Good Morning folks, hope everyone is having a good Wednesday.
I was perusing Bernie’s column today when I came across a disturbing paragraph:
“For the STL offense, that makes 50 stranded runners and a .220 batting average with runners in scoring position through the first six games. Minus their seven-run eruption Sunday in Cincinnati, the Cardinals scored 15 runs in the other five games. They’re batting .241 overall, with a meager .349 slugging percentage.”
It could be a slow start, but the pessimist in me thinks back to last year. The Cards, at 3.82 runs per game, which was below the 3.95 league average in 2014 , were tied in that eighth spot with the glorious offense of the Phillies.
Our slugging percentage was 10th in the league at .369, and our overall OPS of .689 was eighth and below the National League average of .694. Compare that to the Pirates, who had a .404 slugging percentage and a .734 overall OPS.
Now you might say “but Doug, our pitching is better than the Pirates pitching and we don’t need a super offense to win!” That may be true, but it’d be nice to ease the pressure on our staff, don’t you think? Plus, if a starter gets injured, it’d help to have an above average offense to rely on in that situation, like the Pirates do.
Now we had several players last year who improved in the second half of the season. Key among them was Kolten Wong. After a brief excursion to the minors, he returned and performed well, providing unexpected pop in his bat he’d never shown before. If our offense is to improve from last years showing, he needs to continue his progress.
So far (and yes, I know it’s a small sample size) Wong is hitting .278 with a .417 OBP. If he can keep that OBP relatively high, say in the .340 to .350 range, it would be a drastic improvement over last yers .292 OBP. Heck, of he managed a .320 OBP, I’d still be happy, because that’d be a sign of progress, and something he could build off of for next year. Plus if that pop he showed at the end of last season sticks around, combined with the base stealing ability he already demonstrated he’d be a dangerous offensive player all around.Wong continuing last year’s surge lengthens our lineup and makes it more dangerous, and will help us overcome this slow start.
Just some food for thought.
As always, thanks for reading.