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: Johan Oviedo
Season stats: 0-5, 4.91 ERA, 14 G, 62.1 IP, 61 H, 8 HR, 37 BB, 51 K, 5.27 FIP, 1.572 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, -0.6 bWAR, -0.1 fWAR
Statcast: .363 xwOBA, 7.7 barrel %, 87.7 exit velocity, 35.6 hard hit %, 17.7 K %, 12.8 BB %
Best Statcast category: Fastball Velocity (76th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: xwOBA, xERA (6th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 3, Goat 6
Positives: Came oh-so-close to his first major league win on July 20, allowing one run in five but seeing the bullpen blow a 6-1 lead in the ninth….threw seven scoreless innings against the Marlins June 16 only to get no runs in support….had five games of five or more strikeouts….right-handers hit .229 with a .710 OPS….gave up a .641 OPS at Busch Stadium….walked a batter every three innings at home versus almost one a frame on the road….had a 3.63 ERA and batters hit .232 in his nine no-decisions….had a 4.12 ERA when receiving six or more runs of support….third place hitters had a .601 OPS against him….batters had a .692 OPS if they swung at the first pitch….hitters slashed .172/.226/.207 on the first pitch….limited batters to an OPS under .600 if he was even or ahead in the count….did not allow a hit to a pitcher all year (0-20)….was best in low leverage (.596 OPS against) but held his own in high leverage situations (.712 OPS against)….dominated the third inning as he allowed a .098/.245/.195 line in 13 such innings….batters hit .214 the first time around….had 4.2 scoreless innings against the Brewers.
Negatives: Walks, walks, walks….had two different games where he walked six batters in less than five innings….walked four or more in five of his 13 starts….walked more lefties (23) than he struck out (20)….had a 5.97 ERA on the road….in three May starts had a 7.84 ERA….in his five losses he had 16 walks….allowed an .868 OPS when receiving three to five runs of support….eighth place hitters had a 1.122 OPS against him….hitters slashed .388/.610/.701 if they were ahead in the count….twenty of his walks came with nobody out….gave up a .900 OPS with runners in scoring position….that went up to 1.055 with two outs and RISP, including three homers….batters had a 1.374 OPS against him in the fifth inning….if he reached 76 or more pitches, a 1.252 OPS against….was 1-6 with a 6.13 ERA at Memphis….was ejected from a September Redbirds game due to a potential foreign substance on his glove and apparently suspended, though he pitched one more time before the end of the minor league season.
Overview: Oviedo just finished his Age 23 year and spent much of it yo-yoing from the majors to Memphis. As such, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions except that there’s obviously a lot of work still left to do. I would have liked to see some improvement from his time in Memphis, especially when he went down for good after the trade deadline brought in J.A. Happ and Jon Lester for the major league squad. However, he only once went past five innings in that span (and in that game he gave up four runs) and in his four August starts he walked three, four, four, and four before finally righting himself a little in September. (Then again, if that foreign substance was part of that September….) Always hanging over his head is the jump from Springfield in 2019 (where he really needed another go-around) to the bigs in 2020 due to the pandemic. Will it permanently affect his development? Will he ever be able to find the strike zone regularly enough but also not so predictably that he gets crushed? There are a ton of questions around Oviedo right now and nothing but time and results will answer them.
Outlook: With the Cardinals signing Steven Matz, that seems to help keep Oviedo in Memphis to start the season (and another signing of a starter would basically guarantee it). Oviedo needs the time to develop his pitches, time to figure out what he’s doing, and the ability to do that in a lower stress environment that is AAA is a big thing. (Honestly, it wouldn’t even seem to be a terrible thing for him if he started at AA to get some confidence next season.) I feel like it’s way too early to write off Oviedo and, sooner or later, he’ll notch that first big league W.