Cardinals news from a Sabermetric point of view

Wednesday’s headline reactions

A few quick reactions to today’s Cardinal headlines from MLB.com:

Carpenter likely to begin season on DL

Carpenter starting the season on the DL is disappointing, of course. But it’s hardly a surprise, given that the Cardinals have been playing a game of health Russian roulette with Carpenter the last couple of seasons. The Cardinals came out unscathed two years in a row after Carpenter didn’t face more than 63 batters in either 2007 or 2008. The shuttle between DL and active roster could be a season-long problem with Carpenter, who, as most people know, faced a career-high 996 batters last year at age 36. Rather than wait until the All-Star break to act, John Mozeliak should be proactive and nip this in the bud, or it’s going to be a long, frustrating season. Roy Oswalt, please call your office.

Opening Day start handed to Lohse

Wait, what? After reading that Carpenter was going to miss the opener, we wondered whether something might be wrong with Adam Wainwright, too.  But he’s apparently just fine. If Wainwright were to start the Opening Day Opening Wednesday game, he could get six starts in April. As it now stands, he’ll get only five. We agree with Lohse: “Carp or Waino could be the ones out there doing it.” Well, at least Waino.

Craig could be ready for Opening Day

Finally, some happy news. Without a clear place to play, Craig still doesn’t need to rush back. But the Cardinals will only be better when he is activated, even if it is to strengthen their bench and occasionally spell Carlos Beltran. Craig’s return dovetails helpfully with Skip Schumaker‘s disabling.

Westbrook in fine form, tosses six scoreless

Facing a lineup of Valdespin, Cedeno, Turner, Duda, Pascucci, Baxter, Rottino and Nickeas, Westbrook wasn’t exactly dispatching Murderer’s Row. Still, we suppose it’s better than if those names had knocked him around.

Holliday’s triple sets tone in Cardinals’ win

The replay revealed something more akin to a misplayed line-drive single. Erik Komatsu also tripled in the game, perhaps a more meaningful hit in terms of its impact on the team’s composition heading into the regular season.

Cards’ bench a puzzle with loss of Schumaker

The subhead — “Infielder/outfielder’s versatility won’t be easy for club to replace” — is perhaps overstated. As consistent an on-base presence as Skip Schumaker was early in his career, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso and possibly Komatsu (who Steamer projects to have a .339 OBP this year, and ZiPS .328) will all be able to replace him, if his more-recent performance is any indication (.328 and .333 OBP in 2010 and 2011).

6 Responses to “Wednesday’s headline reactions”

  1. ahitz Says:

    Agreed with you about the lack of a “bench puzzle” when you posted, and with the weekends releases (Cora & Hill) and minor league options (Adams, Hamilton, and Chambers), Matt Carpenter appears to have made the team. Assuming Cruz has the defensive edge over Anderson behind the plate, it seems likely that the Cards are only still asking one bench question:, Erik Komatsu or Shane Robinson?

    I don’t envy them that decision. ZIPS only projected Robinson at a .301 OBP, but his spring OBP equals Komatsu’s .333 and his SLG is a little higher. Komatsu has a better ratio of walks to strikeouts in the small spring sample, and is a rule 5. Robinson is a couple years older and a centerfielder, which the bench lacks.

  2. Pip Says:

    Yeah, I think your point about player status is the tie-breaker when it comes to these decisions. I expect that Komatsu, in addition to having a decent spring, will make it on account of his Rule-5 status.

    You’re right that the bench lacks a CF for the time-being, but Beltran is available in a pinch. The tradeoff of defensive flexibility for offense is probably worth it, since Komatsu will be a lefthanded pinch-hitter in practice.

  3. ahitz Says:

    I expect you’re right about Komatsu … and won’t be surprised to see him in center late in some games…

    It is going to be interesting to watch how Matheny handles his collection of corner fielders in April. I really like the projected offense they bring, but it leaves the middle of the field kinda thin, especially considering that Furcal and Beltran will likely need some extra days off.

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