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: Austin Dean
Season stats: 22 G, 38 PA, 5 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 6 BB, 11 K, .233/.342/.400, 107 OPS+, 0.0 bWAR, 0.1 fWAR
Statcast: .287 xwOBA, 4.8 barrel %, 87.4 exit velocity, 33.3 hard hit %, 28.9 K %, 15.8 BB %
Best Statcast category: Sprint Speed (64th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Max Exit Velocity (46th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 1
Positives: Broke camp with the club and made the Opening Day roster….had his best day against the Brewers, going two for three with a home run and three RBI April 10….had a .917 OPS against right-handers, in large part due to that day….went six for 17 with a double and a home run under the Arch….went one for three with a double and two RBI when he swung at the first pitch….hit .263 with two strikes.
Negatives: Was hurt much of the year after being demoted to Memphis, only getting four plate appearances in the big leagues after April….hit .213 in fourteen games at Memphis….went two for 10 as a pinch-hitter, though with four walks….was 0-8 with two outs and runners in scoring position….hit .091 when the team was ahead.
Overview: There’s really not much to say about Dean, given that he spent more of his summer in the training room than on the diamond. By time he might have returned to be a fourth or fifth outfielder, others had taken advantage of the opportunity, most notably Lars Nootbaar. Dean is one of those rare people that probably enjoyed 2020 more than 2021.
Outlook: Dean’s probably permanently jumped Justin Williams on the depth chart but with Nootbaar clearly ahead of him, it feels like opportunities at the major league level are going to be limited for him. The Cardinals placed him on waivers at the end of the season and the Giants snapped him up, so we’ll probably spend some of next season wondering why he’s an MVP candidate out there.