Jaime Garcia on July 20, 2008

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I agreed to participate in this month’s United Cardinals Bloggers activity. In case you didn’t know, we’ve created an e-mail chain in which we’ve been exchanging questions/answers about various Cardinals-related issues. You can find the full set of links HERE.

Today is my turn at hosting and I posed the following question to my fellow bloggers:

Jaime Garcia set a strong precedent for seasons to come in his rookie campaign: 2.70 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 7.27 K/9, 3.53 BB/9, and 55.9 GB%.

Marcel (Tom Tango’s projection system) puts Garcia at 3.36 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7.43 K/9, and 3.39 BB/9 for 2011.

Would you take the over or under on Marcel’s forecast? Why?

Since this roundtable project includes a wide array of Cardinals blogs, I suspect that there might be a few more readers visiting today who are unfamiliar with sabermetrics. Welcome! For those of you interested in learning more about sabermetric principles, check out the collection of links that Steve compiled in Gas House Graphs’ “Saber 101 & Saber 201″ tab… or you can peruse the ever-growing FanGraphs library. Here’s a specific entry dealing with the various projection systems, including Marcel, which follows the most basic model.

By the way, if you still have questions about certain sabermetric principles, maybe we can help. Feel free to use the new Gas House Graphs mailbag set up by Steve yesterday to ask us questions.

Blogger reactions are after the jump. My insightful (or boring… you decide!) analysis can be found at the end.

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This year the United Cardinal Bloggers created its first collaborative document in the form of a year end review. A good cross section of writers across the UCB wrote articles. Yours truly penned an article about Albert Pujols. Take a look here for the publication.  The introductory post is here at the UCB site.

Earlier this week it was my turn to pose a question to the UCB group.  I went with, “If you could go back and change one event in Cards history what would it be?  It could be a trade, FA signing or anything else you could think of.”  The conversation went as follows:


Tom Knuppel – I would sign/keep Steve Carlton.

Dennis Lawson - The Dan Haren trade in the winter of 2004 never would’ve happened.  The Cardinals sent Dan Haren, Daric Barton, and Kiko Calero to the A’s for Mark Mulder.  Since the trade, Haren has won 85 games, and Mulder won 22 before taking up golf full time.  To add insult to injury, Haren is signed through 2012 with a 4yr/$44.75M deal which is eerily similar to the Lohse contract.  Oh, what could have been.

Jacqueline Conrad - Gotta agree. This is a no brainer. Keep Steve Carlton!

Mark Tomasik - The Don Denkinger call in ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series.

Bill Ivie - What happens if we change the Denkinger call and we still lose the game?  Was it really that big of a turning point?

I would have to say that I would want to go back and change the Mark Mulder deal.  That could have gone better for the Birds.

Jacqueline Conrad - Ohhhh! Good one! If we can change the space-time continuum, I’m changing my answer! The Don Denkinger call in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. hahahaha

Dustin McClure - I would also love to reverse the Haren/Barton/Calero for Mulder trade. If I could change one more thing I would go back to 2004 and somehow halt the production of the movie “Fever Pitch.”

Pip - Don’t trade Keith Hernandez on June 15, 1983.


The team captain went on to produce 26.5 wins Above Replacement, garner six Gold Gloves and win a World Championship with the Mets.


In that same period (1983-89), the Cardinals went through no fewer than eight first basemen, including Jack Clark, Pedro Guerrero and Bob Horner, who together produced only 18.4 WAR. Ironically, the Cardinals spent about as much on Hernandez’s replacements as he earned with the Mets.


The players that the Cardinals got in exchange, Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey, produced 0.1 and -0.3 WAR, respectively, for the Cardinals.


It looks like the Mulder trade ruled the day, but all of the given answers were great.  A couple other ones that popped in my head, telling Mike Matheny to not open the hunting knife (who knows if Ank still explodes, but hey I can always dream right?).  How about drafting Chase Utley in 2000 instead of Shaun Boyd… just a couple.  Thanks to all that participated.

The United Cardinal Bloggers have begun their postseason roundtable. Today’s question comes via Tom Knuppel -

Branch Rickey wrote that it is better to trade a player one year too soon than one year too late. Is this the year the Cardinals should consider looking to deal Chris Carpenter? Could the Cardinals get some key pieces in return for him? Would trading him dilute the starting rotation too much?

My response -

If I were an opposing general manager, I’m not so sure I’d give up the farm to get Carpenter. He’s going to be 36 years old next year, he has an extensive injury history, he faced a career high batters last year, his velocity dropped an average of 2 MPH this past season. He was still effective, however, but that is a lot of red flags.

Add in the fact that Carpenter is owed $15 million next year,  I don’t see him as much of a trade chip.

Also, consider that the market for pitching isn’t that great these days. Just look at the underwhelming returns from Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt trades this past season.

I don’t at all view this as a “sell-high” opportunity.


Steve gave his Top 7 Cardinal prospects earlier today
. You didn’t think the godfather of FR was going to sit idly by and not chime in, did you? Without further adieu -

1. Shelby Miller – One year removed from high school, Shelby Miller struck out 32% of the batters he faced in the Midwest League while posting a walk rate under 3 per 9. That’s tremendous. He predominantly threw his fastball, which may account for some of his .366 BABIP. As he gets more of a feel for his breaking stuff and as luck corrects itself, I have a feeling that number will drop. I’m glad the Cardinals were careful with his workload.

2. Zack Cox – I really liked the Cox pick, and I’d like to believe there’s a good chance that he’s the everyday third baseman of the future. My only concern is the lack of power in his sophomore season at Arkansas, but from what I read about Cox, it seems like he has the aptitude to make adjustments. I’ve read mixed reviews about his glove, and I almost can’t help but wonder if he’s not Brett Wallace 2.

3. Carlos Matias – I’m going to go bananas here and buy into the the hype. 99 MPH with control? I need some oxygen. The Dominican Summer League isn’t somewhere to look for reliable statistical information, but 78 K’s in 59 innings is pretty good.

4. Lance Lynn – I seem to remember a period when Lynn was getting consistently hammered, but truth be told, he put together a pretty solid season. Triple-A has swallowed up some other Cardinal pitching prospects in the past in their first go (Ottavino, Hawksworth), but Lynn posted decent walk, strikeout and ground ball rates in his first season in Triple-A. There’s nothing really spectacular about Lynn, but he’s gotta be at least a win (maybe two better) than the monster that is Lohssan.

5. Seth Blair – I saw him pitch in the College World Series, and his change-up is a sight to behold. His fastball velocity wasn’t at the as-advertised range of 94-95; it was more in the 89-91 range, but I’m willing to chalk that up to fatigue for now.

6 . Eduardo Sánchez – I’ve fallen into the trap of rating relievers too high in times past, but Sánchez continued his success in the higher levels of the minors. He should be a solid set-up man, and could possibly be the closer of the future.

7. Matt Carpenter – He fell to the 13th round as a senior in last year’s draft, but has done nothing but produced. He has a line-drive, contact oriented type of swing and doesn’t have a ton of power, but that’s OK so long as he continues to walk at a good clip. I’ve seen him on one occasion and from what little I could gather, his glove was a plus.

Personal cheeseballs: Oscar Taveras, Tommy Pham, Joe Kelly. Oscar Taveras and Pham are cut from a similar cloth, while Taveras is the hype of the day while Pham has been languishing until this past season. Both have tools out of the ying-yang, power, speed and arm strength. Taveras probably has better power, while Pham has shown the ability to take a walk.

Joe Kelly is a ground-ball machine with his 93-96 MPH sinker of his, and he has a good slider. His numbers at the QC were a little underwhelming, but this was his first full season starting since high school, and if all else fails, he should do well in relief.

Just missed: Dan Descalso, Tyrell Jenkins.

The United Cardinal Bloggers’ September project is to have each blogger list his/her top 7 prospects.  I’m not Future Redbirds prospect guru, but I do follow the minors some.  That being said here’s my list:

  1. Shelby Miller – Duh!  Consensus organization #1.
  2. Zach Cox – This slot was the hardest to fill out.  I think Cox can probably be a 3-4 WAR guy in fairly short order, and the floor for him is probably 2 WAR quickly.
  3. Matt Carpenter – Just produces.  I’d project him for ~1.5-2 WAR next year if they Cards thrust him into the big league third base job next year.
  4. Eduardo Sanchez – The system just keeps banging out RH relievers.
  5. Lance Lynn – League average innings are a good thing.  Hopefully Lynn will be able to provide them in the near future so the big club doesn’t have to do any more mid-season dumpster dives.
  6. Dan Descalso – Might be redundant considering #2 and #3, but he could offer an alternative to Skip as soon as next year
  7. Carlos Matias – Going completely on upside and word of mouth here.

Just missed the cut: Bryan Anderson, Adron Chambers, Adam Ottavino, Mark Hamilton

I’m not convinced I didn’t miss someone big, so feel free to leave your criticisms in the comments

Throughout February and March the United Cardinal Bloggers have been running there traditional roundtable discussions, in which the various bloggers ask and answer Cardinal related questions via email.  Monday was my day to ask the question, and I went with

Buying out a prospect’s arbitration years has become a trend among MLB clubs.  Do you see the Cards taking a similar path with Colby?  If so what kind of parameters do you have in mind?

The responses are after the little read more link

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A couple of weeks before I shut down my old site to move over here, I joined the United Cardinal Bloggers alliance.  One of their year end activities is the Cardinal Blogger Awards.  Instead of publishing my ballot over at my old site, I figure I’d publish it here as it also serves as a good year end wrap up post…  Of course these are only my views and Erik probably has his own opinion on these issues.

My votes after the jump

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I realize I’m late to the party. Heck, I’m crashing the party. I’m sure C70 won’t  mind. Here are my top 5 stories for 2008:

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