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: Kodi Whitley
Season stats: 2-0, 5.68 ERA, 14 G, 12.2 IP, 11 H, 2 HR, 9 BB, 12 K, 5 IR, 2 IRS, 5.88 FIP, 1.579 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, -0.2 bWAR, -0.2 fWAR
Statcast: .382 xwOBA, 8.3 barrel %, 90.2 exit velocity, 38.9 hard hit %, 20.3 K %, 15.3 BB %
Best Statcast category: Extension (55th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Fastball Velocity (48th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Goat 2
Positives: Made the major league roster out of spring training and started the season with five scoreless appearances….was unscored on in nine of his outings, though allowed inherited runners to score in the last….lefties had a .593 OPS against him….allowed a .467 OPS away from home but had a 5.79 ERA….had a 1.42 ERA in April….second place hitters had a .333 OPS….kept batters to a .401 OPS when ahead in the count….did not allow a hit to any of the first batters he faced, though he walked two….batters went 1-13 with nobody out, though five walks….retired all three batters he faced in high leverage situations….went three for three in save chances at Memphis….struck out basically a batter an inning at AAA.
Negatives: Allowed two or more runs twice, including three in a game against the Giants, where he walked all four batters he faced….righties posted a .975 OPS….had an ERA of 10.80 in May (five innings)….allowed one of his homers to an eighth place hitter….batters had a .987 OPS if they took the first pitch….allowed a 1.452 OPS when hitters were ahead in the count….gave up a 1.224 OPS when there was one out in an inning….batters had a .908 OPS with runners in scoring position.
Overview: Look, the game against San Francisco was terrible and it skewed a lot of his stats at the big league level. That also started a downward trend, as he had a 15.75 ERA from that game until he was sent to Memphis. Demoting him and seeing if he could find his command again was a smart play. I’m just surprised not only that the Cardinals didn’t give him another chance but that they waived him off the 40-man roster after the season was over. True, even at Memphis he walked one for every two innings he pitched, which is less than ideal, but Whitley has had a solid track record when he’s pitched in the bigs. Given the fact that the club could continue to find spots for T.J. McFarland to pitch, you’d have thought that Whitley could have gotten another crack. Perhaps the club thought his magic had run out or that the smoke and mirrors was about to be seen through, but it was an odd use of an asset to me.
Outlook: Whitley cleared waivers and as such is still in Memphis, just no longer on the 40-man. I’m sure he’ll come to spring training and perhaps if he’s done something to throw more strikes, he’ll have a chance to show again that he can pitch on the big stage.