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: Pete Kozma
Season stats: 76 games, 111 PA, 15 R, 2 RBI, 3 SB, 1 CS, 10 BB, 21 K, .152/.236/.152, 9 OPS+, -0.7 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 1
Overall grade: C-
Positives: Was used noticeably less than in past seasons….only had 40 PA in the second half of the season….hit .273 on a 1-1 count….hit .200 with one out in the inning, which was significantly better than the other two options….hit .286 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Negatives: When you start looking at .200 in the splits as a significant plus, it’s not good….hit .094 when there were two outs in an inning….hit .042 when he played at third base….the month he got the most plate appearances (May, 36) he hit his worst (.086)….Doug Vollet’s OPS+ was less than double digits away from Kozma’s and all Doug did was write during the season….hit .133 in the 18 games he started.
Overview: By now, we know what Kozma is. And while we continue to harangue about why he’s still on the roster and what’s his value, it’s probably worth noting that Matheny eased up on his usage as well, even if it meant wearing out Jhonny Peralta. The hitting wasn’t there (seriously, look through the splits and try to find something even semi-notable) but his glove still played and, until Greg Garcia could make his case, that was the only glove they had that could play short. Now, Garcia came along in the second half and proved he could do that as part of a utility role, so we saw less and less of Kozma, to the point that from September 1 until after the Cardinals clinched, he had eight plate appearances (and hit .286 in that span). He then got eight in Atlanta after the division was won, showing that they just wouldn’t put him out there unless he was a defensive replacement when the games really meant something.
Outlook: Kozma was waived off the 40-man roster after the World Series and many folks rejoiced about the “end of the Kozma era”. While that might be the case, remember that Kozma has gone through this process before. He cleared waivers and went back to the minors, playing there until he was eventually called up and re-added to the 40-man. I don’t know that the Cards would sign him to a minor league deal, but I wouldn’t rule it out. It’s not like a lot of other teams are lining up for his services. This time, though, I’d think it’d be much harder to see a path where he’d get back on the 40-man, so if the worst case scenario is him playing all season in Memphis, that’s doable.