It’s Thursday, and it’s simply too hot outside for clever titles. Before the freakin’ cicadas can take over the earth, I wanted to publish something to get all the random Cardinal baseball thoughts organized and out of my brain. Also, it would be nice to get the sportscaster voices to stop the play-by-play in my head as well.
- Big hat tip to Ryan Theriot for his 20 game hitting streak. Even bigger hat tip for the way it ended. Instead of going up hacking in an attempt to keep the streak alive, Theriot kept doing his job and simply tried to get on base. In the process, he drew two walks and in the process of drawing those walks decreased greatly the odds that he would get another base hit. Unselfish? You bet. Playing like a Cardinal? Absolutely.
- I got poked a bit yesterday about the column that Bernie Miklasz wrote about not trading Colby Rasmus. Touche Bernie, touche. I never advocated trading Raz for a bucket of baseballs, and I’m not on the “trade Raz now” bus, either. I just put out the idea for some discussion. However, there are some talking points that I believe are worth taking into consideration here. While Raz is under team control through 2014 for relatively low cost, the key there is “relatively”. The Reds bought out Jay Bruce‘s arbitration years with a 6 yr / $51M contract, and he technically had a year of pre-arbitration left. Also keep in mind that Bruce’s 2010 season was good for 4.6 WAR, and Bernie asserted that Raz has started 2011 with 2.4 WAR already. (According to Fangraphs, Matt Holliday also has a 2.4 WAR.) With those pieces of information in mind, what’s to keep Rasmus from asking for a similar deal after this season? Sure, the Cardinals can just say no and deal with him in arbitration each of the next few seasons, but dealing with an unhappy player usually doesn’t help with “team chemistry”. While the Fielding Bible data may have Raz listed as a plus CF, UZR has him at 1.7. That means that he ranks tied for 9th among full-time CFs in the NL ahead of only 3 others.
- Rasmii? I’ll turn this one around a bit. There was quite a bit of white noise on Twitter about the Cardinals drafting Colby’s little brother, Casey Rasmus, with something like the 1100th pick in the draft. Big deal. Did anybody have issue with the Rangers drafting the paralyzed kid who was the teammate of another draftee? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Double standard? No, I don’t necessarily think so. It’s just bad logic to use the “late round picks shouldn’t be wasted” argument. If anything, the argument should be that legacy picks to butt kiss current or former players are a bad idea and need to go away. A line must be drawn somewhere eventually. If the drafted player has legitimate baseball talent, or if the team is truly taking a flyer on a kid, then it makes sense. To be honest, a team can never have too many catchers.
- The Bud Norris debacle last night was almost painful to watch. Being on the wrong side of a 2-hitter happens sometimes. Allowing the opposing pitcher to average just over 11 pitches an inning for any length of time should not, though. Also, Norris likes to work quickly, and nobody tried to break his rhythm or play mind games with the guy. The funny thing about Norris is that suddenly some people are talking about how great he is. The guy is having his best season yet, but he still has a 1.284 WHIP.
- Every time I look at the defensive team the Cardinals put on the field, I keep wondering whether or not at some point in the future we’ll see Daniel Descalso at SS. It’s not that Theriot will lose the job, it’s just that I wonder who the Cardinals will be able to afford 1 or 2 years down the road.
- I think that the Lance Berkman we’re watching in June is probably the same one we’ll be watching the rest of the season, and I’m fine with that. Actually, I’m really hoping that’s the case and not an overly optimistic view. It’s not the missed games that bother me, either. It was watching him run down the line to 1st base. He didn’t look very much like the same guy who had so much bounce in his step on opening day, and that’s a sign to me that those outfield innings are starting to wear on him. Those inter-league games away from Busch are going to be huge for the #BigFatElvisPuma.
- It’s long past time to bark at the Reds, and it’s time to focus on the Brewers. So, if you are into rooting for Not-the-Brewers and Not-the-Reds, then you are set. If the two face each other, then pick your poison. Just remember that the Brewers are the only team in MLB with single digit losses at home this season. Yep. They are 22-8 at home.
- I could go on for hours about how stupid I think rating minor league systems is. Sure, the Cardinals are consistently ranked relatively low. Maybe that’s because the system is busy churning out players that produce at the major league level. At the same time, the minor league teams manage to win a lot of games. It seems to me that system rankings are about as useful as an elevator in an outhouse.
- While the Cardinals are losing a ton of games to injury this season, I’d be tempted to argue that they couldn’t pick a better time to lose those games. If the injury bug is done biting them by the All-Star break, then they will be in great shape for the 2nd half of the season. In the highly unlikely event of a rough landing, guys like Tony Cruz, Lance Lynn, and Mark Hamilton have had some time at the major league level already this season. Players like Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto have plenty of time to find their grooves, and the bullpen roles can be fully established prior to the end of the 162.
- Looking forward to watching Lance Lynn pitch again. If you are into pitching approaches, watch closely to see if he changes his approach greatly between the 1st and 2nd time through the lineup against the Astros. In his 1st start, he didn’t surrender a hit until the 4th inning.
TIDBIT: Most of the WAR values mentioned in point 2 are from Fangraphs (except Bruce’s 2010 season). I usually reference Baseball-Reference.com which has slightly different values for several players. For example, B-R has Raz at 1.0 WAR, Holliday at 1.9, and Berkman at 2.5.
MORE BITS OF TID: If you didn’t read Josh’s post about “Teams Unite for Joplin“, then I highly encourage you to do so. It’s a worthy topic, and it’s actually about something important and not just me prattling on about sporks (although that doesn’t mean that sporks don’t matter).
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