Tag Archives: St. Louis Cardinals

Team Preview – St. Louis Cardinals


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Yadier Molina SP 1 Chris Carpenter
1B Albert Pujols SP 2 Adam Wainwright
2B Skip Schumaker SP 3 Kyle Lohse
3B David Freese SP 4 Brad Penny
SS Brendan Ryan SP 5 Blake Hawksworth
LF Matt Holliday Bullpen
CF Colby Rasmus CL Ryan Franklin
RF Ryan Ludwick RP Trever Miller
Bench RP Kyle McLellan
IF Felipe Lopez RP Dennys Reyes
IF Julio Lugo RP Jairo Garcia

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Brad Penny Free Agency SP Joel Pineiro Free Agency
IF Felipe Lopez Free Agency OF Rick Ankiel Free Agency
OF Matt Holliday Free Agency SP John Smoltz Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jairo Garcia (P), David Freese (3B), Daryl Jones (OF), Robert Stock (C)

2009 Review

The Cardinals finished 2009 with a 91-71 record, good for the NL Central division title. They were helped quite a bit by their mid-season acquisitions. The biggest name was clearly free-agent-to-be OF Matt Holliday, acquired from the A’s in July. With St. Louis, he helped to carry the offense with a .353 batting average, 13 HR, and 55 RBI in only 63 games. As usual, their offense was led by 1B Albert Pujols (.327, 47 HR, 135 RBI), who won his 3rd MVP award and 2nd in a row. In the rotation, the Cards were led by 2 Cy Young candidates in Chris Carpenter (17-4, 2.24 ERA) and Adam Wainwright (19-8, 2.63 ERA). Unfortunately, they faced the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs, and were swept 3-0.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Cardinals biggest move of the offseason was resigning OF Matt Holliday. They gave the OF a 7 year, $120 million dollar contract extension, and was widely viewed as a massive overpayment. However, they did get their man, and an elite run producer to complement Pujols. The team is probably the strongest team in the division, led by their 2 aces and 2 excellent hitters. Their offense is not particularly amazing outside of the two main hitters, but they are solid and overall provide a good lineup to manager Tony LaRussa. The only questions I really see on this team are at 3B, with David Freese slotted in as the starter in Spring Training, and at the back end of the rotation.

The main concern I have with the team at this point is injuries. While not thought serious, it is worth monitoring the back injury of Albert Pujols. He played in today’s game, and should still be ready for Opening Day. I am also concerned about the two aces, Carpenter and Wainwright. For Wainwright, it’s a jump in innings last season that could potentially present a problem this year. For Carpenter, this is a pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery twice, and is always a risk for an injury.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Lots to like here for fantasy players. Pujols is clearly the top player in the game right now, as he provides elite value in 4 categories and solid value in the 5th. OF Matt Holliday, SP Chris Carpenter, and SP Adam Wainwright are all top-tier players at their position as well. A sleeper in my opinion would be SP Brad Penny. Pitching coach Dave Duncan has worked well with many pitchers who have come before, and I think that Penny could be this year’s version.

Prediction for 2010

The Cardinals are one of the elite teams in their division, and the league as a whole. I think that they could run into a little bit of bad luck this year, and finish out of the playoffs. It may not be by much though, if it does happen.

86-76, 2nd in the NL Central, Wild Card winner

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Free Agency Review – Starting Pitchers


As expected, the free agent class of starting pitchers was pretty deep this offseason, although there were very few solid options.

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

LH Starting Pitchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Randy Wolf LAD MIL 3 $29.75 M
Andy Pettitte NYY NYY 1 $11.75 M
Erik Bedard SEA SEA 1 $1.5 M
Aroldis Chapman CIN 6 $30.25 M
Doug Davis ARI MIL 1 $5.25 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Jarrod Washburn (DET)


Of all the lefties, Randy Wolf probably did the best in terms of capitalizing on a good season. Milwaukee got a very good veteran starting pitcher for a reasonable price. Bedard signed an incentive-laden deal which could be worth up to $8.5 M total, and if he earns them all, the Mariners will be extremely happy with the results as well. The most unusual signing in my opinion was the Chapman signing. The Reds, not known for spending a lot of money necessarily, sign a pitcher who will be under contract for 6 seasons, and be paying him for as much as 10 perhaps, and will hopefully not be starting his career in the Major leagues.

RH Starting Pitchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Rich Harden CHC TEX 1 $7.5 M
John Lackey LAA BOS 5 $82.5 M
Brad Penny SF STL 1 $7.5 M
Joel Pineiro STL LAA 2 $16 M
Justin Duchscherer OAK OAK 1 $2 M
Ben Sheets OAK 1 $10 M
Jon Garland LAD SD 1 $5.3 M
Colby Lewis JPN TEX 2 $5 M
Jason Marquis COL WAS 2 $15 M
Vicente Padilla LAD LAD 1 $5.025 M
Carl Pavano MIN MIN 1 $7 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Braden Looper (MIL), Todd Wellemeyer (STL), John Smoltz (STL), Pedro Martinez (PHI)

Lackey was the big name on the market this offseason, and got the big contract that went along with it. I was a bit surprised at the time about this since I didn’t really think that the Red Sox were in the market for a starting pitcher. However, it looks now like he will be the replacement for Josh Beckett should he leave via free agency after 2010. The Angels did well to replace Lackey with Pineiro. Pineiro, while not the same quality pitcher as Lackey, will provide more stability to the rotation being led now by Jered Weaver and Scott Kazmir. Free agency was also littered with high-risk, high-reward types like Harden, Sheets, and Duchscherer. The most interesting signing for a right hander to me is the Rangers’ signing of Colby Lewis. Lewis is returning from 2 seasons in Japan where he was very dominant, and should be interesting to watch this season.

Tomorrow: Free agency review of relief pitchers

Free Agency Review – OF/DH


Continuing on with my review of the 2010 free agent class, today’s positions are the outfielders and designated hitters.

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Corner Outfielders
Name Old New Years Total $
Jason Bay BOS NYM 4 $66 M
Matt Holliday STL STL 7 $120 M
Xavier Nady NYY CHC 1 $3.3 M
Randy Winn SF NYY 1 $1.1 M
Marlon Byrd TEX CHC 3 $15 M
Bobby Abreu LAA LAA 2 $19 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Johnny Damon (NYY), Jermaine Dye (CHW)

What an unusual offseason. Holliday gets $120 M from the Cardinals, despite appearing to have no other offers even remotely as large or as long. Bay takes about $6 M more than the Red Sox offered, and goes to a park which I have to imagine is not going to be as good for him as a hitter as Fenway was. And then there is the case of Johnny Damon. As of this writing, Damon is STILL unsigned. He was looking for a very large contract, with 3-4 years in length and a large quantity of money. After the season he had last year, he appears to have been well within his rights to ask for it, too. Unfortunately, no one’s willing to pay it. Which makes the contract that Bobby Abreu signed with the Angels look that much better.

Center Fielders
Name Old New Years Total $
Rick Ankiel STL KC 1 $3.25 M
Scott Podsednik CHW KCR 1 $1.75 M
Coco Crisp KCR OAK 1 $5.25 M
Mike Cameron MIL BOS 2 $15.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

Center fielders did alright this offseason, with Mike Cameron receiving the best contract overall. He’s going to be playing LF for the Red Sox most likely, although they’d probably be better served moving Jacoby Ellsbury instead. Crisp was added to the A’s outfield in spite of the logjam that was there when the offseason started, and the move makes a lot more sense now that they were able to move a couple of their excess outfielders. Both Podsednik and Ankiel aren’t going to play CF for the Royals, but I could see them splitting their time out there, and potentially in RF in place of Jose Guillen as well.

Designated Hitters
Name Old New Years Total $
Jim Thome LAD MIN 1 $1.5 M
Vladimir Guerrero LAA TEX 1 $5 M
Hideki Matsui NYY LAA 1 $6.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

Not surprisingly, there were not a lot of designated hitters available, and jobs for them either. Matsui did well to take Guerrero’s old job, and get a nice salary for 2010. I really like the signing for the Angels, as Matsui is the definition of a professional hitter. Should fit in well with the rest of the lineup and the roster. Guerrero could very well have an excellent season in Texas, although I think Texas probably would have been better served using that money for other spots on the roster besides a player who cannot play the field any longer. Thome’s signing was under the radar, and also fits really well with his new team. He brings a professionalism and veteran leadership to the Twins that they don’t have a lot of at the moment.

Tomorrow’s free agency review: Starting Pitchers

Free Agency Review – C/1B/3B


All week, I will be recapping the free agency signings this offseason, by position. Today’s group: Catchers and Corner Infielders (1B, 3B)

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Catchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Bengie Molina SF SF 1 $4.5 M
Miguel Olivo KC COL 1 $2.5 M
Ivan Rodriguez TEX WAS 2 $6 M
Jason Kendall MIL KCR 2 $6 M
Gregg Zaun TAM MIL 1 $2.15 M
John Buck KC TOR 1 $2 M
Brian Schneider NYM PHI 2 $2.75 M
Yorvit Torrealba COL SD 1 $1.25 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Rod Barajas (TOR)

There really wasn’t a lot of available jobs for catchers this offseason, as realistically 5 jobs were vacated by free agents. Bengie Molina probably did the best, in my opinion, as he got the highest annual salary ($4.5 M), and managed to go to a team that has a very good prospect waiting in the wings. Of some concern was the fact that Molina had an even better offer on the table from the Mets, and turned it down anyway. Ivan Rodriguez was probably my favorite signing for a specific team, as he should be a real help to the Nationals rotation and lineup with his experience, and his winning track record. Nearly all of these signings are of the low-risk, high-potential variety, and no really big contracts either.

First Basemen
Name Old New Years Total $
Adam LaRoche ATL ARI 1 $6 M
Aubrey Huff DET SF 1 $3 M
Nick Johnson FLA NYY 1 $5.75 M
Troy Glaus STL ATL 1 $1.75 M
Jason Giambi COL COL 1 $1.75 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Russell Branyan (SEA), Carlos Delgado (NYM), Hank Blalock (TEX)

This year’s crop of free agent first basemen really didn’t have a lot of high-end talent, with Branyan and LaRoche probably having the best seasons of any of the players available. As a result, we saw exclusively 1 year contracts for most players, and some still looking for work. Branyan is really the biggest surprise, although his published demands early on during the offseason may have scared away a lot of teams. Next year’s class of 1B free agents is extremely strong, including Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Derrek Lee, and Carlos Pena. This may also have contributed to the lack of long contracts, as teams may not want to tie up the position for next season’s bonanza. Another group of lower-risk, higher-potential contracts that if they don’t work, will not really cause any problems for the teams that signed them.

Third Basemen
Name Old New Years Total $
Mark DeRosa STL SF 2 $12 M
Adam Kennedy OAK WAS 1 $1.25 M
Chone Figgins LAA SEA 4 $36 M
Adrian Beltre SEA BOS 1 $10 M
Melvin Mora BAL COL 1 $1.3 M
Garrett Atkins COL BAL 1 $4.5 M
Pedro Feliz PHI HOU 1 $4.5 M
Miguel Tejada HOU BAL 1 $6 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Joe Crede (MIN)

3rd base actually had some solid free agent signings, with some big dollars as well. Beltre got the highest annual salary at $10 M from the Red Sox. That contract actually seemed like a bit of a surprise, as the Red Sox still have Mike Lowell who will now be relegated to bench duty. Figgins was the cream of the crop of this group, and got a well-deserved $36 M contract from the Mariners. The other signing I really found interesting was the Miguel Tejada signing. Tejada has never played 3B before, but will be moving to the position in his return to the Orioles. It looks like a really good value signing for the Orioles, and provides some more veteran leadership in the Orioles clubhouse.

Prospect Review – Shelby Miller – P – St. Louis Cardinals


Baseball-Reference.com Profile
Fangraphs Profile

Prospect Insider Profile
Baseball Intellect Profile

The Basics
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
How Acquired: Drafted out of Brownwood HS (Brownwood, TX) by the Cardinals in the 1st round (#19 overall) in 2009.
Age: 19

Statistics
2009 – Quad Cities (Midwest League – Cardinals A)

  • 3 innings pitched
  • 2 earned runs, 5 hits allowed
  • 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Rankings
Baseball America – #1 (STL – 2010)
John Sickels – #1 (STL – 2010 – B)

Analysis

I found Miller to be an interesting case to study, after seeing both Baseball America and John Sickels say that he was the best prospect in the Cardinals system. This is in spite of only pitching 3 innings as a professional. So needless to say, I wondered two things: 1)Was the Cardinals system that devoid of high-end talent that their first pick in the most recent draft would already have a higher ceiling than anyone in the system? and 2)What was the story with this young pitcher? Is he really that good?

Scouting reports indicate that he throws a great fastball usually sitting in the mid 90’s. He also uses a good curveball, and has begun throwing a changeup since signing. However, it appears that while in high school, he relied heavily on the fastball, which has left his secondary pitches in need of work prior to advancement in the minors. Baseball Intellect states that his delivery appears to be very clean, although it probably needs some work on his “finish” (follow-through I imagine)

It is interesting to me, as the common theme that keeps coming up in the reports I read about Miller is that he’s “projectable”, and very high upside. Having no scouting background myself, these are concepts in word only to me. Generally, I am inclined to believe that a young pitcher who already has physical tools can be molded into a pitcher. The fact that he throws mid-90’s with his fastball as a 19 year old bodes well for the possibility of being taught to pitch at an effective level. I am really looking forward to seeing what he does next year with a full season of statistics.

Outlook

Miller is exactly this: a high-upside right handed pitcher. Anything beyond that at this point is just conjecture and guessing in my opinion. I think that major league teams, in general, are going to do their due diligience involving players prior to drafting them and committing millions of dollars to them. As a result, I am inclined to believe that he should be at least a serviceable prospect to be sure, and potentially a good Major Leaguer. Until he finishes a full season, I remain skeptical.

Prediction for 2010

5-3, 3.50 ERA, 70 IP, 75 K, 35 BB

Expected ETA

2012 at the soonest. Probably not a major league contributor until 2013 or 2014, in my opinion.