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: Andrew Knizner
Season stats: 63 G, 185 PA, 18 R, 7 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 20 BB, 39 K, .174/.281/.236, 47 OPS+, -0.2 bWAR, -1.0 fWAR
Statcast: .274 xwOBA, 4.1 barrel %, 87.5 exit velocity, 36.9 hard hit %, 21.1 K %, 10.8 BB %
Best Statcast category: Max Exit Velocity (54th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Framing (3rd percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 2, Goat 3
Positives: For the first time spent the entire season in the big leagues….in fact, was one of the few players not to miss roster time at all….had five multi-hit games on the season….was better against righties, putting up a .608 OPS….hit .303 with three doubles in April….had his most starts and plate appearances in September….went 2-8 with two RBI as a pinch-hitter….hit .500 (1-2) hitting fourth….hit .214 on the first pitch….had a .771 OPS when he was ahead in the count….posted a .603 OPS with nobody out….was 1-2 with two RBI in extra innings….slashed .265/.357/.408 against power pitchers….hit .300 (3-10) against the Dodgers.
Negatives: Went eight days without an appearance in June….hit .089 against left-handers….got more regular playing time in the second half but had a lower batting average, even though his OPS was higher….hit .111 with a .311 OPS in June….hit .160 batting eighth, his most regular spot in the lineup….had a .444 OPS with two outs….put up .475 OPS with runners in scoring position….was 0-10 (with seven walks) with two outs and RISP…had a .435 OPS in high leverage situations….hit .115 in the seventh inning….mustered a .443 OPS against relievers….finesse pitchers held him to a .351 OPS….went 0-10 against the Cubs and 4-20 against the Brewers.
Overview: It feels like we still don’t know what the Cardinals have in Knizner. His minor league offensive numbers are much more pleasing than what we’ve seen at the big league level, but he’s also had few opportunities to get into a rhythm. He played in 14 games and made 13 starts from April 21 to May 7 and hit .196/.245/.261. Not great, but better than his season numbers. From the beginning of August through the rest of the year, he regularly got to play in one game of each series but those numbers weren’t outstanding (.145/.232/.210). I do like the fact that he was able to hit power pitchers, for the most part. Perhaps just getting more chances to see major league moving stuff will help him. Or it could be that he’s never going to be able to really break out until he’s the one leading the charge.
Outlook: Yadier Molina is back for one more year but it will be interesting to see if Oli Marmol continues the more regular usage of Knizner or perhaps even increases it. An improvement upon 2021 for Knizner could put him in a prime spot to be the starting catcher in 2023. If he stumbles and Ivan Herrera keeps raking, that 2023 spot might be up for grabs.