Four thoughts (forethoughts)

Like many, I don’t have the time to devote to blogging that I once did.  I wish I could spend more time writing about my beloved game, team, and my opinions of both, but alas it just isn’t in the cards right now.  As such, my monthly blog posts here at CardsConclave will likely often feature a handful of small bursts on topics.  Nothing overly in-depth, but a few highlights of ideas, and just enough opinion to (hopefully) intrigue you a bit.  This month, I’ve got 4 topics I’m covering.  Hope you enjoy!


Jon Jay: Professional baseball player

Sometimes I apologize to my kids.  Not in the “I’m sorry, but you have to eat all your meat, or you can’t have any pudding” kind of way.  I mean, like, genuine apology…when I feel they deserve one.  See, sometimes as a parent, I let the stress of everyday life, work, school, etc impair my judgement, and I act unfairly towards my kids.  You know, get on their case about something that’s really not important…like I just need something to gripe about?  THAT’S when I apologize to them, just like I would to any person.  When I’m wrong, I try to own up, and apologize for it.  (most of the time, anyway)


With that, I’d like to say I was wrong.  And have been wrong, especially lately.  Though I maintain that he’s still prone to taking bad routes to balls, Jon Jay is becoming such a big part of keeping this Cardinals team alive and in the race right now, and I can no longer not like him.


Do I prefer PB to Jay, defensively in Center?  Yes.

Does this club need offense in the worst way, justifying more starts for Jay?  Yes.

Do I peel the crust off a PB & J sandwich like I’m 5?  No.


I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but I hope it sticks through the last game of the season.


Jay came out of the All-Star break batting .291, with an on-base clip of .349, and a .723 OPS.  Since then, he’s played in 28 games, usually starting in CF, and has been more of a presence at the plate.  Only once in his last 20 games has he failed to get a hit (8.22 @ PHI), but he did pick up a RBI in that game, so it wasn’t a completely unproductive day at the dish.  As I write this tonight, WELL after a win over the Pirates in the series opener (haven’t been able to say THAT in a while!), Jay has raised his offensive numbers since the break, as we head into the stretch.  His average now stands at a healthy .312, his on-base mark is a very nice .384, and he’s boosted his OPS more than 50 points to .785.


Keep up the good work, sir.  I’m happy to eat crow if I can do so while watching my favorite team play in October.

Rosenthal: Too much, too soon = too little, too late?


I’m gonna go all “stat guy” on you here for a minute.  I try not to over-do it when it comes to presenting statistics and/or metrics.  God knows there are a zillion ways to present a zillion different stat lines, to prove just about any kind of point you want to prove.  As I’ve said for years, “Numbers never lie…but they don’t always tell the whole story.”.


I’m of the opinion that any Cardinals fan who isn’t concerned about the back end of the bullpen simply isn’t paying attention.  Rosenthal is gassed (Gast?), and I sure hope MM & DL have a backup plan for if/when Rosey simply breaks down.  More than that, I hope MM is willing to stray ever-so-slightly from his loyalty, and use someone else to close, should it come to that…and, personally, I think it will.


Many Cardinals fans share the belief that Rosenthal is being overworked this season.  That, natually, leads to a concern that he won’t have enough gas in the tank come playoff push and/or postseason, and will basically turn into Byung-Hyun Kim. (co-starring Mike Matheny as Bob Brenly)


But just how concerned should we all be?  I mean, is it really all that serious?


My take:  Find that panic button and DANCE on it!!


(Supporting statistics in 3…2…1…)


I took a look at all the closers across baseball this season, and narrowed it down to guys who had at least 25 save opportunities this season.  We know that there have been really, really hot closers, and others who have gone (or always been) really, really cold.  Guys like Koji Uehara, Sergio Romo, and Joe Nathan to name a few.  Among those with at least 25 save opportunities this season, here’s how Trevor Rosenthal stacks up:


  • 1.43 – Worst WHIP
  • 6 – Most losses
  • 60 – Most innings pitched
  • 61 – Most games
  • 1 win (only Chapman-CIN, and Kimbrel-ATL have 0, all others have at least 1)
  • 1,092 – Most pitches (2nd place is K-Rod with nearly 200 fewer, 903)
  • 18.20 – Most pitches per inning pitched in NL (trails only Joe Nathan, DET, with 18.57)
  • 5.40 – Highest BB/9 in MLB (Joe Nathan, DET, is 2nd overall with 4.79)
  • 36 – Most BB (2nd place is, you guessed it, Joe Nathan, DET, with 25)


Pretty ugly, no?  If that doesn’t scare you, it should.


Listen, my point is not fully to demonstrate just how bad Trevor Rosenthal is–I don’t believe that.  When I see him come into a game lately, I generally question Matheny’s decision to use him more than I question Rosey’s ability to get guys out.  I think he’s got the “stuff”, I just don’t know how much gas is left in the tank, and I’m concerned because finding out in mid-Septemeber that you need a closer isn’t good, to put it lightly.


Matt Holliday: Aging, and is losing power every time that foot doesn’t get down.


Holliday has been somewhat of a disappointment this season, offensively speaking (which, I guess, kind of goes without saying–we didn’t sign him for his glove).  One thing I’ve noticed about Holliday’s at-bats lately is that he seems to have an extraordinarily hard time reaching outside pitches, like a good slider.  The difference this year (and I’ve done exactly zero research, this is all gut/speculation) seems to be that he’s having a devil of a time squaring up just about every other pitch in any pitcher’s arsenal.


The timing just doesn’t seem to be there.  I’m no Mabry, but next time you’re watching the game, tell me if you don’t think that getting that front foot down a little sooner might help solve some of the issues of getting around on pitches, and keeping the barrel in the zone to get good wood on the ball.  He’s still among the strongest players in the game, but the power numbers just aren’t  there, which narrows the possible reasons considerably.  I’m not sure his leg-kick is any different than it was 5 or 6 years ago, and at age 34, maybe it’s time to take a look at that.


Randal Grichuk: Don’t look now…


Not that a guy making $17MM+ per year is in danger of losing a roster spot anytime soon (at least, not as a Cardinal.  As a Dodger?  Maybe a different story), but if you’ve not noticed his performance lately, let me just brag on Mr. Randal Grichuk for a moment.  Keeping in mind, he’s on a very good Memphis team that may very well be headed to the postseason (yet again), his numbers, particularly those of the power variety, are enough to make one take note.


The good news, as an overall Cardinals fan, is that, while he’s doing quite well compared to the rest of the league, there are multiple categories where he isn’t even the top hitter for that category on his team.  Scruggs & Piscotty are rather formidable, make no mistake…and the PCL rankings show it.  Mr. Grichuk, however, does rank in the top 25 of Pacific Coast League batters in the following (mostly power) categories:


  • 25 Bombs (6th)
  • 73 Runs scored (11th)
  • 71 Ribs (23rd)
  • .493 SLG (18th)
  • 215 Total Bases (13th)


Just a little food for thought.  As always, comments are welcome and you can always follow me on twitter: @Dathan7

  • Dan Buffa August 26, 2014, 9:59 am

    Nice piece Dathan. Especially The Holliday part. Interesting.

  • VanHicklestein August 26, 2014, 10:12 am

    108 Strikeouts (20th)
    28 Walks (18th fewest, among qualified batters)

    Grichuk has asserted what he can do to a baseball. It’s just that he has a highly disturbing inability to identify what pitch he’s getting. With the gap between AAA and the majors higher than ever, I wouldn’t expect Grichuk’s current skill-set to play in the majors.

    Give me Tommy Pham.

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