For the sixth straight year, we’re taking a look back at everyone that played for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. Whether they were a major contributor or a bit player, here all year or for just a little while, we’ll look at their season and talk about what went right and what went wrong. The stat line listed is just their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers in the discussion may be for the entire year. Imagine this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a little review on their way home for the winter.
Player: Eric Fryer
Season stats: 34 G, 83 PA, 7 R, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 11 BB, 18 K, .155/.277/.197, 29 OPS+, -0.3 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Goat 3
Overall grade: C-
Positives: Got a hit in his final game with the Cardinals…had his best average month in May, when he hit .231….went 2-3 on a 2-1 count….went 1-2 with three walks on a 3-0 count….had a .584 OPS when there were two outs in an inning….hit .273 with two outs and runners in scoring position….hit .333 (3 for 9) when he saw a pitcher for the third time….hit .241 against finesse pitchers.
Negatives: Was 0-10 with three walks against left-handed pitchers….hit .121 at Busch Stadium….had a .470 OPS in the first half…hit .094 in June….had a .419 OPS as a starter….was 1-19 (.053) when there was one out in an inning….with runners in scoring position, hit .158.
Overview: For some reason, folks were pretty excited when the Cards brought Fryer back in the offseason. Sure, he’d done fine as a backup for Yadier Molina in 2016, but it seemed pretty obvious that was a fluke. He’d fallen off when he went to Pittsburgh mid-season and those numbers weren’t anywhere close to his career marks. At least if they brought him back, though, at least Molina would rest more because they had a backup they could trust, right?
Not so much. Molina played basically as much as he always had–Fryer didn’t even get into a game until the fifth one of the season–and Fryer’s bat quickly proved to be a mirage. The Cardinals finally decided to cut bait and let Carson Kelly get the full time backup role in July.
Outlook: Given that nobody seemed to be interested when Fryer was let go, it’s likely that his career is over. It could be that he’ll look to latch on with a minor league contract somewhere in the spring, but it won’t be with St. Louis this time.