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.
If we’re talking about 2019, we’ve got to highlight the brand that made the most impact this season: Primos and their partnership with Jose Martinez. Throughout the span of these interviews (today through Dec. 5) you can get 10% off your order of that sweet, sweet Cafecito coffee (well, I guess you probably have to doctor it to make it sweet) or anything else at their site. My wife is a coffee snob and we’ve bought multiple bags of the medium roast. It’s a great stocking stuff or Christmas gift as well, especially when you expand your order to pick up the Jose Martinez coffee mug. So use code C70SAVE10 at checkout and show your support of their ties to the Cardinal fanbase!
Player: Randy Arozarena
Season stats: 19 G, 23 PA, 4 R, 6 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, 1 CS, 2 BB, 4 K, .300/.391/.500, 133 OPS+, 0.3 bWAR
Statcast: 6.3% barrel %, 90.7 exit velocity, 37.5% hard hit %, .335 xwOBA
Hero/Goat: Hero 1
Overall grade: B
Positives: Showed why he has captured some imaginations with his game in Arizona in the last week, where he hit a home run, stole home (which was eventually changed to advancing on an error), and threw out a baserunner….went 1-3 with a double in four plate appearances against left-handers in the big leagues….16 of his 23 plate appearances came on the road, where he had a .908 OPS….hit .308 in the four games he started….hit .358 with a 1.028 OPS at Memphis….had a 1.003 OPS between Memphis and Springfield….was a perfect 4-4 with a runner on third in AAA….hit .424 with a 1.169 OPS leading off for the Redbirds….made the postseason roster even with limited exposure.
Negatives: Went 0-4 with three strikeouts in the postseason and failed to run out a dropped third strike….was 1-8 with runners on base….hit .219 at Memphis when he was behind in the count….had a .536 OPS at AAA with the bases loaded (4 AB)….hit .291 on the road for the Redbirds, which was 128 points lower than he hit at AutoZone Park….hit no home runs in Memphis when he was behind in the count.
Overview: If you’ve listened to Kyle Reis talk about RAAAAAAANNNNDDDY, you know that Arozarena plays baseball constantly, in large part to provide for his family. He’s gone from a regular minor league season to fall ball to the minors to fall ball, rarely getting more than a couple of weeks off. So when he fractured his hand in the spring, there was some thought that the rest would do him good. It truly seems to have, as Arozarena put up remarkable numbers at Memphis and, in his limited time in St. Louis, showed that he belonged there as well.
Mike Shildt in August, after Arozerana was called up, stated they didn’t really know what they had in him, which led to his demotion before the end of the month even though he only had a total of eight at bats. He returned after rosters expanded but only got two starts the entire month. The staff must have been impressed with him somewhat to take him in the postseason, even though they didn’t use him for more than pinch-hitting duties.
Outlook: There’s always the inclination to go for the new shiny thing. However, Arozarena has been strong throughout his professional career and seems ready to take the next step, though it wouldn’t be a complete tragedy if he started at Memphis again next year. When you see his numbers and his skill set (his OBP was .435 in Memphis last year), you can really dream on him being a leadoff hitter that would really spark the Cardinals. It’s unlikely that will happen in 2020, at least on the regular, and if he is on the major league roster next year it is probably as a fourth outfielder. Hopefully, if so, he’ll get more than two starts a month.