The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season. This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason. More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter. Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.
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Player: Nick Greenwood
Season stats: 2-1, 4.75 ERA, 19 games, 36 IP, 36 H, 5 BB, 17 K, 1.139 WHIP, 78 ERA+
Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 1
Overall grade: B
Positives: Had 10 different scoreless appearances during the season, ranging from 0.2 innings to four innings pitched….in his last nine outings, he had a 3.21 ERA and a .540 OPS against….was tough on lefties, limiting them to a .597 OPS.
Negatives: Had four outings when he gave up three or more runs….gave up five home runs in 36 innings, though two were in Baltimore and one in Colorado….didn’t care for being away from Busch, posting a 5.31 ERA in nine games on the road.
Overview: When Greenwood was brought up, it seemed to be a temporary plug job. The bullpen needed a fresh arm and Greenwood was the easiest guy to put out there. Greenwood’s never been high on any prospect lists and my expectation, at least, would be that he’d probably be back in Memphis in a week or two.
Instead, Greenwood stayed in the bigs all year long and really provided a valuable service to the club. He wasn’t a guy you went to with the game on the line or anything–115 of the 145 plate appearances against him came in low-leverage situations–but he could go out there, give you multiple good innings, and either keep the score from getting worse or give the bullpen some rest.
We talk about innings eaters a lot. Justin Masterson was supposed to be an innings eater, for instance. Others get the label as well, but you then usually have to ask the question, “What good is a guy giving you innings if they are all bad?” I could throw five innings* in a game, but you would be down 75-0 or something and is that really what you want? Greenwood, though, was the epitome of an innings eater this year in the most positive sense. He wasn’t going to get much glory in the role–save getting the nod on the last day of the season when Adam Wainwright was hurriedly scratched–but he did his job and did it well. I can respect that.
*–Assuming batters got tired enough to actually get out, that is.
Outlook: I still expect Greenwood hasn’t seen the last of Memphis, but his work this season gives him a leg up on most anyone for a bullpen role. He may not be the Ferrari in the garage, but he can be the pickup that gets you from point A to point B without breaking down. He’ll see some time under the Arch next year for sure.