For the fifth 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.
This year’s Exit Interview series is “being brought to you by” some of the various Cardinal podcasts that are out there for your listening pleasure. Our focus this time is Talking About Birds, the only Cardinal podcast that….well, whatever Nate wants to make up this week. Nate and Ben break down the week that was with humor and insight. Plus they have me on sometimes, which I enjoy. Find them on iTunes or check out their site!
Player: Miguel Socolovich
Season stats: 1-0, 2.00 ERA, 15 games, 18 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 16 K, 0.556 WHIP, 3.65 FIP, 0.5 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 1
Overall grade: B+
Positives: During the midst of a rough patch, was possibly the second-most reliable reliever behind Seung-hwan Oh….gave up no runs in his last 8.1 innings, all in September….limited batters to a .086 BAA….that number was even lower at Busch (.036)….when batters took the first pitch, they hit .048….limited hitters to a .364 OPS on the first pitch….the first batter he faced in a game had a .277 OPS….allowed no hits in 14 PA with runners in scoring position (two walks and a sac fly)….in 21 PA with runners on, batters had a .095 OPS….only had three high-leverage PA, but all three ended in a strikeout….threw 3.2 hitless innings against the Cubs….had a 3.14 ERA with five saves in Memphis.
Negatives: Three of the four runs he allowed in the majors came in back-to-back outings to open September….gave up two runs in four innings against the Pirates….had a 3.86 ERA during day games….had a 4.50 ERA when throwing to Carson Kelly (four innings)….had a 3.00 ERA on the road….only got 18 innings in the majors, which just seems wrong.
Overview: Given some of the bullpen issues the Cardinals had this year, it’s a little surprising that Socolovich didn’t come up until July 21 and didn’t come up to stay until August 28. Soco didn’t have a lot of opportunities, of course, and all the above numbers are basically the essence of a small sample size, but it’s not like his 2015 wasn’t a point in his favor. He threw almost 30 innings with a sub-2 ERA then, so you’d have expected the club to jump at getting him to the big leagues a little faster than they did. I would assume some of the internal metrics point out some flaws in his game, but really he should have been getting at least as much of a look as Sam Tuivailala was. Socolovich did turn 30 during the season, but he still seems to be a pretty strong bullpen asset.
Outlook: Socolovich is still on the 40-man, at least as of right now, and so should come to camp with the chance to make the bullpen, though it’s looking like it’s going to be an awfully full reliever corps again this coming year. Still, with two good runs through MLB, he should be able to get a bit of an edge on some folks, especially if he has a strong spring in Jupiter.