There’s been plenty said about how the team missed the playoffs and some vitriol tossed at Mike Matheny and others. Basically what you’d expect when a team comes one game short. I’d rather focus on the positive, though, so here are 3 things from 2016 that made me smile during the season and give me hope for the future.
It seemed like, heading into the season, that Yadier Molina was considered to be done, or at least close to it, by many. The wear and tear of being the most consistent catcher in baseball had caught up to him. After all, in 5 of the 6 seasons leading up to 2016 he’d caught 135 or more games. He’d hit .270 last year, his worst since 2010, and Brayan Pena was signed to help him shoulder the load and get him more rest.
Well, Pena got injured, and Yadi ended up making the most plate appearances of his career and hitting a team-leading .307 while doing so. That was his best batting average since 2013, and the 3rd highest of his 14-year career. He only hit eight homers, but it seemed like at times he carried this team. Plus, while he didn’t hit as many homers as his other teammates, he did whack 38 doubles, the 2nd most of his career. Yadi is definitely not done.
While others got more attention (Diaz, Gyorko, etc) Stephen Piscotty quietly had a very productive first full season in the bigs. He hit .273 with 22 homers, 85 RBI’s and .457 Slugging Percentage. Plus he had a solid .343 OBP. He’ll be 26 next season, with plenty of productive years coming potentially, so this could be the start of something special.
3) The Kids Are Coming.
Aledmys Diaz had a great rookie season out of nowhere, with a slash line of .300/.369./.510. He hit 17 homers as well. If he hadn’t gotten injured near the end of the season, he likely would’ve been the Rookie Of The Year.
Alex Reyes came up late in the season and ended up earning a spot in the rotation. He ended up 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 46 innings. While that’s a small sample size, it gives us a hint of what the 22-year-old may be capable of.
Luke Weaver came up as well, and while he struggled, going 1-4 with a 5.70 ERA in 36 innings, he’s only 23 and did show us some flashes of his potential that gave us hope.
In the end, that’s what we have for next year, hope. Hope that Yadi, Piscotty and the kids, among others, will lead us back to the playoffs next year.
1) Ageless Wonder Ichiro Back For Another Season. Along with Bartolo Colon, Ichiro is one of those gifts that keeps on giving.
As always, thanks for reading.