Cardinals news from a Sabermetric point of view

Cardinals mostly above-average

We apologize for the damning-with-faint-praise headline, which of course understates how good the Cardinal offense is this season (tied for second in the league in wOBA as of this writing). But in view of the All-Average team that the Wall Street Journal released today, topped by erstwhile Cardinal star Albert Pujols, we wanted to emphasize the breadth of the team’s arsenal and not necessarily its depth.

Pujols is perhaps fitting as an ironic member of the team, since it is his absence from the Cardinal lineup that has in some respects made their wide-ranging above-averageness possible. After all, it’s hard to fathom that Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina, three of the most superlative of the team’s batsmen, would simultaneously co-exist in St. Louis if Pujols were still around, to say nothing of his replacement, Allen Craig, or of Adam Wainwright on the pitching side of the house.

We noted earlier in the year that the Cardinals have a more effective plan than the “stars and scrubs” approach taken by many sub-$150 million payroll clubs. They have above-average offensive players at seven of their eight regular positions. Measuring their percentage above league average at each position:

Pos Player OBP SLG NL OBP NL SLG OBP+ SLG+
C Yadier Molina .371 .488 .315 .394 118 124
1B Allen Craig .367 .448 .333 .419 110 107
2B Matt Carpenter .383 .476 .311 .376 123 127
3B David Freese .343 .380 .314 .384 109 99
SS Pete Kozma .273 .281 .309 .370 88 76
LF Matt Holliday .369 .455 .321 .403 115 113
CF Jon Jay .345 .376 .322 .390 107 96
RF Carlos Beltran .337 .507 .331 .431 102 118

But that’s not all. The club’s top three bench players — Matt Adams, Shane Robinson and Daniel Descalso — have all been above-average at their respective positions, too:

Pos Player OBP SLG NL OBP NL SLG OBP+ SLG+
1B Matt Adams .337 .476 .333 .419 101 114
CF Shane Robinson .379 .366 .322 .390 118 94
SS Daniel Descalso .310 .403 .309 .370 100 109

Talk about a deep team. They may not grab headlines like some teams do with their super-stars. But the Cardinals are finding that when nearly everybody is above-average, the team is what turns out to be super.

2 Responses to “Cardinals mostly above-average”

  1. Brandon Says:

    This is why I don’t understand the criticism of the STL bench……not sure those who are unhappy have looked around the league lately. Adams/Robinson/Descalso/Cruz is really very good. Would love to have a RH hammer on the bench, but talk about first world problems.

  2. delinquieses Says:

    delinquieses

    Fungoes » Blog Archive » Cardinals mostly above-average

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