Exit Interview 2021: Scott Hurst

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: Scott Hurst

Season stats: 7 G, 5 PA, 1 K, .000/.000/.000, -100 OPS+, -0.1 bWAR, -0.1 fWAR

Statcast: .147 xwOBA, 0.0 barrel %, 82.4 exit velocity, 0.0 hard hit %, 20.0 K %, 0.0 BB %

Best Statcast category: Max Exit Velocity (9th percentile)

Worst Statcast category: None

Hero/Goat: None

Grade: C

Positives: Made his major league debut, even if he still is looking for his first major league hit….played good defense, coming in as a defensive replacement in his last four games….hit .304 for Memphis in September….much better against lefties at AAA, hitting .257 against them….hit .250 with runners in scoring position for the Redbirds….hit .368 in the fourth inning in the minors….had a .950 OPS when ahead in the count for Memphis.

Negatives: No hits in the majors and wasn’t necessarily close to one either….came up when the organization soured on Lane Thomas early in the season….was waived off the 40-man in August when Jack Flaherty returned from the 60-day IL, but cleared waivers and stayed at Memphis….struggled at Triple-A with the bat as well, slashing .203/.291/.592….hit under .200 in June, July, and August for Memphis….hit .143 in the ninth inning for the Redbirds….had a .487 leading off in AAA….put up a .457 OPS when behind in the count.

Overview: The Cardinals had a couple of roster moves this season that seemed more about punishing a current player than rewarding a minor leaguer or filling an actual need.  Hurst wasn’t even on the 40-man roster when the season began, but when Thomas scuffled and had some defensive issues, the front office pushed him out and added Hurst.  They quickly realized that probably wasn’t going to be a good move and he was demoted less than two weeks after he was promoted, never to return.  As noted, he didn’t really do much at Memphis to force the club’s hand.  It’s fair to note that Hurst, like all minor leaguers, was coming off a missed 2020 season and was up a level from his last stop, which was Springfield in 2019.  So some struggles were to be expected and, like many minor leaguers, it took time to get their head above water.  For Hurst, you hope that the September success is a step in the right direction and perhaps something for him to build on in 2022.

Outlook: Of course, Hurst was never known as a bat and his path to the bigs was always based on his glove.  Given the defensive capabilities of the current outfield, with two Gold Glovers and a man in Dylan Carlson that could be in that conversation, it doesn’t really leave much of a chance for him to bring his best asset to bear.  Even though he was the first pick the Cardinals made in 2017 (after losing the picks for the first two rounds in the Chris Correa thing), he’s never been a huge prospect.  Perhaps a strong 2022 will get him back into the conversation but there’s a strong chance he’s just an organizational piece that will serve his six years and then become a minor league free agent.

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