Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: Luke Gregerson
Season stats: 0-0, 7.11 ERA, 17 G, 12.2 IP, 14 H, 2 HR, 6 BB, 12 K, 4.74 FIP, 1.579 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, -0.4 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Goat 2
Overall grade: D-
Positives: Was charged with no runs in 11 of his 17 appearances….only allowed one of 10 inherited runners to score….in his first outing, came in with the bases loaded full of Cubs and got a double play to end the threat….lefties hit just .190 against him, though he did walk four of them versus three strikeouts….had a 2.84 ERA at Busch Stadium….had a 4.15 ERA in 4.1 July innings….batters hit .118 when they were ahead in the count….limited batters to a .235 average with runners in scoring position….allowed no hits (but two walks) in seven plate appearances with two outs and runners in scoring position….allowed a .795 OPS in low-leverage situations….pitched four innings in the sixth and allowed no runs and a .214 average….pitched 3.2 innings on zero days’ rest and allowed just one hit and one walk in those situations….had a 0.00 ERA in five games against the Cubs.
Negatives: Spent more time on the disabled list than the active roster….allowed two runs in four appearances, including back-to-back outings in mid-May before heading to the disabled list again….had a 10.13 ERA in four games against the Reds….righties hit him for a .333 average and a .975 OPS….batters had a 1.134 OPS when he was away from St. Louis, which lead to an 11.37 ERA….allowed both of his home runs in May….in four plate appearances facing batters in the leadoff spot in the order, allowed two hits and a walk….batters had a 1.067 OPS when they swung at the first pitch, a 1.200 OPS in the five plate appearances where that ended the at bat….allowed a .313/.421/.688 line when there was nobody out….batters had a 1.283 OPS in late and close situations….opponents hit .333 in eight high leverage PA….had a 19.29 ERA in 2.1 seventh innings….with three days of rest, allowed a 1.654 OPS….had a 9.00 ERA in night games.
Overview: With all the injuries, it’s hard to know if the ugly results are in large part due to that or if that’s age and the like catching up to Gregerson, who will throw his Age 35 season in 2019. You look at those results against lefties, even in a down year, and you wonder if that might not be an option for that lefty-neutralizing role that the Cards have been needing, even if he doesn’t throw with that hand. There are just enough little nuggets in the splits to make you wonder if Gregerson still can’t contribute to this team. It seems unlikely the 2020 option will get exercised, even if this next season is outstanding, but maybe he can still at least make the contract less than a complete disaster.
Outlook: All of that probably relies on a return to health for Gregerson, who had a hamstring strain to start the season, had knee surgery in the middle of it (while he was already on the DL for a shoulder issue) and then the shoulder inflammation ended his season early. There were no plans for surgery this offseason, so if the rest and the rehab work can strengthen that shoulder, I think Gregerson can still provide value to the Cardinals. It feels unlikely that they will cut him this winter and he should be in the bullpen come Opening Day.