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

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

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

    Greetings chatters, hope everyone is doing well. I'm back in the chat saddle after a week off. I'll be in Jupiter by the end of the week, and there through the end of spring training and at the season opener in Cincinnati. So, plenty of baseball coverage from me coming. We will chat plenty of Cards today, but can go in any direction you all like. Fire away.
    Is it possible to get the entire team vaccinated before the start of the season? It seems that if all major leaguers were vaccinated then we wouldn’t have to worry about any problem with a full season being played. Can MLB pull that off?
    That seems a bit unlikely, for a few reasons. Right now most hospitals have been advised to vaccinate people ages 70 or higher only. There are exceptions, of course, like hospital employees. MLB has said it's not going to jump the line, or make efforts to do that. It has also said it will not require its employees to receive the vaccination. In terms of age range and general health, pro athletes are not near the front of the line. Could they get it faster than some others? Sure. But two rounds of vaccinations before some of our most vulnerable populations receive the shots seems unrealistic and unlikely.
    How long do the Cards stick with the Mendoza twins in the outfield before they start exploring other options?
    Lane Thomas is in the mix right now. Justin Williams is as well, the Cardinals insist, but we will see. Some of that might have to do with how his option situation sorts out. The idea that Tyler O'Neill, especially, is a lock no matter how he performs doesn't make much sense. He's going to get the first crack, it seems, based on what we have seen and heard so far this spring. Doesn't mean it lasts long if he doesn't perform.
    Do you think after this year the Cardinals will reassess Moe’s performance or lack of performance? Last year no cleanup hitter, this year no lead off hitter. Relying on the third year pitcher as dominant stud And a bunch of unproven’s/injured. It’s kind of hard to understand his plan
    Tough critique for the president of baseball operations who has pulled off trades for Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in recent seasons. Mo's job security is in pretty good shape.
    Jack Flaherty needs to stop worrying about his social issues and concentrate on how to get people out or he's going to find out free agency may not be what he thinks its going to be!
  • I've yet to see proof of a player's appetite for social issues be linked to a player's performance, good or bad. That's as pointless as saying Carlos Martinez is pitching well or poorly because of the color of his hair. Jack needs to pitch better this season. No doubt about that. His ability to strike people out has nothing to do with the T-shirts he wears or what causes capture his attention. No matter how much some try to connect the dots.
    If Flaherty has a year like last year, I'm sure we could get a nice outfield bat to compliment Goldy and Arenado!
    Is The Chat turning against Flaherty now? That would be something. I'd advise against it. I think he's gonna have a pretty good season.
    Yesterday in the chat DG mentioned some club execs believe for lane Thomas to take a starting job he’d have to excel while another player tumbles. This is a little upsetting to be honest. I thought this would be a wide open competition where the productive players would play. I understood when fowler was here, if all things were equal, he would play due to his contract, veteran status, and past success. But I feel like the outfielders that are left are all on the same level. If lane Thomas is excelling and O’Neil is only average but not good or great, then Thomas should get the starting job. In an article this morning shildt said something to the effect that there are guys who have earned opportunities for playing time. And I ask how? There’s been one spring game and nothing that happened the last two seasons should suggest that any outfielder has earned a job over anyone.
    I agree with you that Tyler O'Neill has not done very much to earn a starting job.
    He won a Gold Glove in a weird, short season that relied on a vastly different, stats-only way of handing out the award.
    His power, which is the reason the Cardinals are so high on him, slipped again in 2020.
    That quote from Shildt does not compute, for me, when he said it about O'Neill.
    But the Cardinals continue to be high on O'Neill. They are fond of his projections and determined to see he can make them come true. If he does, they will look patient and wise.
    But I do think it's fair to wonder if they have a better every-day starter in Lane Thomas, and if Lane Thomas clearly outperforms O'Neill this spring then I can't imagine it will be very long before Lane is getting the bulk of the reps over O'Neill.
    In terms of job security, I think O'Neill has less than Bader, and I don't think either are as set as the Cardinals are suggesting after one Grapefruit League game.
    As always, see what the actions say more than the words.
    We know Bader is better against LH pitchers, what are Tyler's stats vs nighties and lefties
    O'Neill's power has been pretty ho-hum against lefties at the MLB level, in pretty limited sample sizes though.
    Against LHP: .232 average, .315 on-base percentage, .329 slugging percentage
    Against RHP: .229 average, .285 on-base percentage, .445 slugging percentage 
    19 of O'Neill's 21 MLB homers have come against righties.
    Hello Ben.

    Can you explain this 'rollover inning' nonsense that MLB is doing in games this Spring?
    It's just a baseball term -- used on the back fields most often but now in these Grapefruit League games -- that means the teams agree to stop an inning before 3 outs are recorded. It helps keeps the pitching schedules for the day on track. Remember, these are exhibition games that don't mean anything in terms of who wins or loses. That part seems to mean less than ever before, and even less every year.
  • What does Shildt has against Carlson to make him want to keep Carlson out of the lineup or when he’s in the lineup he puts him towards the bottom while Carpenter gets to hit in the 2 hole and hasn’t prove he can’t keep from hitting into the shift.
    I'd be a bit surprised if Carlson is hitting way down in the order when games count. He was hitting cleanup for the team during the playoffs. I think he hits second or maybe even first, if Edman struggles there. Remember, right now Carpenter doesn't have a place in the every-day lineup. There's no DH in the NL as of today. Hitting Carpenter second in spring gets him more at-bats and more pitches to hit. They're trying to find out if can hit, because they need to know. They know what Carlson can do. If the DH is added and Carpenter has a strong spring, maybe we have something to talk about. But those are two rather big ifs at the moment. It's usually best to hold off reading too much into the Grapefruit League batting orders until closer toward the end of the circuit.
    First spring game saw the top 4 young outfielders go 4 for 8. I’m overreacting for being a little excited?
    Better than 0 for 8, for sure. Bader's swing looks shorter and more compact to me. He looks stronger. If he can lay off the low breaking stuff and stay within himself he can build on what he did last season and end this talk about if he can hold the job.
    John Gant: good at baseball. John Gant: good at starting?
    As a starter he has a 3.99 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP, with six quality starts in 28 MLB career starts since 2016. Opponents have slashed .237/.328/.381 against him when he starts. Only six of his starts have gone six innings or longer.
    As a reliever Gant has a 3.60 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Opponents have slashed .221/.313/.348 against him when they see him out of the bullpen.
    Gant's biggest trouble as a starter has been that dreaded third time through the lineup. Guys figure him out by then. Check out his career OPS by time through the lineup for evidence. First time? Opponent OPS of .654. Second time? Opponent OPS of .713. Third time? Opponent OPS of .854.
    In short, I think Gant has proven to be a really effective, reliable reliever. I think he's more valuable in that role to the Cardinals, but he could be serviceable as a starter if need pushes him toward that role. He just should not be relied upon to go deep into games in that role. I like the idea of having him available more often, in shorter bursts. 
    Do you recall what the impetus was for the Cards to extend Mikolas so quickly, and more importantly for such a long period of time given his very limited major league track record? It just seems like they would have been more cautious following the Leake debacle.
    They signed him to a two-year deal out of his successful career salvation overseas. He was an All-Star in his first season, and set to become a free agent the following fall. Wainwright was going to a year-to-year deal. Wacha was nearing his departure. They wanted a bridge starter on the books as Flaherty and other young arms neared their prime. Pitchers get hurt. It happens. But that was the thinking at the time of the four-year extension. Cards might have pursued similar extension with KK if it had not been such a strange 2020 season. If KK pitches great again this season, the Cards will have more competition to keep him because he will be a free agent after the season.
    I haven't seen any P-D photos with Shildt carrying a crowbar around ST, but based on what I have been reading it sure sounds like the team is going to find a way to pry Carpenter into that Opening Day line-up, whether there is a DH or not.
  • That would require a pretty disastrous spring training for Tommy Edman, or a pretty epic one from Carpenter.
    It's a lot easier to get Carpenter in there if there's a DH.
    Right now, there is not one when games count.
    Have you noticed the LeBron vs. Zlatan beef regarding sticking to sports. I think LeBron is right, he shouldn't just stick to sports. At times he has done an admirable job on that front.

    However, what I found hypocritical was LeBron saying over the weekend that he speaks up for "equality, social injustice, racism, systemic voter suppression" and that he does so for people "around this country and around this world." That's a pretty interesting statement by someone who chastised the Houston GM for speaking up for those very same issues for the people of Hong Kong.

    Back then re: Hong Kong and again with this Zlatan thing, LeBron goes out of his way to makes the point that he is very smart, has an educated mind, and does his homework on the issues. Ok, we get it.

    He said that the Rockets GM didn't understand the issues...but as far as I could tell the only issue LeBron pointed to that Morey didn't understand was how it might hurt the NBA financially. Not the actual issues facing the people of Hong Kong.

    At the time LeBron expressly refused to continue commenting on the topic and using his platform for people "around this world" and that was because it would hurt his pocket. It is hypocritical and phoney.

    I'd also say that Morey may also have an educated mind having graduated from Northwestern with a science degree and MIT with an MBA. You don't have to go to college to be educated, but I'm gonna guess Morey may have had an idea about what he was talking about.
    LeBron speaks out on issues that are important to him but is reluctant to do the same when those topics might affect his bottom line.
    That's pretty obvious based on how he decided to handle that topic.
    It came across as hypocritical.
    Kind of like politicians who campaign on "America First" roasting LeBron for being more willing to speak out about issues affecting America than issues in other countries.
    Please tell me I wasn't the only one who got a chuckle out of that.
    99 percent of the feuds these days are people pointing out someone else's hypocrisy while ignoring their own.
    It's tiresome.
    Any decision on J. Williams and if he’s out of options?
    Nothing yet. DG wrote a good breakdown of where things stand this morning. Link: 

    What gives with Williams' fourth option year? Why don't Cardinals know yet if he has one? And, why it matters

    STLtoday.comCardinals prospect Justin Williams, who made his major-league debut in 2018, may or may not have an option for 2021. If he doesn't, he's on the roster. Team awaits ruling
    Given what you have seen so far, what do you think DeJong's ceiling is as a hitter? Who would you comp him with?
    His age 23-26 seasons have been surprisingly similar to the start Miguel Tejada had during that same time frame. That's not a great comparison for how things will progress from there, because of Tejada's late-career connection to steroids, of course. In terms of ceiling, I think DeJong could be Trevor-Story-ish (without Coors Field Effect). This season will be big in determining if that's far too optimistic. It might be.
    Curious if anyone in the Blues or Cardinals organization mentioned anything about SBG? Limiting the viewership of the fans has to directly impacting these organizations (future income, fan interest, etc.), right?

    For Example: I know many people that used to watch and follow the Blues daily, that haven't even turned on a single game this year.
    Nothing other than the general admission that it's not ideal.
    It would be swell, I think, if the Cardinals were a little more outspoken about this.
    Bill DeWitt Jr. is one of the game's most important and influential owners.
    This feuding between companies like Sinclair and various cable networks and streaming services is affecting other teams as well.
    Baseball at large should be concerned.
    Maybe the future answer is MLB starting its own streaming network, but the current TV contracts on the books for various teams still have a long time on them, including the Cardinals.
    Losing about 10 percent viewership is no small thing.
    What about those ads companies paid for that come with prime exposure on the broadcasts? Like Today's Engel Coolers one behind home plate at Roger Dean? That ad was purchased with an estimate made by the sponsor of the eyes the ad would catch. Well, that number just dropped by roughly 10 percent. That's a different agreement, I would think.
    Just one of the many ways the problem spills over.
    I'm not the media writer, but I know it's a frustrating thing for many, and I'm sympathetic to those who can't find a good solution. I've said this in the chat before but it's something my dad has deal with in Sedalia. I have another friend who can't get an answer in Columbia. It's bad for the game and the Cardinals (and Blues) brand.
  • It seems to me that these so called greatest and savviest baseball fans seem to forget that most teams watch some of their young players develop at the major league level which may often take 2-3 seasons. Between maturity and growth I would expect Bader to make the most improvement this season with Tyler still behind him since he has played less at this level than Harrison has.As far as Carlson goes, I have no idea but I would think his 2022 season will see him blossom here. Thank you for letting me have my say. Have a great day!!
    Most teams indeed have some growth on the fly happening in various spots.
    It's pretty rare to see an entire outfield using that approach.
    That invites impatience.
    Are you driving to Jupiter? Any stops at historic sites planned? One day?
    I'm flying. That drive home from spring training last season was not fun. You can only see so many signs for orange museums.
    Do you expect to see a Carp 2B, Edman OF lineup this year? Shildt might see the need to get both bats in the lineup.
    If there is no DH, and Carpenter hits, that could happen some, sure.
    Putting Edman in the outfield makes more sense than putting Carpenter out there.
    He's played out there, and played just fine, recently.
    Shifting can help cover some of Carpenter's shortcomings at second.
    And on cue, Carpenter makes a diving stop at second.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement