Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: Steven Baron
Season stats: 2 G, 5 PA, 1 H, 2 K, .200/.200/.200, 11 OPS+, 0.0 bWAR
Overall grade: C
Positives: Returned to the major leagues for the first time since 2015 when he was with the Mariners, though most of the year saw him in Memphis….spent nine days in the bigs and got a start, which might be a better ratio than Francisco Pena had all year….had a three-hit game May 8 against Oklahoma City….all of his AB were consecutive, which is something you write when there’s not much else to talk about….cleared waivers and returned to Memphis, where he backed up Carson Kelly and then Andrew Knizner….hit .290 in night games at AAA and actually hit .346 in July (9-26).
Negatives: Not only did he get just one hit in the bigs, he also just hit .213 during his season at Memphis….he had just five doubles and no other extra base hits in a hitter’s league….had a .381 OPS in day games at Memphis….hit .197 versus right-handed pitchers at AAA….hit .118 in 51 AB hitting ninth.
Overview: Look, you probably don’t even remember Steve Baron. He played when the Phillies came to Busch in May, when Yadier Molina was out with his….hey, we know about that and we don’t really need to revisit it here….and Carson Kelly got hurt went on the 10 day DL as well. Baron came up, Francisco Pena played most of the games, then Baron went back down. Eventually they needed the 40-man spot and waived Baron, but unsurprisingly nobody else was quite that desperate for a minor league catcher.
Outlook: I know that there’s a Brotherhood of Backup Catchers, but Baron is going to have to really up his game to even reach that level of play. I mean, it’s possible that the Cards will have him come back and be Knizner’s backup at Memphis again this year because they don’t need anyone that is likely to need playing time in that role, but it still feels like they could do a little better there. If the Cards don’t resign him to some minor league deal, he’ll probably latch on somewhere for at least the early part of spring. It’s strongly possible, though, that he’s seen his last major league time.