One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: Jake Walsh
Season stats: 0-1, 13.50 ERA, 3 G, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 IR, 0 IRS, 2.74 FIP, 1.875 WHIP, 16.9 K/9, -0.2 bWAR, 0.0 fWAR
Statcast: .337 xwOBA, 14.3 barrel %, 92.7 exit velocity, 71.4 hard hit %, 33.3 K %, 13.3 BB %
Best Statcast category: None
Worst Statcast category: None
Positives: Made his major league debut May 11 against the Orioles….was unscored upon in two of his three major league outings….lefties went 1-5 with a walk against him….allowed a .100 batting average at home….had a 1.17 ERA at Memphis in 15.1 innings….struck out more than a batter an inning at AAA.
Negatives: Allowed four runs and didn’t record an out against the Mets in his last appearance….gave up a 2.000 OPS on the road.
Overview: Walsh was an intriguing addition early on, coming up when Kodi Whitley was sent down. While the game against the Mets didn’t help him any, his demotion was more about making room for Matthew Liberatore‘s debut than anything else. Walsh appeared in four games for Memphis after his demotion before coming down with an elbow injury that kept him out the rest of the year. That makes it hard to judge just how much was a run of good luck and how much was something that is repeatable. Walsh has been pretty good at every step up the ladder, though, so this doesn’t seem to me to be a fluke, though please search out Kyle Reis (@kyler416) and bug him about it (or just look at what he’s written in the past).
Outlook: If Walsh is truly healthy, he’s going to come to spring training with a chance to make the major league roster. Having options gives the club some flexibility and even if he makes the initial bullpen, he’ll probably spend a few stints in Memphis as well as the club cycles fresh arms. It’s intriguing to see how well he could do given some more time, but Whitley, the person who made room for Walsh’s debut, is a cautionary tale about getting too excited about a relief arm.