Looking at current Yahoo rankings, I decided to look at whether or not Cardinal hitters would be over or under this ranking at season’s end. This does not include today’s game.
Player: Yadier Molina
Current Rank: 191
Outlook: Molina has appeared in 28 of 31 games and started in 27 of those games. He is starting about 3% more games than he did last season, so it will be difficult for him to continue to bring the energy to the park he brings everyday at this rate. Molina is on pace for 100 RBI which is mostly a result of two big hits in the season’s first week. He is also on pace for 21 steals. Both the steals and RBI numbers would annihilate his previous career highs. Not that it’s impossible, but it’s very unlikely. He’ll finish over 191.
Player: Albert Pujols
Current Rank: 30
Outlook: Pujols has walked more than he has struck out every season since 2002. It’s an incredible feat when considering how few pitchers finish a season with more walks than strikeouts in a given year, but so far this season Pujols has 2 more strikeouts than walks. There’s a lot of time for Pujols to correct this and given that he has finished in the rankings either first or second three of the last four years he should take his place as the game’s best again. He’ll finish under 30.
Player: Skip Schumaker
Current Rank: 842
Outlook: Schumaker has only had 16 at bats against lefties, but he’s made the most of them which is a contrast to what he did last year and what most lefty batters generally do against lefty pitchers. He is striking out more frequently than he was last season, but also walking more so this approach isn’t costing him. Schumaker also has increased the amount of line drives he hits by about 7%. Obviously the 842 ranking is going to go down, but it will go down in a big way once luck starts to turn and Schumaker hits the ball “where they ain’t.” He’ll finish under 842.
Player: Brendan Ryan
Current Rank: 1441
Outlook: If Ryan continues to be a non-factor offensively, he might make himself a non-factor in the Cardinals starting lineup. The Cards never expected much in the way of power from Ryan, but he did hit .292 and had a .340 OBP last year. This year he is 112 and 70 points off of those paces respectively. Assuming the Cards are in the playoff race all season long, wouldn’t John Mozeliak have to talk to Toronto about Alex Gonzalez? Ryan is definitely an afterthought unless you are in a really deep league. He’ll still finish under 1441.
Player: David Freese
Current Rank: 143
Outlook: It’s a favorite of anyone with the know-how in sports to say a rookie is going to hit the wall when they get off to a great start. Freese is different. He’s already 27 years old and has had 4 seasons of professional baseball already under his belt. My problem with Freese isn’t his experience, it’s the amazing luck that he has had. For all the misfortune that Schumaker has had, Freese has gotten every fortunate bounce. His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is over .400 whereas the league average is .300. Pujols has a BABIP of .330 right now and Ichiro Suzuki has a BABIP of .348 as points of reference. As long as Freese continues to strikeout a lot, he will finish over 143.
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