A promising offensive prospect cratering again to Earth has turn into the St. Louis Cardinals’ model of Anchorman’s pancake breakfast: They do it yearly. Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson each confirmed indicators of doubtless being long-term options to two-thirds of the Pink Birds’ outfield a season in the past, and to this point this 12 months neither appears to know that the lockout is over.
O’Neill crushed the ball final 12 months, slugging .560 — good for ninth in all of baseball — and ending with 34 homers and 80 RBIs in 141 video games. Whenever you put collectively that form of season, and meld it along with his thirst-inducing biceps, it will get followers extraordinarily scorching and very bothered. And I’m not speaking about St. Louis-sweat-when-you-step-outside-in-the-summer scorching, I’m speaking shifting-in-your-seat-trying-to-think-about-anything-else scorching.
These desires are significantly much less erotic now given O’Neill’s gradual begin. He’s seeing much less fastballs this 12 months, and in flip struggling to copy his energy numbers. His .333 slugging proportion isn’t within the high 10 and even the highest 100 for that matter.
I wouldn’t fairly describe Carlson’s 2021 season as lust-worthy. Hitting .266, with 18 homers and 65 RBIs isn’t setting anybody’s loins ablaze, however he wasn’t “As many doubles as RBIs (4) in 23 video games” dangerous. If not for Nolan Arenado’s Participant of the Month efficiency in April, St. Louis’ offensive malaise could be a bigger matter of dialog exterior of Missouri.
Whenever you add up the drop-offs in batting averages from this 12 months to final 12 months between O’Neill (down .84), Carlson (down .80), and Paul DeJong (down .70), you get a complete lower of .234. That cumulative lower in averages is increased than what any of these three gamers are at the moment hitting (.202, .186, and .127 respectively). My complicated model of analytics apart, there’s no present iteration of this staff that’s in a position to overcome the hitting woes which have plagued their postseasons for years now.
DeJong is the poster boy for regression, as his batting common has dropped every of his six seasons since coming into the league save for the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
It’s early, and St. Louis is fortunate to be 14-10 and tied for fifth in run differential regardless of having the seventeenth finest offense within the MLB. In the event you’re a Cardinals fan like myself, you already know all too effectively the sensation of hopelessness that instantly units in when it’s obvious an opposing pitcher is dealing.
All hope of scoring falls to Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, who’re each unbelievable, however like several nice hitter, they want assist within the lineup. It might be karma catching as much as the Cardinals for all these years of Pink Satan Magic, or it might be a problem with improvement, one that I’ve screamed about before on this website.
Maybe, O’Neill and Carlson are mired in more and more much less minor slumps. Or they’re a part of a pattern of good-yet-stagnating expertise that’s turn into the norm for St. Louis’ farm system. I discussed O’Neill, Carlson, and DeJong, however Kolten Wong by no means hit the height GM John Mozeliak promised. Randal Grichuk’s two most efficient seasons got here after he was traded away. I’ll give St. Louis a move on Aledmys Diaz as a result of he wasn’t a staple in Houston’s lineup the previous few years. Having mentioned that, Diaz had as many RBIs (45) final 12 months because the man who changed him at shortstop, and he performed in 29 fewer video games and had 83 fewer plate appearances than DeJong, as effectively.
I like Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader, too, however any offensive manufacturing from them is a bonus. Playing cards’ followers have been restlessly checking their watches for years, ready for the subsequent Albert Pujols who was promised to emerge. And re-signing the past-his-prime free agent slugger isn’t what anybody had in thoughts, neither is it going to fill the necessity. If something, the addition of the DH to the NL has solely proven a brighter highlight on the staff’s deficiencies.
I’ll skip the pitching portion of this ‘What the fuck is going on to the Cardinal’s prospects?” piece as a result of their downfalls have largely been because of damage, and pitching hasn’t been the rationale for the staff’s postseason failures. In the event you’re on the lookout for an answer, it’s probably not coming from supervisor Olivier Marmol. It’s not his fault the staff retains hiring from inside and ignoring regardless of the hell is occurring with its homegrown hitters nosediving after being scouted for a 12 months or two.
Is hitting coach Jeff Albert, who was retained from fired-manager Mike Shildt’s employees, simply urgent play/pause on the sport tape and telling his guys to maintain their eye on the ball? It will clarify rather a lot.
Mozeliak’s acquisitions of Goldschmidt and Arenado had been nice, and he needs to be applauded for fleecing these franchises. St. Louis can’t count on to win a title by making the most of dysfunctional organizations, although, and so they can’t win by throwing buckets of cash at free brokers, both.
I do know it’s early, and there’s nonetheless loads of time for O’Neill and Carlson to bust out of their slumps. In the event that they do, it’ll break with latest custom, however I don’t suppose Cardinal followers would take challenge with that as a lot as Champ Type took challenge with Ron Burgundy skipping out on a number of flapjacks.