To The Future And Beyond

I haven’t posted in several days, but there is a reason for that.  I substitute teach, and school started in the school district I work for last week.  I worked on Monday and Tuesday, so my mornings (when I usually write my posts) have been spent at school.  But I have a day off today, so I am taking this opportunity to get a post in.

The Cardinals have been winning a few lately, and that’s good.  Unfortunately the Brewers have been winning too.  The thing with me and this season is that I lost much of my enthusiasm months ago.  I continue to watch, as I am not a fairweather fan and never have been.  I am pleased when they win, and unhappy when they lose, but beyond that I don’t get overly excited one way or the other.   This team just doesn’t do it for me this year, despite Mike Matheny‘s assertions that this team is “a hard team not to love”.  Um, no, I don’t find it hard at all.

So the Cardinals won 3 out of 4 against the Padres and now have won two against the Reds.  There have been some strange happenings in these games lately.  Big hits from Daniel Descalso and Shane Robinson.  Lots of hit by pitches on Jon Jay (the most recent was a walk off in the 9th inning).  Baseball is weird like that.  Daniel Descalso and Shane Robinson are both replacement level players, but even replacement level players can have hot streaks.  Pete Kozma had a month long one in 2012.  Jon Jay has a knack for being hit by a pitch.  Some think his rather large posterior end might have something to do with it, though he isn’t always hit there.  Jay himself said he thinks it’s because he gets pitched inside a lot.  Maybe that’s true, I don’t know.  Jay has certainly benefited from it; if you discounted all his HBP’s, his OBP would be significantly lower than it is (It would drop from .378 to .349).   That’s not a knock on him it’s just reality.

I have been watching baseball for over 40 years, so I know stuff like this happens all the time.  Over a 162 game season, strange things are bound to happen.  That’s why I like stats, because when you study the numbers, especially over large sample sizes, those oddities don’t matter much.  You can learn much more about a player from his performance over time, than you ever will from individual game performances, or short bursts of a season.   I don’t get excited by hot streaks and I don’t freak out over cold ones.  You have to know the player’s history before you can make any kind of a judgment.  Players have a career mean of performance and they almost always regress to it eventually.  Over time and with aging, that mean can shift, but the trends (usually downward) are pretty noticeable.

I can tell you that Matt Holliday is declining.  He is still a pretty good player, but his seasons of 20-25 HRs and .300 hitting are behind him.  Matt Carpenter is close to his peak, and Jon Jay has reached his.  Yadier Molina has probably peaked as well, though he could have a year or two of really good left in him.  Jhonny Peralta will most likely begin declining along with Holliday.  Oscar Taveras and Kolten Wong have plenty of upside left and will likely only get better.  As for pitchers, Adam Wainwright has peaked, and John Lackey has passed his.  Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and probably Shelby Miller (if he isn’t broken) still have upside.  Of course, there are always reinforcements to be had in the minors, and trades and free agency to fill in the gaps.

I might not see this year as being the Cardinals’ year, but I am optimistic that the Cardinals have the talent to continue to contend for years to come.  Continued success by John Mozeliak in roster changes and (hopefully) better managing by Mike Matheny gives me hope for the future.

Unlike the hapless Cubs fans, “There’s always next year” has real meaning for me.  The present, not so much.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

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3 Comments

  1. baseballmania

     /  August 22, 2014

    Maybe the wonderful GM will fill in the pieces next season with more guys that are fun to watch. With all of this young talent they are absolutely boring.

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  2. baseballmania

     /  August 22, 2014

    The most exciting young player to watch is on the DL. Wacha. The most fun to watch is also. Yadi. I give Wong some credit.
    Other than that everyone else in my opinion is just boring.

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