Exit Interview: Matt Holliday

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.   Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Matt Holliday

Season stats: 73 games, 277 PA, 24 R, 16 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 2 SB, 1 CS, 39 BB, 49 K, .279/.394/.410, 120 OPS+, 0.8 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 5, Goat 5

Overall grade: C

Positives: Was hitting .303/.417/.421 when he went down with his quad injury for the first time….was able to come back twice from injuries, though was not terribly effective either time….hit .292 against right-handers….hit .283 with nobody out and .333 with one out….hit .408 and all four of his home runs with runners in scoring position.

Negatives: Kept the Star Wars Night curse alive by reinjuring his quad in his first at-bat….hit a combined .196/.305/.373 after his first injury, with just one of the home runs coming in that span….was 0-4 (with a HBP) as a pinch-hitter….hit just .229 leading off an inning….hit .220 and slugged .317 with two outs….hit just .191 in low-leverage situations….had only a .671 OPS in day games.

Overview: Age comes for us all (if we’re lucky) and while Holliday didn’t necessarily incur his injuries because he was advancing in baseball years, that (and the slower healing that comes with it) surely didn’t help.  This was the first time that Holliday had played less than 120 games in his career, but now it’s hard to imagine him not being hitting the under on that a bit more often going forward.  It was a struggle to watch him try to rehab in the major leagues, both in July and in September, and the fact that Matheny couldn’t figure out a lineup that didn’t have him batting third surely didn’t help.  Still, there’s some hope going forward–Holliday still had seven extra-base hits in the 21 games he played after the initial injury, showing that while he may not be the stud player he was early in his contract, he’s not necessarily going to be an albatross at the end of it.

Outlook: It would seem that Holliday still has a solid chance at a gradual decline instead of dropping off a cliff.  He will probably get more days off and will likely settle into a .270/15 HR range with the bat.  With players like Stephen Piscotty and Tommy Pham around to help take a load off, hopefully Matheny will give him that rest.  We also hope that Matheny can spend the winter practicing writing his name lower in the order, at least until the Cardinals can see what he is going to give them, but that might be a bridge too far.

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