Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Discussion about other teams, non-cubs players, baseball history, sabr vs scouting, etc.

What will the win total of St Louis be in 2016?

Under 88 Wins
19
53%
88 Wins Exactly
3
8%
89-93 Wins
13
36%
Above 93 Wins
1
3%
 
Total votes: 36

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Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby StylesClash » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:07 am

There's clearly some big time question marks about St.Louis heading into 2016, but if most of them turnout well I expect the Cardinals to be well over their fangraph 88 win projection. Here's my biggest Cardinal X-Factors:

-Piscotty and Grichuk second year progress. Both made their big league debuts this past season. Even though neither was as hyped as Bryant or Schwarber both produced at comparable levels. The question for these two is in their second seasons in St Louis will they take the next step forward from very good to great, stay at approximately the same level, or regress as their scouting reports get more advanced.

-Health of Wainwright, Martinez and Garcia. Wainwright prior to 2015 was one of baseball's most durable starting pitchers. However this season he suffered an Achilles tendon injury, which cost him most of the year. At age 34 can Wainwright again be a 200+ inning pitcher? Jamie Garcia the past several season's has missed significant amount of time due to injuries, and hasn't pitched close to 200 innings since 2011. Can 2016 be the year he reverses this trend. And Carlos Martinez may have the highest upside of any Cardinal pitcher. However this was his first full season in their rotation, and he couldn't survive without getting hurt. The question among this trio is can St Louis get around 540 innings between the three.

-Contributions from Holliday and Moss. The overall numbers from Matt Holliday this past season, particularly his on base, were just fine. However he couldn't manage 400 AB's for the first time in his career. Will this trend continue into his age 36 season. And Brandon Moss a few years ago quietly put together two more than respectable seasons in a row. However this past season he was below average due to an injury. If Moss is healthy in 2016 will he be capable of duplicating his solid 2013 season.

I expect Piscotty and Grichuk to produce at their approximate 2015 stat lines. However getting full seasons from each, as opposed to the mid season call up from Piscotty and sporadic early season playing time from Grichuk, will help offset losing Jason Heyward.

As for the St Louis rotation issues, I don't see the Wainwright Achilles injury to be a massive concern. A shoulder or elbow injury would be more worrisome, as they are more likely to lead to chronic issues. I expect Wainwright to produce around 200 innings. Jamie Garcia has never been that durable, so I'll pencil him in at around 120 innings. And Carlos Martinez's shoulder injury shouldn't be taken lightly, as its been hurt before. I expect St Louis to keep strict tabs on his pitch count early in the season, which will obviously effect his overall innings total (which I'll project to be around 160).

So overall I expect Wainwright, Garcia and Martinez to give St Louis a little bit under 500 innings. However acquiring the very durable Mike Leake will help compensate for injuries, and possible pitch count limits, for these three.

And finally regarding Holliday and Moss, Holliday has been very durable throughout his career, so I'll chalk up his 2015 injury as an aberration. However Holliday's OPS, for the most part, has declined since 2010. And at age 36 I don't expect that trend to change. So I'll project him with an OPS around 780. As for Brandon Moss, assuming he can avoid lingering key injuries, I'll project his effectiveness level at somewhere between his solid 2013 and disappointing 2015.

As you can see I expect a good chunk of the Cardinal x-factors to work in their favor. This will lead to an approximate win total of 93.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby mul21 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:18 am

Sure, why not expect two inexperienced guys to continue to produce at levels in the majors that they never did in the minors. That's the real Cardinal way. :roll:
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby Banedon » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:19 am

70 wins and one drunk driving death.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby StylesClash » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:26 am

mul21 wrote:Sure, why not expect two inexperienced guys to continue to produce at levels in the majors that they never did in the minors. That's the real Cardinal way. :roll:


Piscotty's 2015 Triple A OPS, which occurred with a significant sample size of over 300 AB's, was about the same as his MLB OPS. As for Grichuk his minor league OPS average was 818. His MLB 2015 OPS was 877. This again was with a nice MLB sample size of 323 plate appearances. And the increase was due to more power, which develops later in careers for many players.

I don't think its beyond the realm of possibility at all that each puts together an OPS of around 850, which would be well above league average.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby squally1313 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:38 am

StylesClash wrote:
mul21 wrote:Sure, why not expect two inexperienced guys to continue to produce at levels in the majors that they never did in the minors. That's the real Cardinal way. :roll:


Piscotty's 2015 Triple A OPS, which occurred with a significant sample size of over 300 AB's, was about the same as his MLB OPS. As for Grichuk his minor league OPS average was 818. His MLB 2015 OPS was 877. This again was with a nice MLB sample size of 323 plate appearances. And the increase was due to more power, which develops later in careers for many players.

I don't think its beyond the realm of possibility at all that each puts together an OPS of around 850, which would be well above league average.


That's not how that works. See Bryant, Kris and Schwarber, Kyle.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby Transmogrified Tiger » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:45 am

The Cardinals will be a good team this year, and they have a very low collapse risk because they have a lot of decent players and contingencies at just about every position. Their biggest problem is a lack of high end upside. Steamer projects Carpenter and Wainwright to be their best players at 3.5 fWAR. By comparison, five different Cubs project to be at least 4.4 fWAR by Steamer.

Their biggest fulcrums to the season(pending something like a trade for Cargo) will be Piscotty/Grichuk on the hitting side and Martinez/Wacha on the pitching side. Personally I think the pitchers will be productive like they need but also still carry a lot of injury risk(Martinez especially), while I don't have as much optimism about Piscotty/Grichuk repeating their 2015 numbers. That means the Cardinals could resemble a watered down version of what the Mets were post-deadline this past year. I'd say something like 83-87 wins and maybe a wild card depending on how the breaks from the rest of that similar tier(Nats, Mets Giants, Pirates) shakes out.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby David » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:46 am

holy [expletive] is this like ARCubsFan redux?

i feel like you've spent the offseason picking apart what could go wrong with the 100 win projection cubs and now you make a huge post about why the cardinals are all going to exceed projections
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby Cubswin11 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:54 am

They should be okay to good and also have the ability to add top end talent via trade during season. They shouldn't get close to 100 wins like last yer but one thing I think that could happen with some of the top tier teams in the NL is having inflated win totals since there's a good amount of teams who are going to be awful/trying to lose (Brewers, Braves, Phillies, Rockies, Reds, Padres). So add in the amount of teams sucking, having a pretty solid team and well Cardinals being Cardinals I see a high 80s-low 90s win total being most likely.

I do see some downside in them though, they are depending on 2 second year players to be key cogs in their offense who never were big prospects, they have other big pieces aging/showing signs of breaking down (Holliday and Molina) and their entire rotation seemingly has major health/durability concerns so if things go wrong there and they don't have typical Cardinal luck (ERA exceeding FIPs, BABIP, BA w/RISP luck, etc) I could see a high 70s/low 80s win team.
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby Transmogrified Tiger » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:05 am

StylesClash wrote:
mul21 wrote:Sure, why not expect two inexperienced guys to continue to produce at levels in the majors that they never did in the minors. That's the real Cardinal way. :roll:


Piscotty's 2015 Triple A OPS, which occurred with a significant sample size of over 300 AB's, was about the same as his MLB OPS. As for Grichuk his minor league OPS average was 818. His MLB 2015 OPS was 877. This again was with a nice MLB sample size of 323 plate appearances. And the increase was due to more power, which develops later in careers for many players.

I don't think its beyond the realm of possibility at all that each puts together an OPS of around 850, which would be well above league average.


Piscotty's MLB numbers match his AAA numbers entirely because he put up a .372 BABIP in MLB. Considering his highest BABIP in full season ball prior to this was .313, that does not look very sustainable at all. Maybe he makes strides to cut down on his K rate(which not so coincidentally spiked with his IsoP uptick this year at AAA & MLB) to help mitigate that regression, but at the moment he looks more like a really good 4th OF/platoon guy, especially considering his defense graded so poorly that he was basically a league average player by WAR even with the huge BABIP.

Grichuk has more of a history with hitting for power, and if one of those two duplicates their 2015 I'd bet on him, especially since he has an injury that he can pin some of his 2nd half struggles on. He also fits the profile of someone who could tank pretty hard if his 2nd half struggles were the result of MLB pitchers exposing a hole in his swing. I don't think a K rate 25 percentage points worse than your walk rate is a very sustainable hitting approach, in fact I don't see a qualified hitter with a gap that large in the last 5 years, and those that are closest are players like the bad version of Chris Davis or Michael Taylor last year, not difference makers.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby David » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:19 am

piscotty did actively make changes last year to hit for more power, but yeah, a lot of his big league slash line last year can be attributed to babip.
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby davell » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:21 am

Russell and Javy are likely to out WAR Piscotty and Grichuk. I don't even see why we need a [expletive] Cardinal thread, until another one does something stupid.
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby muntjack » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:24 am

Well they had better get major production form Grichuk and Piscotty because they aren't going to leave runners on at the ridiculous rate they did this past season. Even projecting good health, I could see them winning only ~85 games.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby David » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:26 am

davell wrote:Russell and Javy are likely to out WAR Piscotty and Grichuk. I don't even see why we need a [expletive] Cardinal thread, until another one does something stupid.


Javy likely? Hell to the no.
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby Tim » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:35 am

Where's the option for below 65 wins?
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby davell » Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:55 am

David wrote:
davell wrote:Russell and Javy are likely to out WAR Piscotty and Grichuk. I don't even see why we need a [expletive] Cardinal thread, until another one does something stupid.


Javy likely? Hell to the no.


The two combined out WAR those 2 is what I meant by that. I do think Javy is a 2 WAR guy this season though.
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby Duke Silver » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:58 pm

"Here are a bunch of guys on the Cardinals with red flags; I think things will all go swimmingly."

Come on, dude. Even if those guys all have healthy seasons and replicate their dubious success from last year, the Cubs are still much better.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby jersey cubs fan » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:17 pm

David wrote:holy [expletive] is this like ARCubsFan redux?

i feel like you've spent the offseason picking apart what could go wrong with the 100 win projection cubs and now you make a huge post about why the cardinals are all going to exceed projections

Very much so
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby David » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:51 pm

Does this go here?

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/12/28/ ... -for-cubs/

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby StylesClash » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:13 am

David wrote:holy [expletive] is this like ARCubsFan redux?

i feel like you've spent the offseason picking apart what could go wrong with the 100 win projection cubs and now you make a huge post about why the cardinals are all going to exceed projections


The Ben Zobrist signing, at least in the short term, is a perfect fit. Adding someone to the lineup who doesn't struggle against lefties and can take his fair share of walks, while not punching out a a lot, was clearly needed.

I simply don't think its financially prudent to give nearly 200 million to a player based mainly on defense, especially when its unknown if Heyward's elite Corner range will be as adept in Center. Although the fact that Heyward will more than likely opt out after year three makes me more comfortable with the contract.

As for St Louis, I know its cliche to say, but the reason I give them the benefit of the doubt is that they're the freaking Cardinals. There really aren't that many other organizations, over the past 15 years, who've been more adept at developing young talent and making wise trades. I think its foolish to count them out of the divisional race before the season has even begun (especially considering their rotation has a high amount of upside).

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby Cubswin11 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:02 am

StylesClash wrote:
David wrote:holy [expletive] is this like ARCubsFan redux?

i feel like you've spent the offseason picking apart what could go wrong with the 100 win projection cubs and now you make a huge post about why the cardinals are all going to exceed projections


The Ben Zobrist signing, at least in the short term, is a perfect fit. Adding someone to the lineup who doesn't struggle against lefties and can take his fair share of walks, while not punching out a a lot, was clearly needed.

I simply don't think its financially prudent to give nearly 200 million to a player based mainly on defense, especially when its unknown if Heyward's elite Corner range will be as adept in Center. Although the fact that Heyward will more than likely opt out after year three makes me more comfortable with the contract.

As for St Louis, I know its cliche to say, but the reason I give them the benefit of the doubt is that they're the freaking Cardinals. There really aren't that many other organizations, over the past 15 years, who've been more adept at developing young talent and making wise trades. I think its foolish to count them out of the divisional race before the season has even begun (especially considering their rotation has a high amount of upside).

Struggling against lefties was/is a problem? Also it's silly to think Heyward will struggle in CF. Fowler had one of his best, if not best, defensive years in CF last year moving to Wrigley after grading out below average most of his career. I look at it that it's very unlikely Heyward isn't a net positive for us in CF compared to what we had last year when you factor in Wrigley and just needing to be better than Fowler out there.

As for the Cardinals rotation upside, basically last year was their upside year when they had ridiculous ERA to FIP/xFIP ratios and huge strand rates. They have just as much downside as they have upside with likely regression and pitcher health.
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby StylesClash » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:09 am

Cubswin11 wrote:
StylesClash wrote:
David wrote:holy [expletive] is this like ARCubsFan redux?

i feel like you've spent the offseason picking apart what could go wrong with the 100 win projection cubs and now you make a huge post about why the cardinals are all going to exceed projections


The Ben Zobrist signing, at least in the short term, is a perfect fit. Adding someone to the lineup who doesn't struggle against lefties and can take his fair share of walks, while not punching out a a lot, was clearly needed.

I simply don't think its financially prudent to give nearly 200 million to a player based mainly on defense, especially when its unknown if Heyward's elite Corner range will be as adept in Center. Although the fact that Heyward will more than likely opt out after year three makes me more comfortable with the contract.

As for St Louis, I know its cliche to say, but the reason I give them the benefit of the doubt is that they're the freaking Cardinals. There really aren't that many other organizations, over the past 15 years, who've been more adept at developing young talent and making wise trades. I think its foolish to count them out of the divisional race before the season has even begun (especially considering their rotation has a high amount of upside).

Struggling against lefties was/is a problem? Also it's silly to think Heyward will struggle in CF. Fowler had one of his best, if not best, defensive years in CF last year moving to Wrigley after grading out below average most of his career. I look at it that it's very unlikely Heyward isn't a net positive for us in CF compared to what we had last year when you factor in Wrigley and just needing to be better than Fowler out there.

As for the Cardinals rotation upside, basically last year was their upside year when they had ridiculous ERA to FIP/xFIP ratios and huge strand rates. They have just as much downside as they have upside with likely regression and pitcher health.


-Heyward's track record against lefties is poor.
-Montero's track record against lefties is poor.
-Schwarber hit lefties very poorly last season. While he will likely improve that aspect of his game with more big league experience a platoon may still be necessary.

It's nice to know that barring an age 35 career swoon Zobrist likely will be more than capable against lefties and righties.

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby David » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:16 am

yes, the majority of lefties do worse and/or poorly against lefties. even rizzo probably won't continue to do as well against them as he has (but he's still probably better than your typical lefty vs them). that's not a big deal.

and heyward wouldn't be overpaid even if you pretended his defensive contribution was average, which is obviously nowhere near the truth.
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby StylesClash » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:25 am

David wrote:yes, the majority of lefties do worse and/or poorly against lefties. even rizzo probably won't continue to do as well against them as he has (but he's still probably better than your typical lefty vs them). that's not a big deal.

and heyward wouldn't be overpaid even if you pretended his defensive contribution was average, which is obviously nowhere near the truth.


160 or so at bats per year of poor offensive production is pretty significant when you're paying someone 20 million a year. From what I've heard Schwarber's minor league track record against lefties is rather good. If he can manage to put together an OPS of around 750 against lefties, while Heyward continues to struggle to the tune of around 660 or so, I'll be curious if there will be consideration of putting Baez in a Center Field platoon (atleast in smaller parks).

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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby Cubswin11 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:29 am

StylesClash wrote:
David wrote:yes, the majority of lefties do worse and/or poorly against lefties. even rizzo probably won't continue to do as well against them as he has (but he's still probably better than your typical lefty vs them). that's not a big deal.

and heyward wouldn't be overpaid even if you pretended his defensive contribution was average, which is obviously nowhere near the truth.


160 or so at bats per year of poor offensive production is pretty significant when you're paying someone 20 million a year. From what I've heard Schwarber's minor league track record against lefties is rather good. If he can manage to put together an OPS of around 750 against lefties, while Heyward continues to struggle to the tune of around 660 or so, I'll be curious if there will be consideration of putting Baez in a Center Field platoon (atleast in smaller parks).

A ~.660 OPS against LHP would have been about top 20 in baseball last year for CF, add in likely plus defense and Heyward should be starting in CF almost every game against LHP.
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Re: Cardinal 2016 Expectations

Postby StylesClash » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:37 am

Cubswin11 wrote:
StylesClash wrote:
David wrote:yes, the majority of lefties do worse and/or poorly against lefties. even rizzo probably won't continue to do as well against them as he has (but he's still probably better than your typical lefty vs them). that's not a big deal.

and heyward wouldn't be overpaid even if you pretended his defensive contribution was average, which is obviously nowhere near the truth.


160 or so at bats per year of poor offensive production is pretty significant when you're paying someone 20 million a year. From what I've heard Schwarber's minor league track record against lefties is rather good. If he can manage to put together an OPS of around 750 against lefties, while Heyward continues to struggle to the tune of around 660 or so, I'll be curious if there will be consideration of putting Baez in a Center Field platoon (atleast in smaller parks).

A ~.660 OPS against LHP would have been about top 20 in baseball last year for CF, add in likely plus defense and Heyward should be starting in CF almost every game against LHP.


As you stated before, at Wrigley there isn't a lot of ground to cover. So if Baez is able to show he's capable in Center Field I think a platoon, in smaller parks, is an option which should be considered. Baez putting together a lefty OPS of over 700 is fairly realistic in my mind. Plus it's not a bad idea to give someone who has a lot of big league starts under his belt the occasional day off.


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