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: Rangel Ravelo
Season stats: 29 G, 43 PA, 4 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 12 K, .205/.256/.410, 71 OPS+, -0.1 bWAR
Statcast: 10.7% barrel %, 93.8 exit velocity, 50.0% hard hit %, .351 xwOBA
Overall grade: C
Positives: Made his major league debut June 17 with a pinch hit appearance against the Marlins….picked up his first major league hit two days later, also against Miami….had a .705 OPS against righthanders, whom he hit both of his homers off of….hit .333 with a 1.011 OPS at home….had a .749 OPS in the second half….put up an .854 OPS in September….hit .250 with a home run as a pinch-hitter….was 2-5 leading off an inning….was 2-4 with two doubles when hitting the first pitch….that helped lead to a 1.083 OPS when the count was even….had a .925 OPS when there was nobody out….posted a .333/.333/1.333 line with two outs and runners in scoring position (1-3 with a HR)….in six high leverage at bats, had a 1.100 OPS….was 3-7 with a double in the seventh inning….hit .250 against starting pitchers….was 3-10 with a homer against power pitchers….went 2-5 with a double against the Cubs….hit .299 with 12 homers at Memphis.
Negatives: Though he built up some consideration, was left off the roster for both rounds of the playoffs….only started five games in the majors….was 1-6 against lefties….hit .095 on the road, though he got three starts there….hit .125 in the first half (18 AB)….had a .506 OPS when playing first base….hit .182 when ahead in the count, .125 when behind….put up a .458 OPS with one out….was 1-6 in late and close situations….had a .491 OPS in low leverage situations….hit .133 in the late innings….hit .174 against relievers.
Overview: You always have to root for the guys that make the major leagues after spending a long time wandering in the minor league wilderness. Ravelo was drafted in 2010 and had been with the White Sox and Oakland before signing with the Cards at the beginning of 2017. He’d been close but never quite made that final step until he came up when Yairo Munoz went on paternity leave. Once he made the 40-man roster, it made it easier for the club to bring him up and they did a couple of times before he returned in September and got a long look as a pinch hitter.
You can see in the limited Statcast numbers why the club was thinking of him as a bench option. He hit the ball hard and was able to barrel it fairly regularly. While the final numbers might not have showed it, there were enough underlying signs to make Ravelo an intriguing option. The club went a different way for the postseason but given the lack of offense, you could make a case that perhaps they should have brought him along for some late game possibilities.
Outlook: Ravelo could be like Jose Martinez, a minor league lifer that gets his foot in the door and won’t move it. (Maybe Primos should be looking to partner up with him!) He’s still got options and the bat is solid enough that the Cards aren’t likely to cut him off the 40-man this winter without some move forcing their hand. With Paul Goldschmidt playing 150 games or so and Matt Carpenter a possibility at first as well, Ravelo’s usage might be limited if he’s not in Memphis, but it’ll be interesting to see him in the spring and try to decide just how much power he can get out of his bat at the big league level.