As is tradition around these parts after the season is over, we’re taking a look at every player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. That’ll range from someone that didn’t record an out to someone that played almost every inning. Treat it like they are stopping by the manager’s office (umm, also imagine this was before the managerial change) on their way home for the winter for a performance review. Stats listed are ones generated during their time with the Cards and the grade is based not only on their performance but on the expectations for them going into the season. As he has the past few years, the legend that is cardinalsgifs has provided our excellent header image!
Player: Genesis Cabrera
Season stats: 4-5, 3 SVO, 3.73 ERA, 71 G, 70.0 IP, 52 H, 3 HR, 36 BB, 77 K, 44 inherited runners, 17 inherited runners scored, 3.28 FIP, 1.257 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, 0.1 bWAR, 1.1 fWAR
Statcast: .293 xwOBA, 5.6 barrel %, 88.3 exit velocity, 34.8 hard hit %, 26.0 K%, 12.2 BB%
Best Statcast category: Fastball Velocity (97th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Chase Rate (9th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Goat 7
Positives: Had significant reverse splits, limiting right-handers to a .550 OPS and just two home runs….was dominant at home, keeping batters to a .476 OPS at Busch Stadium….finished the year with .279 OPS over the last 28 days….had a 2.12 ERA in the home whites (or creams)….was tougher on batters in the second half, with a .532 OPS and a 1.034 WHIP….had his best month in September, allowing just a .449 OPS and no home runs….had an under 2.00 ERA in May and September….was able to put people away with two strikes, putting up a .139/.206/.199 slash line….did his best work with nobody on base, fashioning a .477 OPS against in those situations….batters hit .227 against him in late and close situations….was best when the game was out of dangers, allowing a .461 OPS in games that were greater than four runs in differential….was solid in low and medium leverage situations, giving up a sub-.600 in both situations….was very good in the eighth inning, putting up a nice 0.69 ERA and a .170 batting average against in 13 such innings….was actually better in the few times he went deep, giving up two hits in 13 at bats after 25 pitches….in nine games with three days’ rest, he had a 2.45 ERA….the Cubs hit just .154 with no home runs against him….had a 3.16 ERA in the day time but batters actually hit worse against him at night….had the lowest barrel percentage of his career….batters had an expected batting average of .181 against his fastball.
Negatives: Had significant issues with his nails throughout the season, which would force him from games early or cause a disastrous outing….his season was skewed by being charged with six runs while getting nobody out in an August game against the Pirates….ended his season by walking three Cubs and being charged with two runs in 2/3rds of an inning….lefthanders wound up getting to him for a .757 OPS, two hundred points better than righties….had a 5.25 ERA on the road while allowing a 1.556 WHIP….had an ERA over 7 for both July and August….gave up 15 earned runs in 2.1 innings in his five losses….third place hitters posted a .938 OPS….batters hit .429 with a 1.214 OPS on his first pitch….when there were zero strikes in the counts, the slash line was .404/.517/.617….he walked the first batter nine of 71 times….hitters had a .865 OPS with runners in scoring position….the OPS was .833 with two outs and RISP….batters hit .270 in high leverage situations….he pitched the seventh the most but had a 6.10 ERA in 31 innings, worst of any frame….had a 6.32 ERA with no days’ rest….the Pirates got him to a .737 OPS.
Overview: Trying to know which Cabrera was going to show up on a given day was not quite as random as a coin flip but it felt like it at times. Just when he would put together a good stretch of games, he’d completely blow up. For instance, he walked only one batter the entire month of August, then walked two in less than an inning in his second September game. Some of the issues really did tie back to those nails, especially that game against the Pirates, and the club finally outfitted him with an artificial one at the end of the season. Hopefully they’ll start with that next season. He make some strides in his command but it still wasn’t without its flaws and it’s not entirely related to that issue.
When Cabrera was on, though, he was quite the weapon, which is why he wound up being in Mike Shildt’s Big Three. In 15 of his outings he went over an inning (six times he went a full two) which meant he was well away from a LOOGY even if those things existed anymore. (Plus there’s the whole trouble getting lefties out, which goes against the point of a LOOGY.) By my count roughly 40% of the time he didn’t allow a hit or a walk in his outings, which given the state of the bullpen early on was a nice thing to see. If Cabrera ever had some consistency, there could be sighs of relief when he comes into the game rather than a little bit of trepidation trying to figure out which Cabrera it was today.
Outlook: Cabrera’s not yet eligible for arbitration, so he’ll be providing quality bullpen innings at a league minimum (or in that range) price again next year. If the nail issue is solved and the command is improved, we might see him more in the eighth inning and the occasional ninth, depending on Oli Marmol’s bullpen philosophy.