STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

Bring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

    Greetings, chatters. Thanks for stopping by. This will be our final chat before I'm in Jupiter for spring training. I'm headed out today for a little family time on the front end of my spring-training shift. I'll be at camp on March 2, and we will chat from there next week. So, bring your sun-baked takes. Let's ride.
    I know Houston has the better record but it’s clear that the Battlehawks are the crown jewel of the XFL thus far based on attendance and fan excitement. How long do you foresee the excitement lasting?
    A little behind the scenes from Sunday's game at The Dome.
    XFL commissioner Oliver Luck was making the rounds, and member of the security staff said to him to remind him, in good nature, that St. Louis was exactly that, the crown jewel.
    The commissioner side of him said he wished it was a closer game.
    But he agreed.
    I don't think the XFL has to worry, at all, about attendance and fan excitement in St. Louis
    What St. Louis fans will and should worry about is the attendance and fan excitement in other XFL cities.
    The good news is attendance doesn't seem to matter nearly as much as TV ratings, and the XFL has good TV contracts.
    If people start tuning out on TV, the league could be in trouble.
    So far, so good, but there is power in being new. Staying power is yet to be determined. St. Louis won't be enough to save the XFL if other cities don't stick with it.
    John Nogowski has the best minor league stats of all the "prospects" even better than Carlson so why isn't there any talk of Nogowski? I know 1B is tied up by Goldy but Nogowski plays LF and RF and can pinch hit.
    Because minor league stats are far from the only things team use to determine a players' ceiling and fit at the major league level, and their importance on that list has decreased instead of increased over time.
    Some of the players you are comparing to Nogowski are much younger than him. He's 27. He's a 34th-round draft pick from 2014 who didn't reach Class AAA until 2019. And, as you mentioned, he's mostly blocked at his primary positions.
    Please don't interpret this as me putting the guy down.
    He's in camp.
    He's got a chance, as every player in camp does, but his chance is small, and his bat is going to have to be so good he forces the Cardinals to rearrange their depth chart -- a lot.
    That's a big ask.
    It seems like the Cards strong suit is the depth and quality of their pitching. Can they ride it to the WS without the addition of another big bat? Is that the calculation?
    Yes to the first part.
    Nothing new there.
    As for the second, here's what the Cardinals will say: We have to find out if we have that big bat waiting to break out with more playing time, and we have time to make moves during the season if we find we need one.
    The Cardinals like to remind us time and time again during spring training that the team and lineup that starts the season is not necessarily the one that ends it.
    That claim means less when you go multiple seasons without significantly reinforcing the team at the trade deadline, though, doesn't it?
    Should Liberatore’s disastrous outing yesterday be a cause for concern or is it part of the growing process? Seems like he is a year or two away from the majors.
    No. NO. NO!
    Did you see the curveball? That alone should make people happy.
    He's 20. No one ever said he wasn't a year or two away.
    It's important to remember that, because of the nature of this huge camp, we are going to see very young players get thrust into these games.
    It's fun to see them.
    It's fun for them to be seen.
    Don't take the outcomes much beyond that.
  • I know its only 3 days in but where is alberts hitting approach so far? Dont see much production or plan yet
    I'm not there yet, so I can't offer much in terms of boots-on-the-ground observation.
    I'll say this: It's nice to see Matt Carpenter showing, even early, that he's dedicated to doing what he said, returning to the guy who can put a ball in play all over the field.
    I think if you are waiting to see Albert's approach as a team-wide trend, you're going to keep waiting.
    His success will be determined by the ups and downs of specific players, not trying to get every hitter to be the same kind of hitter.
    The XFL is being hyped in St. Louis, however, TV ratings have been in decline for the past two weeks and I doubt attendance will cover it. However optimistic are you that the league will survive past this season? If it doesn't how will St. Louis react?
    That's the big question, right?
    What is a great fit for St. Louis might not be elsewhere, and St. Louis alone can't support an eight-team league.
    I said going in that I thought the over-under for the league would be two years.
    I think Vince McMahon will invest enough to make that happen.
    I think the TV contracts are going to be there to make that happen.
    After that? History tells us to bet the under. We'll see.
    Will Illinois basketball be in the Big Dance? If so, what seed you thinking? 9 or 10?
    Yes.
    And you're welcome.
    See, every time I write a positive thing about Illinois football or basketball, the Illini start to lose.
    So, this time, I included the Illini in my March Sadness column that questioned if we might go another NCAA Tournament without area teams to watch in the bracket.
    Promptly, Ayo Dosunmu returned from injury and led his team to a huge win at Penn State.
    That stopped the bleeding and punched the ticket, I think.
    Latest brackets have Undwerood's teams not in the 9/10 discussion, but the 7/8 discussion.
    I know you werent' at the game yesterday, but did you hear anything about Libatore's outing from others? Looking at the box score it looks like he got lit up.
  • Nothing beyond the fact that's hes 20 years old and had not, as Brian Walton pointed out on Twitter, pitched in an official game since a low Class A Midwest League appearance last September. Relax, everybody. RELAX.
  • I think the XFL is great so far but why wouldn’t they put teams in cities that don’t already have NFL franchises?
    Betting on the bigger cities prioritized TV ratings over in-seat attendance.
    I get it but think the league could have done a better job.
    I would have put a team in Austin, Texas, for example.
    St. Louis clearly was a good call.
    San Diego should have been in the plans.
    I also would have put a team in Wyoming. Call me crazy, but I've lived there and think people would get pumped for having a pro football team in the state.
    Oliver Luck never called me though :) 
    I know Sosa has looked impressive so far,but how does he make the team with Edman and Miller in front of him?
    Good question. Hard to see it. Remember that Ravelo was pulled back from an overseas contract, suggesting the Cards have plans for him. 26th spot gives some more flexibility, but someone decent is going to miss out. Times looking tough for my guy Yairo Munoz, but I'm not giving up on him just yet. Everybody wanted to dismiss him last season, when Drew Robinson was the flavor of spring. We saw how that turned out, though Miller is a much more proven player than Robinson.
    Why isn’t Edman being talked about more as the lead off hitter? He is such a spark plug. Was his OBP high enough last year?
    He could hit there.
    He could hit second.
    He could hit seventh. 
    He could hit eighth.
    He is one of many, many players on this team that has no set spot in the order, whose place in it could fluctuate with how he hits, and how those around him hit.
    There's another variable for Edman, too.
    You have to be on the field, somewhere, in order to be in the lineup in the National League.
    The Cardinals say they are determined to get Edman a starter-type amount of at-bats, but that still means there are days when he will sit, and you usually don't want your leadoff hitter sitting.
    Edman's on-base percentage of .350 last season was not as strong as his average (.300) and slugging percentage (.500).
    He rarely walks.
    But if he hits like he did last season, not walking is not that big of a deal.
    With 92 major league games beneath his belt, the Cardinals want to see if he can keep it up before they lock him in as the leadoff hitter. They want to see if he can keep it up before they lock him in as an every day player. The latter comes before the former.
    Who has impressed you so far in ST?
    I'm not there yet, so ask me again in a week or two.
    I'll have a better answer.
    I've just been watching games on TV and reading the P-D coverage along with the rest of you.
    Was the NY Guardians offense just that out of sync, or was the crowd noise as big of a factor as it seemed at the game? I know that they have not performed up to expectations in their other games.
  • A little bit of both.
    My buddy on the TV stats crew for the game, Matt Segal, pointed out that the Guardians had gone 27 possessions without scoring a touchdown at one point in Sunday's game.
    But the crowd was a factor.
    You saw that on the false start on the first drive, and a few other times during the game.
    Remember, XFL players are getting play calls piped directly into their helmets. You see them cup their hands over their ears from time to time, to help insulate against the noise. They were having a hard time hearing calls and snap counts in The Dome.
    With several players in the past few weeks expressing their anger with the Astros cheating scandal and a collective bargaining agreement expiring at the end of 2021, do you see some momentum for punishment/suspensions being worked into the new agreement?
    If we're talking about clear rules and punishments regarding guys who are caught doing this in the future, yes.
    If we're talking about a retro-active punishment of Astros players, no.
    Rob Manfred is not going to do that. No way. And he can't, if he wants his power to mean anything.
    He's admitted some mistakes, but he's been steadfast about his decision to grant players immunity in order to get at the truth.
    And while the players are ripping away, the truth is they would have wanted the players' union to defend them as well if their team was the one caught in the midst of this scandal.
    Manfred has said more clear rules about electronic sign-stealing are coming. Expect those rules to include how players caught breaking the rules will be disciplined. But he's not going to revisit his decision about the Astros.
    On Inside Pitch you and Gordo seemed optimistic that Arenado will be traded at some point, perhaps at the trade deadline. Do the Rockies pay attention to the performance of some of our players in ST in anticipation of a future negotiation?
    Traded to some team, yes.
    Traded to the Cardinals?
    Still many hurdles in that discussion, and ones the Cardinals have been pretty clear they are not all that interested (at least for now) in clearing.
    As for what the Rockies are up to, I would think the team that openly shopped a star player this offseason is still tracking the players it would be interested in trading that star player for, even while they are currently trying to play nice with Arenado.
    If the Rockies face plant out of the game, and this tense situation gets worse, the Rockies are going to be shopping Arenado again, and they will want to have the most up-to-date info on the players who would be wanted (and not) in any deal that moves the third baseman.
    Is KK the frontrunner for the 5th spot while Mikolas is out?
    The setback to Mikolas created a spot, at least initially, for Kim and Martinez.
    That doesn't mean both are guaranteed it.
    There are other names in the mix, though those two are at the front of the list, with the spots to lose.
    Happy Tuesday BenFred. Long time, no talk to.

    The Blues' MVP seems to be Sunny. What is it about him that makes him so valuable? We lose Petro and the boys have their best game versus the Stars, but we can't seem to stomach (sorry Petro) losing Sunny.
    Hey Barry, your boys are back on track it seems.
    Jordan Binnington has shaken the Bieber curse.
    Pietrangelo, by the way, is over his bug. (Don't minimize his importance!)
    And Vladimir Tarasenko looms, ready to make an impact after getting tired of watching from afar.
    But yes, don't forget the importance of Sundqvist.
    He's Berube's style personified.
    Does the little stuff. Plays with the energy and edge Berube wants the team to take on. He was so, so important during the postseason run last season. He will be so important to this postseason, and he's still kind of working his way back, if you read the update PD colleague Jim Thomas has today.
    Great teams have players like Sundqvist, who are easy to overlook until you are reminded of their importance.
  • If the XFL does hang on for a few years, can you see them moving into the new MLS stadium? Also do you think the NFL owners are at all paying attention to the football excitement that has built here?
    I know this is a popular topic, but it's worth remembering the folks who run The Dome were a big part of the push to get the XFL here.
    So, I'm not sure why they would want to see that team then leave.
    I don't see this happening -- and that's before we get into the problems that could come from having a football team playing on a surface specifically designed for soccer.
    If there are NFL owners who are paying attention, we won't hear about it. But here's the thing. There are owners who are getting tired of having to deal with the ongoing legal wrestling match related to the relocation lawsuit. There are owners who did not want to send their phone bills to St. Louis to lawyers who can then turn around and use that information for upcoming depositions. And there are owners who are dreading the idea of this thing actually reaching a court case, and there are no signs it will not. So, those owners who feel like Stan and Jerry dragged them into a real mess are now seeing that St. Louis is still this hungry for pro football have to be at least considering their decision to help Kroenke move the team. Greed drives the NFL. Money rules. That won't change. But STL has become a headache with this lawsuit, and Stan's attempt to sell STL as a decaying city for pro football was just obliterated on national TV. 
    Liberatore reminded me of Rick Ankiel and his "problem", can Liberatore hit???
    Who do you think will end up being closer to start the season?
    I've made a point of saying Carlos Martinez until I'm convinced he's a starter.
    The Mikolas setback changes that situation a bit.
    Brebbia. Helsley. Gallegos. Gant. Miller. Fernandez. Kim.
    Take your pick.
    I would not mind seeing Brebbia get the chance. His strikeout to walk rate is much better than people realize.
    If Helsley isn't in the rotation, his heat makes him a natural fit, especially if Shildt wants to keep Miller and Gallegos for earlier high-leverage opportunities.
    And if the first guy doesn't stick, the wheel will spin.
    This is the bullpen the Cardinals have talked about wanting to have -- emphasis on good pitching, less of an emphasis on concrete roles. It's the future.
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