2017 Cardinal Approval Ratings: Players

As most of you know, in the month of February I asked for your opinions on various players, media types, and other Cardinal-related things as part of our regular spring project known as the Cardinal Approval Ratings.  In most years, I dole these out in posts throughout the spring, but I know I tend to forget them or run out of time when writing a post, so I thought this year I could do three big posts covering the major sections.  Let’s kick it off with the one everyone is most interested in, the players on the field.

Matt Carpenter

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 3
Prior year number: 86.3%
Average before 2017: 87.2%

Carpenter’s one of the pillars of the team right now and it’s not surprising that he’s always polled fairly high.  I mean, what are you going to complain about, really?  He’s not Albert Pujols?  That’s going to be a high bar for pretty much any player.  Carp’s done a fine job and this year’s mark reflects the consistency we tend to associate with him.

2017 score: Up 0.9% to 87.2%
Highest score: 100
Lowest score: 60
Most common score: 90

Randal Grichuk

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 1
Prior year number: N/A
Average before 2017: N/A

It’s always interesting to see where a first time guy shows up on the list.  Does he have a groundswell of support?  How are people going to view him?  Especially in the case of Grichuk, where the production has been inconsistent but there’s a lot of room for growth.  Do you vote for the now or do you vote for a possible future?  It’s not too surprising to see Grichuk fairly close to what I recommended as a starting baseline with all those uncertainties in the mix.  A strong year, though, and this might shoot up next season.

2017 score: 72.4%
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 40
Most common score: 80

Lance Lynn

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 5
Prior year number: 66.4%
Average before 2017: 75.6%

Lynn’s been up and down the board, as high as 85 two years ago before plummeting last year.  Of course, the last impressions most had of Lynn were of his struggles before we found out that he had to have surgery.  Did absence make the heart grow fonder?  Was Lynn able to bounce back from that floor even while not pitching?  Not so much, though that’s probably to be expected.

2017 score: Up 0.8% to 67.2%
Highest score: 90
Lowest score: 0
Most common score: 75

Carlos Martinez

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 2
Prior year number: 85.4%
Average before 2017: 85.4%

Martinez had a high level to start with last year, but as one of the only reliable pitchers on the staff last season, it seemed unlikely he’d take a hit.  The emerging ace also mixed in some personality, what with his hairstyle, home run splashes, and cup stacking, which only would endear him more to many Cardinal fans.  Martinez rocketed past last year’s score and looks to be one of the high scorers for years to come.

2017 score: Up 5.9% to 91.3%
Highest score: 100
Lowest score: 55
Most common score: 90

Yadier Molina

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 9
Prior year number: 80.7%
Average before 2017: 90.0%

It says something when you can average a 90% over almost a decade, doesn’t it?  Molina is the piece of the core that’s been around the longest and all you have to do is read almost any article about his extension talks to know how Cardinal fans feel about him.  Last year’s mark was the lowest of his career as he had battled injuries in 2015.  With a strong second half in 2016, seeing his score bounce back to where he normally is was not unexpected.

2017 score: Up 6.7% to 87.4%
Highest score: 100
Lowest score: 45
Most common score: 90

Trevor Rosenthal

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 3
Prior year number: 81.8%
Average before 2017: 79.0%

You had to figure this one was going to be ugly after a terrible season for Rosenthal in 2016.  While there were some glimmers of hope at the end and you could put a lot of it on the injury that apparently he was dealing with almost all year long, the simple fact is that when your results are so bad people not only expect you out of the closer role (which happened) but back to Memphis (which didn’t), the ratings next year are going to reflect that.  We’ll see how things look if he has a return to form in 2017.

2017 score: Down 16.7% to 65.1%
Highest score: 85
Lowest score: 20
Most common score: 75

Michael Wacha

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 4
Prior year number: 75.3%
Average before 2017: 78.7%

Wacha’s numbers have matched his on-field career as well, starting off strong the first time he was on the ballot and dropping off drastically after that.  (In fairness, most people on this list have their ratings tied to their production.)  We still don’t know what we’ll see from Wacha in 2017, but after another injury-plagued year, he’s a long, long way from that 87% he started out with in 2014.

2017 score: Down 13.1% to 62.2%
Highest score: 100
Lowest score: 22
Most common score: 70

Adam Wainwright

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 8
Prior year number: 82.2%
Average before 2017: 91.0%

We’ve watched as Wainwright has gone from young gun who temporarily (and memorably) filled a closer role to staff ace to now, perhaps, sliding that title on to the next generation.  Through it all, Wainwright’s typically had good humor and good relations with the fans, which is why his marks have always been fairly high.  With a rough year on the field, though, it was interesting to see where this year’s tally might wind up.  Does the past buoy you up when the present is a little choppy?

2017 score: Down 4.0% to 78.2%
Highest score: 100
Lowest score: 50
Most common score: 80

Kolten Wong

Number of years polled (counting 2017): 1
Prior year number: N/A
Average before 2017: N/A

Here’s our second newbie to the player side of the ratings.  Wong’s a guy that really seems to polarize the fan base.  Either you think he should have produced and kept his spot or you blame the manager for not giving him a fair chance.  If he’s healthy and he gets to play regularly in 2017, there’s a good chance this number will be very different next season.

2017 score: 67.0%
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 25
Most common score: 75

There’s the first third of the ratings.  We’ll take a look at the media next time out.  If you want to see how these guys stack up overall and some past players that aren’t polled any longer, scroll to the bottom of our links page!

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