pitches to do damage with as result. Paul Dejong still can’t lay off that and has continued to struggle.

    Anything to that theory? If so, how did O’Neil fix that?
    This is a good one to fact-check the eye test on, because DeJong and O'Neill are both swinging at almost the exact same percentage of pitches (50 percent) this season.
    And O'Neill is swinging at a slightly higher percentage of pitches outside of the zone (32.6 percent) than DeJong (31.5 percent.
    They're swinging at nearly the same amount of pitches inside the zone (50 percent).
    Compared to last season, DeJong has swung at a slightly higher percentage of balls and a slightly lower percentage of strikes.
    O'Neill has swung at more of both.
    More than anything I see O'Neill is just making a lot better and more forceful contact.
    His hard-hit percentage is at 54.6 percent. A career-high.
    DeJong's is at 35.5 percent, a five-percent drop from last season.
    That overshadows O'Neil's higher strikeout rate than DeJong's. 
    The league continues to move to more a matchup based game, platoons, etc are becoming increasingly common. The Cardinals continue to try to move forward with a set lineup as they would seeming rather just put the same lineup card out there night after night. Can they adjust to this trend or will they continue to press forward with the same old approach?
  • In order to play the platoon game you have to have the bench to do it. 
    The Cardinals don't at the moment.
    They would have been able to do it if they kept Wong and used Edman as more of a Zobrist type super sub.
    They suggested Carpenter could be valuable in that role but his lack of production made it impossible.
    I think Shildt is open to it. He's tried it at leadoff with Carlson and Edman this season. But he doesn't really have the bench for it at the moment. 
    There's a big difference between platooning to get the most out of a matchup and platooning because you don't have good options. 
  • If the Cardinals could lock up a legitimate starting corner outfielder with consistent production in the offseason, do you think that would be a move they would entertain, or would they point to the bright spots of the current outfield and stick with their cost controlled youngsters?
    I don't think they are worried about upgrading corner outfield.
    Seem to like what they are getting and the upside of Carlson and O'Neill.
    Center could be in play, I think. We'll see.
    Winning starts at the top... the very top.
    Would you like to see what Lieutenant Dan looks like? That's him right there. And let me tell you something about Lieutenant Dan . . .
    It's clear the Cardinals are still at least a couple of pieces and maybe some coaching changes away from contention. Before pre-arb and arb deals are settled (assuming the CBA doesn't make wholesale changes there) the team has ~$85 mil committed right now for 2022. Throw in arbitration and let's assume Yadi and Waino deals get done around $10 mil each. Conservatively that sets opening day payroll around $125 mil right now. There will be some bench and bullpen fortification, but hopefully we're done spending 8 figures there (hi Andrew Miller). Is there any possible justification for one of the premier free agent SSs not being signed? Obviously you're not in on their conversations day to day, but what's your assessment of the likelihood?
    The Cardinals have often found justifications for not signing the top player available in a free-agent bidding war. One is their hesitancy to avoid 10-year-plus deals and the commitment they demand. That's the one that we have heard most often. I would reside in believe-it-when-you-see-it camp when it comes to expecting that. Now, could the Cardinals upgrade their middle infield by singing a free-agent from this shortstop class? Sure. But I don't expect them to "win" the shortstop spending war, if that's what you are asking. That multiple options are available should help them if they go that route. Someone will have to settle for less than the top of the market. Story? Baez? I would be surprised if the Cardinals beat the field for Seager or Correa, is what I'm saying. Not saying I'd be surprised if they go shortstop hunting. We'll see.
    Do you think even with a new CBA we will see a reluctance to hand out big contracts this off-season? This Pandemic is seemingly playing a double header and attendance has been a problem everywhere, not just here. Add in the fact that there has been a palpable reluctance for teams to dish out the headline grabbing contracts for anyone not in the top 5% and I’m starting to wonder what this off-season might bring for players in this upcoming class.

    The Cardinals might finally get in on one of these SS below their “Puke Point”
    Perhaps. Like I said, someone will have to settle for something other than the top dollar. I know everyone wants to figure out the 2022 payroll right now but here's the problem. We don't know the structure yet. Younger players could be making more in the new CBA. Arbitration process is likely to change. So, projections made now are going to be off. That's if a deal gets done. Hopefully one will.
    If the Cards see a packed Scott for the Blues this winter, does that further show the Front Office that STL fans are becoming more interested in the Blues then the redbirds?
    It would be a hard contrast to ignore. Inside vs. outside, though I would not be surprised if COVID vaccinations are mandatory for all sporting events and concerts here soon, so the COVID concerns could change some now the the FDA approval has arrived. I saw this morning that LSU is requiring proof of vaccination or negative test to get into games this fall. I imagine most will follow that plan before too long, including our area teams. So, some people who refrained from Cardinals games could theoretically be more comfortable going to Blues game if that occurs. But to ignore the interest element would be an oversight, I think.
    do you see the royals as a fit for matt carpenter next year?
    Of the 121 MLB players who have played in 150 or more games since 2020, Carpenter's OPS of .631 ranks 118th. He's 35 and has had rough defensive numbers at second base this season. He's produced an above-average OPS as a pinch-hitter for NL bats but that role will be decreasing with the DH coming to the NL. I don't see him as a real fit for any team in 2022.
    What's with Arenado getting worse with each AB as the game goes on? seems like with the exception of the home opener he is missing his 'big hit' or 'signature moment' and has left a lot to be desired late in games.
    He's actually slugging .667 in the ninth inning, which would go against that theory of it simply being about the inning.
    But there is something to be noted in another more telling split.
    In "close and late" settings Arenado has slashed just .189/.313/.321 this season.
    The "close and late" bookends are seventh inning or later with the batting team ahead by one run, tied or with the tying run on base, at-bat or on deck.
    Arenado's career "close and late" batting line before this season read .242/.325/.442, for context.
    There's not too much to pick at when it comes to the performance of the Cardinals' All-Star third baseman, but this is fair game, for sure.
    If your Waino, do you ride off into the sunset with a fantastic bookend season to your career? Or do you come back to try and strengthen your HOF case and potentially have the chance at another ring?
    I would be tempted to leave them wanting more, but I think he's back for one more ride with Molina then calls it after that.
  • How soon can we expect Nootbar candy bars on grocery store shelves around town?
  • Hopefully they age better than Carp's salsa
    MLB and sports media really hyped Cabrera hitting his 500th HR. I get that it’s a milestone but I found it to be rather sad. He was a superstar but he’s been way below league average (OPS+) with a -0.9 WAR over the past 5 years. He still has 2 more years and $70 million left on his 8 year contract extension. Despite his mediocre performance and staggering fortune earned, he’ll continue to play for a terrible non competitive team rather retire with some dignity left. I wish teams would pay players more during their early high performance years and avoid so many ugly years at the end of their careers. Those huge long term deals late in their careers just tarnish the legacy of star players.
    Teams have gotten smarter about not tying themselves to aging players to massive contracts in the post-steroid era. Players have a chance this offseason to prove they have gotten smarter about demanding younger players get to the bigger dollars faster. Players can't force teams to play aging players big money. They can decrease the time it takes up-and-coming players to get there, because the window to cash in is growing shorter for non-elite players.
    Is 6-6 still a successful season for Mizzou? let's assume they lose close ones to UK, BC, SC, and are at least mildly competitive against UGA, TAMU, UF.
    I don't think so. Eight would be upbeat. A great sign. Seven would be OK. Less than seven? Bummer. I wrote a column about just that for the upcoming season preview.
    the front office should be careful listening to the manager pushing for what he thinks the team needs. i'd argue matheny was ultimately fired because he pushed for the cardinals to sign greg holland.
    Matheny was ultimately fired because he lost the team, including the catcher.
    The Holland thing did not help, you're right.
    If you're going to pound the table for a player, he's gotta play well. Or you wear it. I think Shildt has a good sense of what his team needs. He just stops short of saying it directly sometimes. At least publicly.
    I think it is amazing what Waino is doing at his age. How is he viewed around the league? I would expect that his fellow players, both on the Cards but with other teams, have great respect for him.
    You would have a challenging time finding someone who has something negative to say about Wainwright. He's done a good job of connecting with players from all age ranges. He's pretty much universally admired, and not just for baseball. He's a Roberto Clemente Award winner for his work off the field. What he's done the past two seasons on the field isn't impressive for his age. It's just flat out impressive.. He's fourth in MLB in innings pitched (228.1 innings) and wins (17) since the start of the 2020 season. He's alone in first place in complete games (four) during that span. His 3.11 ERA ranks 15th among qualifying pitchers. His 24 quality starts are tied with Sandy Alcantara for third. These are not "for his age" numbers. They're at the top of the game among all starters numbers. It's truly amazing. And yes, it's a real bummer the team has under-performed so often on days he doesn't start. Cards are 21-14 in Wainwright starts since 2020, and 15-10 this season.
  • Hey Ben, thanks as always for the chat. Per your earlier quote that "I'd point to the line Mozeliak offered a while back about not being judged on 2021." Not sure there's anything that more succulently summarizes the malaise around this franchise right now.
    Did you see where The Rolling Stones will be in town in Sept? Are you going? They won’t be around forever—it could be your last chance.

    With that intro, which RS song best describes the Cards season:

    1. Gimme Shelter
    2. Sympathy for the Devil
    3. I Can’t Get No Satisfaction
    No. 3, for sure.
    I'm not as big on The Stones as some.
    Good party music, but that's about it for me.
    I am going to see Dead and Co, though.
    Looking forward to that.
    Have heard great things about John Mayer's moonlighting.
    Any updates on the Rams?
    Yes. Another hearing tomorrow. P-D will be there. It's for the arguing (for and against) of the Rams/NFL ask for the judge to dismiss the lawsuit via request for summary judgment. I'd say that's unlikely considering previous attempts to derail have been tossed, but we will see what comes out of it and if there's any more insight into what turned up during depositions and discovery. Those under-seal documents are fair game if mentioned during a public hearing.
    It seems like Mr Goold is onboard with the FACT that Busch Stadium is a massive pitcher’s park that impacts players’ decision making on choosing a team.

    You still sticking with a winning tradition as as a large enough draw for free agent hitters?

    I’m telling you no top YOUNG FA hitter will choose to come play in STL due to the stadium.
    I've never made winning tradition the main attraction for free agents. 
    You must have the wrong guy
    Money is the main attraction to free agents.
    It can make them overlook everything from a bad team to a bad ballpark.
    Money is the answer. Almost always. 
    would Kris Bryant not be a good fit for the birds on the bat? His versatility plays, particularly in a league that will (probably?) have the DH next year. Also, I bet his career BA, OBP, SLG, etc would all be 25 points higher if he hadn't ever faced the Cardinals. So some incentive for him to join up.
  • Makes a lot of sense to me as a potential fit. I do wonder if Giants take a page from the Cards playbook and ink him to an extension after his trial run there during the postseason. He seems to be taking to it quite well.
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