Exit Interview 2020: Tommy Edman

After every season (dating back to 2012), we’ve spent time looking at every player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals that season.  They might have gotten a couple of innings, they might have played every day, but if they played, they get a post.  Usually, I like to term this like the players are packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter.  This year, of course, was anything but typical.  So we’ll look at every player, we’ll take in some of their stats, but we won’t be giving out grades this season or delving too much into the positive/negative.  There are just too many variables in the Year of COVID for that to be reasonable.  As he has for the past few years, cardinalsgifs has lent his enormous talents to our header image and we thank him for it!

Player: Tommy Edman

Season stats: 55 games, 227 PA, 29 R, 51 H, 7 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 2 SB, 4 CS, 16 BB, 48 K, .250/.317/.368, 87 OPS+, 0.8 bWAR

Postseason stats: 2 R, 3 K, .214/.214/.214

Statcast: .346 xwOBA, 3.8% barrel %, 86.5 exit velocity, 33.5% hard hit %

Best Statcast category: Sprint Speed (95th percentile)

Worst Statcast category: Exit Velocity, Barrel % (15th percentile)

Hero/Goat: Hero 6, Goat 3


Overview: Edman once again was the versatile tool that Mike Shildt was going to use one way or another.  Edman logged some time at second, short, third, right, and left, though his bat wasn’t necessarily that strong at any of them.  (Except left–25 PA, .400 BA and 1.000 OPS.  Just what the outfield needs, another complication.)  There’s no doubt that Edman provided value to the club.  He was fourth on the team in home runs, ahead of people like Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong.  He was tied for fourth in batting average, not trailing Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong by much.  He was a solid contributor to the cause, no doubt.

However, did he need to lead the team in at bats?  Maybe that’s a function of the slumping of Carpenter and the DH option for Brad Miller.  He did play third base more than anywhere else, after all.  It could be, if Carpenter had had that bounce back season that we thought he might have, Edman would have been more of the Jose Oquendo of the team.  There were only three seasons (88-90) that the Secret Weapon got 500 plate appearances.  Sometimes the best use of a player is judiciously.

The fact that Edman has to play so much because he’s honestly one of the better players on the team is a credit to Edman and what he can get out of his talent set, of course, but it is much more of an indictment on the way this team is constructed.  The fact that Tommy Edman is one of your players tells you that you need to get better players.  Edman is a complementary guy, a dash of salt or seasoning to an already tasty dish.  Or maybe it’s more like he’s a side dish that has been suddenly thrust into the main course.  Cranberry sauce is great and all, but if that’s the focus of Thanksgiving, you are having a lousy holiday.

Outlook: Given all the financial repercussions, it is very unlikely we’ll see any addition to this roster significant enough to displace Edman into that super sub role.  Since I initially wrote this, the Cardinals have surprisingly declined Wong’s option, which means most likely Edman will be starting at second all year long, seemingly giving third to Carpenter.  While that’s not exactly a death knell for the 2021 Cardinals, it’s not the most hopeful omen either.

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