Jim Edmonds

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Let me first begin by thanking Erik for giving me the opportunity to contribute to Gas House Graphs. Perhaps surprsingly, I have no vested interest in the Cardinals. I’m just another Red Sox fan living in New England. But I’m also obsessed with the Baseball Hall of Fame. Specifically, I like to give an objective vote of confidence to players who have been wrongly passed over, are struggling to get inducted, or I feel will have trouble getting in.

Today, I want to talk about Jim Edmonds. I figured you guys wouldn’t mind.

In 2009, I first came into contact with Wins Above Replacement (WAR). When Sean Smith later published historical WAR data for all players back to 1871, it was like a switch was flipped—this was what I was waiting for. It is the perfect data set for constructing and debating Hall of Fame cases.

The fun in those early days of sifting through WAR data was two-fold. First, it was wonderful to see “the eyeball test” validated. Brooks Robinson and Mark Belanger really were that good on defense. Ozzie Smith deserved his reputation. Dwight Evans really did have a magnificent arm. Roger Clemens really was a monster. Mariano Rivera certainly is the greatest of all relievers.

But the second part of it was finding the surprises. After Bert Blyleven (who, of course, has since been inducted), Rick Reuschel is the most valuable eligible non-Hall of Fame pitcher. Lou Whitaker was criminally underrated (more than we even thought). And Bill Dahlen? Who knew?

One of those surprises for me was Jim Edmonds. Check out how he rates among center fielders in history:

(Note: To me, a “center fielder” is a player who played at center field more than any other position.)

There’s the duo of Cobb and Mays. They are obviously in the conversation of the greatest players ever. Next is the duo of Speaker and Mantle, another pair of greats. Then there’s another duo—DiMaggio and Griffey. I don’t know about you, but these rankings feel right to me so far.

Then there’s a trio that’s very close together. Duke Snider, of course, is quite famous. Then there’s Billy Hamilton. He’s highly regarded, though may be overlooked because he played in the 19th century. And we have Edmonds. Right there. Eighth place. All time. I was surprised.

Edmonds’ WAR figure happens to be 63rd all time. There are 143 position players in the Hall of Fame (counting just MLB players that were inducted as a player). That tells me that not only does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame upon his retirement, but there really shouldn’t be any question.

As I mentioned, I’m not in Cardinals Country. So, when I mention to friends and relatives that Jim Edmonds should be a Hall of Famer, I am met with disbelief. It goes a little something like:

ME: The numbers say Jim Edmonds should be a Hall of Famer.
THEM: No way. Besides, I don’t buy into that new-fangled defensive stuff.
ME: It has nothing to do with defense. Do you even realize that his career OPS was over .900?
THEM: Over .900?
ME: Yup.
THEM: Hot damn.

It’s true. Edmonds seems to be known for his defense (at least outside of St. Louis). He has the eight Gold Gloves to prove it. But there appears to be this accusation that he positioned himself so that he would have to dive for balls, just to get on SportsCenter. That sounds pretty ridiculous to me. But it causes some people to downplay his defense contribution. Here’s the thing.

It doesn’t matter.

Remember that .900 OPS? Well, that translates to 341 batting runs. What other players are between 330 and 350 Batting Runs? That’d be Dwight Evans, Ken Singleton, Norm Cash, Joe Medwick, Reggie Smith, Rusty Staub, and Keith Hernandez. Interestingly, I see a few players (notably Evans, Smith, and Hernandez) in that group who were underrated offensively and also provided quite a bit of defensive value. That sounds a lot like Edmonds to me. The big difference is that Edmonds did it at a premium position. Edmonds’ Total Zone runs add up to 91 runs—impressive, but just 20.6% of his overall runs above average.

As Andy recently wrote here, I’ve been using a stat called wWAR (Weighted WAR, or Peak-Adjusted WAR) to see what kind of case for the Hall of Fame a player has. I explained wWAR over at Beyond the Box Score, and here’s the gist:

WAR can be rather kind to “compilers”. Hall of Fame voters, of course, look for peak performance in addition to longevity. The idea behind wWAR is to give extra credit to excellent seasons [WAE—Wins Above Excellence, which is single-season WAR over 3.0] and then even more credit for MVP-type seasons [WAM—Wins Above MVP, which is single-season WAR over 6.0]. The formula is ridiculously easy and seems to work well. It is simply:

wWAR = WAR + WAE + WAM

What I expected to see is some modern players be hurt by wWAR, as their careers tended to be longer and their value was more spread out. Did this happen to Edmonds? Let’s see:

(Note: The bars, from left to right, represent Wins Above Replacement, Wins Above Excellence, and Wins Above MVP.)

Cobb and Mays swap spots at the top. Otherwise, the two big differences are Snider leapfrogging Edmonds and Hamilton and Lofton dropping behind Andruw Jones and Jimmy Wynn. Snider had a bit better peak than both Hamilton and Edmonds, but these three players are still ridiculously close together on both lists. It’s essentially a wash. So, while Edmonds appears here as the 9th best center fielder by wWAR, he’s really within spitting distance of #6. Does that sound like a borderline Hall of Famer to you?

Nope. Edmonds is a No-Doubter.

There are 46 Hall of Fame position players with a wWAR better than Edmonds. Forty-six. Out of 143.

The player this second list hurts the most is Lofton. And when I say “hurts the most”, I mean he goes from being the tenth best center fielder of all time to the twelfth. But I’ll bang the Lofton drum at a different time and on another blog.

Richie Asburn. Hugh Duffy. Larry Doby. Max Carey. Earl Averill. Kirby Puckett. Ed Roush. Earle Combs. Hack Wilson. Lloyd Waner.

They’re all in the Hall of Fame. And Jim Edmonds is better than all of them.

First of all, go read Fungoes’ excellent take on the Cardinals’ decision to replace Brendan Ryan with Ryan Theriot in 2011.

Having realized that each player had terrible offensive seasons in 2010, I wanted to take a look at which player was more likely to rebound in 2011 given batted ball data from FanGraphs.  As Joe Strauss pointed out in his most recent chat, exercises like this may prove futile in that the Cardinals’ decision to trade Brendan Ryan is rooted in far more than statistics.  About the Theriot acquisition and its implications for Ryan, Strauss wrote:

He IS an offensive upgrade over a guy who hit .223 last season and was twice benched by his manager for pouting. I’m a Ryan honk due to his spellbinding defense. But those who base their opinion on Ryan’s .292 average in 2009 are missing it. This isn’t solely a statistical issue. It’s also a clubhouse matter.

I’m averse to making personnel decisions based on team chemistry as I’m among those that believe team wins breed chemistry rather than vice versa.  Strauss is probably right in reporting that the decision was more of a, “clubhouse matter,” but that doesn’t mean Mozeliak is justified in his decision to replace Ryan with Theriot at shortstop.  He must believe that Ryan/Theriot would approximate equal value in order to consider Theriot’s character as the tipping point.  Theriot clearly isn’t going to eclipse Ryan’s value defensively, so Mozeliak must believe that Theriot’s offensive contributions will be significant enough to disregard Ryan’s defensive prowess.

Could the Cardinals be expecting too much out of Theriot?  After all, he generated a career-worst .286 wOBA in 2010 and has only posted above average offensive numbers once (2008) when given more than 500 AB’s; even in that season, he was only one percent greater than league average (101 wRC+).  Of course, Ryan’s .256 wOBA indicated even more pathetic offense.  The below table displays each player’s 2010 batted ball data with the numbers in parentheses representing career norms minus 2010 rates.  Let’s see if either player is due for upward regression given unlucky results.

2010 Batted Ball Data (Career – 2010)
Player BABIP BB K LD GB FB IFFB
Ryan .253 (.039) 6.8% (-0.2) 13.7% (0.1) 17.9% (0.7) 47.2% (2.2) 34.9% (-2.8) 12.2% (-0.1)
Theriot .305 (.011) 6.4% (1.9) 12.6% (0.04) 19.6% (1.5) 54.1% (-1.7) 26.3% (0.02) 4.6% (0.9)

Theriot’s career offensive season was largely predicated on a solid 11% walk rate and impressive 23.2 LD%.  The Cardinals can’t bank on Theriot being a very disciplined hitter since his walk rate was 2.6% above career norms in 2008.  Although his annually high LD% is encouraging, his BABIP didn’t really suffer in 2010 despite hitting 1.5% fewer line-drives.  Whereas hitting more ground balls isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a player with decent speed, grounders don’t result in hits as frequently as liners.  Theriot’s 2010 batted ball data doesn’t suggest unluckiness; rather, his numbers were more or less representative of his overall skill set.  For what it’s worth, Bill James does project Theriot to regain some patience at the plate in 2011 (8.3% BB), but I’m not so optimistic as Theriot has seen fewer pitches within the strike zone while walking less often every year since 2008.

Brendan Ryan, however, had a huge disparity in 2010′s BABIP, losing thirty-nine points from his career norm.  Some of this was undoubtedly due to hitting more balls in the air, not a positive development given Ryan’s lack of power.  But even after replacing more than two percent of ground-balls with fly-balls, 39 points is too big of a discrepancy to explain away his decrease in BABIP altogether.  I also wonder how much of Ryan’s struggles can be attributed to experimenting with various batting stances throughout the 2010 season.  Instead of vowing to return to his 2009 batting stance, Ryan continues to tinker with new ideas such as choking up on the handle, using a bigger bat, and following through with two hands for at least 1,000 swings.  Therefore, any team relying on him will have to accept his inconsistent approach at the plate or convince him otherwise.  Regardless, he’s due for some positive regression.

Offense be damned, Ryan was still worth 1.0 WAR in 2010 (according to FanGraphs) thanks to 11.5 fielding RAR while Theriot accumulated 0.0 WAR in time split between the Cubs and Dodgers.  Had Theriot spent more time at SS, he would have gained a couple of runs in the positions adjustment, but his overall value still would have fallen short of Ryan.  This gap would have been even larger had Ryan not hit into such poor luck in 2010.

Combine all of this with the reality that Ryan is three years younger and roughly $2 million cheaper, and I don’t see how replacing him with Theriot makes sense financially or competitively.  I’m trying to withhold judgment since other moves could still be made… but I’m haunted by a similar anticipation that was met by the acquisition of Pedro Feliz following the departure of Ryan Ludwick last July.

Everyone has probably heard enough about the World Series MVP, Edgar Renteria, by now,  but here’s a quick chart I threw together depicting WAR generated from the SS position for the Cardinals since 2002 (just click the image for a larger version).

Much has been made of the revolving door at 2B and the curse plaguing 3B since Scott Rolen’s departure, but the Cardinals have had a difficult time replacing Renteria’s production at SS since Boston lured him away from Saint Louis following the 2004 World Series (as if the four game sweep and Fever Pitch production weren’t heart breaking enough).

Since Edgar’s peak years (2001-2003: 13.4 combined WAR), the Cardinals have been searching for someone to rely on at SS.  Most noteable: Not once has a Cardinals’ SS posted an offensive season half as valuable as Renteria’s bat in 2003 (31.5 RAR).  The closest was Renteria’s 2002 (14.5).  David Eckstein became a fan favorite but only achieved above average value once in 2005 (3.0 WAR); though he was still a bargain for the team if you consider the free agent market’s going rate for WAR (roughly $4 mil/1 WAR).  In 2009, Brendan Ryan BABIP’ed his way towards near average offense with a .324 wOBA while netting win via his glove as well.  Of course, Ryan’s offense crumbled in 2010.  Despite being even more valuable with the leather last season, he only accumulated 1 WAR total (otherwise known as the worst season represented in the graph above).  Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that Big Mac can inject (pun totally intended) a little more reliability into Brendan’s swing.  Boog could be a very valuable player if he just managed to muster something approximating league average offense.  Now who will hold his hand during ingrown toenail operations since the Braves claimed Joe Mather off waivers?

When I started writing this post, the season hadn’t quite ended so it might seem a little out of place but I had already set the foundation so here’s a belated entry in which I lament the Rockies inability to reach the post-season despite an incredible performance by their SS. After that, we’ll turn our attention towards 2011 and John Mozeliak’s ambitious checklist.

2010 Ends Fittingly
When it became clear that the Cardinals truly had went “poopy in their pants,” as Jack Clark so eloquently put it, I started rooting for the patented late-season Rockies surge. Troy Tulowitzki appeared to be on a mission in September when he accumulated 40 RBIs and 15 HRs. Don’t like counting stats? Me neither. That’s good for a ridiculous .492 wOBA (twenty-six points better than the second place guy who also happens to play for the Rockies; Carlos Gonzalez). Tulo hit 14 HRs between 9/3 and 9/18; according to Hit Tracker, all but two of them would have left a majority of MLB parks and none were considered lucky. He also plays a premiere defensive position well (6.1 UZR/150 on season) and features a mullet that he’s promised to keep growing as long as fans continue donating money to charity. Other than my soul, what wouldn’t I be willing to trade for Troy Tulowitzki?

The Phillies were the only NL team that had a better cumulative wOBA for September as a whole but the Rockies offense faded in the second half of the month with a .306 wOBA in the past fourteen days. Don’t blame Troy; he stayed strong with a .396 wOBA. The Rockies pitching simply couldn’t match the crazy awesome Giants staff that posted a 2.75 Team FIP and 4.03 K/BB. The Rockies ended the season having lost thirteen of their last fourteen games. It was kind of fitting then, that the Cardinals and Rockies were left to face off in the season’s final week to see who ended 2010 with the dirtier trousers. Unfortunately for the Rockies, they had an above .500 record which meant that the Cardinals would inevitably win the series.
Mozeliak’s 2011 Checklist
Looking toward 2011, John Mozeliak provided a check list of sorts in Bernie’s not-so-recent column:

  1. “…a couple of guys who can hit 15 to 20 homers.”
  2. A number two catcher who can provide more offense.
  3. Cleaning up middle-infield defense.
  4. Improving overall poor base running.

Let’s break down each bulleted point and compare the Cardinals’ top offensive performers against all postseason teams (Phillies, Giants, Reds, and Braves) within the parameters established by Mozeliak (at least 15 HRs).

2010 Postseason Teams Vs. Cardinals
Player HR wOBA
Giants
Huff 26 .388
Uribe 24 .322
Posey 18 .368
Burrell 18 .371
Torres 16 .363
Reds
Votto 37 .439
Rolen 20 .367
Bruce 25 .363
Stubbs 22 .345
Phillips 18 .332
Gomes 18 .330
Phillies
Howard 31 .367
Werth 27 .397
Victorino 18 .339
Utley 16 .373
Ibanez 16 .341
Braves
McCann 21 .361
Heyward 18 .376
Glaus 16 .331
Prado 15 .352
Cardinals
Pujols 42 .420
Holliday 28 .396
Rasmus 23 .366

Yes, I’m aware how ugly that table looks compared to the width of the page. Turns out all of the division winners had at least five such players (Reds have six) while the Cardinals only had three (Pujols, Holliday, and Rasmus). Although that sounds like a significant difference, when you consider numbers that encapsulate a more complete offensive picture, only the Giants(!) had more players with at least .360 wOBAs. Maybe the Cardinals don’t have as large of an offensive chasm to fill after all. With that said, there are already Rasmus trade rumors swirling and we haven’t even made it out of October yet. Yikes. Let’s hope that the Cardinals resist the urge to placate a manager only willing to go year-to-year and look beyond HR totals when signing/acquiring new players this hot stove season. Beware of guys like Uribe who, despite hitting at least 15 HRs since 2004 (exception of 2008), has only managed to post above average wOBAs twice.

Next on the list is a back-up catcher who can provide more offense. Of course, this is not the type of player that will make or break a team’s competitiveness but it would be nice to have someone capable of posting an OPS+ of at least 75. That’s something the Cardinals haven’t had since, well, Yadier Molina in 2004. Speaking of Yadi, Brian McCann is the only NL catcher that has logged more innings behind the plate in the past three years. At just 28-years-old, we’re starting to see the physical repercussions of such a demanding work load. Maybe the Cardinals are recognizing this as well and they’d like to give him more rest in future seasons. Despite this indication, I remain skeptical that they follow through with pursuit of an offensive minded back-up catcher. Exhibit A: In Molina’s absence, Matt Pagnozzi (.586 OPS in minor league career) has been given regular playing time over Bryan Anderson (.782 OPS in minor league career). That Anderson can’t accumulate AB’s in meaningless September games despite offering this exact skill for the major league minimum price is perplexing; would it be that surprising to see him packaged in a trade this off season?

Mozeliak’s vow to shore up the middle-infield defense seems to be an indictment on Skip Schumaker. See this video for proof. Brendan Ryan doesn’t really care which defensive metric by which you judge him: 11.6 UZR/150, 15 total zone total fielding runs above average, and 27 BIS defensive runs saved above average. Boog’s glove appears to have bought him at least one more season to put things together offensively. The effort and professionalism with which Skip tried to convert to 2B from the OF was much undoubtedly won him points in the clubhouse and made him a fan favorite but the Cardinals appear ready to abandon the experiment. And that seems like the right move. According to UZR, Skip’s defense was actually worse in 2010 (-17.7 UZR/150 in 2010; -8.5 UZR/150 in 2009). Combine that with an unfortunate offensive season (.299 wOBA) and he’s essentially become a replacement level player (-0.2 WAR).

Last on Mo’s agenda is to improve the team’s value on the base paths. According to Baseball Prospectus, however, the Cardinals were in the top third of the league, ranking 9th in equivalent base running runs (EqBRR). Of the top eight teams, only three made the playoffs. In fact, the league overall seems to be pretty bad at adding runs via base running. Only the top ten teams had positive EqBRR and the Cardinals were one of them. Fungoes has more on this topic here. Not that they couldn’t improve in this area, but base running doesn’t appear to be one of the team’s greatest needs.

The positive? John Mozeliak appears to know his team well. I wouldn’t argue with his assessment of team needs. If the Cardinals were able to improve in these four areas, we’d likely have a better team to root for in 2011.

The negative? I’m not convinced that he understands how to make these improvements. In Derrick Goold’s “Thrills and Spills” article, Mozeliak is quoted as desiring, “a more experienced presence,” on next year’s bench and roster. In 2010, the Cardinals added experience to the roster in the form of Aaron Miles, Randy Winn, Jeff Suppan, and Pedro Feliz. These players “helped” the club in the form of the following WARs: 0.0, -0.2, 0.1, and -0.5 (respectively). Maybe triple-A guys like Tyler Greene and Allen Craig wouldn’t have helped much more offensively, but they certainly had the upside that warranted giving them an extended chance. And now the Cardinals will go into 2011 with these guys still needing to wet their feet in the big leagues. 2010 was a wasted opportunity to learn more about guys that the Cardinals need to contribute in the future. The Cardinals don’t need experienced, seasoned, or veteran players. They just need more talent… and their failure to utilize that talent in 2010 even when freely available was (and is) disconcerting.

A picture of Dusty talking to Chris Welsh (off...

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I’m going to be Captain Understatement and say that this 2010 season has been a disappointing season for Cardinal fans. The team is now 8 games out of 1st and has less than a 1% chance of making the postseason. Most projections and pundits had the Cardinals running the table in an easy division. As it has turned out, the Cincinnati Reds are pretty darn good at baseball. They were the only team I feared could win, and as in the case of  Job, that what I have greatly feared has come upon me.

But have the Cardinals really been outclassed by Dusty Baker’s Reds?  Are they really 8 games better than the Cardinals?  There’s a few ways we can look at this and make some guesses from there. One is by looking at each team’s BaseRuns to date. I won’t get into the math behind BaseRuns, but suffice to say it is a kick-booty run estimator. It’s designed to give a more exact model of the process of scoring runs and its accuracy holds up extremely well, even in the craziest of contexts. You can read up on it more here and here.

Anyway, according to BaseRuns, the Cardinals’ actual record should be 76-67. The Reds’ record should be 78-67. So they really only should have a .7% better winning percentage than the Cardinals, but thanks to randomness the Cardinals should be happy to win 85, while the Reds are on pace to win more than 90 games. Due to bad luck, bad breaks, bad timing or whatever you want to call it, the Cardinals look a lot worse than the Reds than they probably are.

We could also look at WAR to give us an idea of how big or small the gap is between the two teams. The Reds’ hitters have 24.5 WAR.  Their pitchers have 7.5 WAR. The Cardinals have 19.6 WAR for their hitters,  and11.2 WAR for their pitchers. Yep, the difference between the Reds and Cardinals is 1.2 WAR. This is according to Rally’s WAR found on Baseball Reference, to be specific. I’m not saying this is the perfect way to solve this problem, but you get the basic idea.

To put it plainly, I think the difference between the two teams talent-wise isn’t worlds apart. If time stood still and the players somehow could magically play the 2010 season ten thousand times in a row, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals and Reds finished with near identical records. But a lot of weird things can happen over 162 games. Sometimes standard deviation can be a cruel mistress.

With Kyle Lohse likely to get the start against the Cubs on Sunday, I thought we could take a moment to ponder his potential impact on this club along with some other general observations.  Given the Cardinals’ reputation with projecting pitchers’ returns from injury, I had little hope that Lohse would take the mound again in 2010, especially since his injury was apparently so rare amongst other pitchers.

Much of the Cardinals’ fanbase developed unreasonable expectations for Kyle Lohse when he had a career year in 2008 (200 IP, solid 3.89 FIP, 3.1 WAR)… all for a bargain price of $4.25 million.  Unfortunately, the front office bought into the hype and extended Lohse through 2012.  According to Cot’s Contracts, he’ll make a guaranteed $11.875 million (each year) in the final two years of the deal.  From a value standpoint, assuming that a free agent win costs around $4 million, he’d have to perform at his career peak in 2011 and 2012 to justify future paychecks.  Not a likely proposition for a guy that’s only been worth 1.6 WAR in 2009 and 2010 combined.

First, let’s take a look at the three guys at the back end of the rotation: Lohse, Suppan, and Hawksworth.  What is the makeup of each player’s arsenal of pitches (taken from Fangraphs)?

They all go to the fastball between 56-59% of the time.  The major differences are in their secondary offerings: Lohse has a slider (-1.77 runs/100 pitches), Hawksworth has a changeup (-1.64 runs/100 pitches), and Suppan has a mish-mash of other junk (changeup being only pitch with positive value at .8 runs/100 pitches).  Remember that pitch values do not account for pitch sequences so a negative value does not necessarily mean that a pitcher has lost something on a given pitch, or that the pitch itself is bad.  Sure, it could indicate either of those scenarios… but it could also simply be a matter of hitters knowing when (specific pitch count, always follows another pitch, etc.) a given pitcher will throw a certain pitch.  In other words, if the hitter is expecting any given pitch, he likely has a better chance at hitting it hard regardless of its velocity or movement.

Since Lohse’s other offerings for 2010 season are pretty much in line with career norms (FB and CB slightly below average; CH above average), I’m mostly interested in his slider and how it has changed (if at all) since it had been an above average offering since 2007 (until now).  The table below was generated with numbers from Joe Lefkowitz’s site which provides awesome pitch f/x data (though 2007 data was unavailable).

Kyle Lohse’s Slider
Year Velocity Horizontal Vertical Swing-Miss%
2008 84.4 2.34 0.08 14.3
2009 83.8 3.3 -0.77 16.1
2010 83 1.7 -0.47 15.4

Though his velocity has decreased on the pitch since 2008, it’s not by a lot.  Seems doubtful that a pitch only .8 mph slower than last year would cause it to suddently be a below average offering.  However, it does appear that Lohse’s slider has been noticeably flatter in 2010 as evidence by less horizontal movement.   Furthermore, Lohse has thrown the slider much more often in 2010 to both RH (32.3%) and LH (12.8%) batters.  For comparison’s sake, he threw sliders to RHB 25.7% and LHB 4.5% of the time in 2008.

Given the flatter nature of the pitch, perhaps hitters are making more solid contact when they do connect even though their swinging strike percentage is stable.  Another possibility is that hitters are able to sit on the pitch more often since he has thrown it more often this year.  At any rate, seems like a poor combination for a pitch to be thrown more often despite having less movement and (however slightly) decreased velocity.  Maybe the forearm injury can provide another explanation.  Seems reasonable to allow that it may have been harder for him to throw off-speed pitches given their more complicated grips.  It’ll be interesting to see if some of that horizontal movement returns now that he’s supposedly healthy.

With that said, it is important to remember that Lohse’s struggles probably cannot be explained by his less effective slider or even the injuries that have complicated his past two seasons.  In reality, it’s more likely that Lohse’s ability just doesn’t match the numbers that he managed to accumulate in 2008.  Though he may not be as good as he was then, he may not be as bad as we’ve seen since.  I guess that’s the silver lining.

The question for 2010, of course, is how much better does he make the Cardinals than if Jeff Suppan or Blake Hawksworth were taking the ball every fifth day?  Utilizing Fangraphs’ seven part win value series on pitching WAR (scroll to bottom of page) and Nick Steiner’s VEB fanpost as guides, I calculated the difference in projected WAR between these three pitchers.  I utilized ZiPS’ rest of season projections (FIP) and gave each player eight remaining starts at their average innings per start in 2010.  My calculations had Lohse, Hawksworth, and Suppan at .49, .32, and .08 WAR respectively for the rest of the season.  Unsurprisingly, Lohse is apparently the best option of the three.

Oh joy. Sean Smith’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is now at Baseball Reference.com. If you have play index, you can do all sorts of fun sorts. I’ll share a few.

Here are Cardinal center fielders with 5+ WAR seasons.

Rk Player WAR/pos Year
1 Willie McGee 8.5 1985
2 Jim Edmonds 8.4 2004
3 Stan Musial 7.7 1952
4 Jim Edmonds 7.3 2003
5 Jim Edmonds 7.2 2002
6 Jim Edmonds 6.8 2005
7 Jim Edmonds 6.8 2000
8 Jim Edmonds 6.4 2001
9 Johnny Hopp 6.0 1944
10 Ray Lankford 5.9 1998
11 Ray Lankford 5.5 1997
12 Ray Lankford 5.4 1996
13 Emmet Heidrick 5.3 1901
14 Curt Flood 5.1 1967
15 Curt Flood 5.0 1963
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/17/2010.

Here are the top baserunning run contributors of the Whiteyball era.

Rk Player Rbaser
1 Vince Coleman 60
2 Ozzie Smith 51
3 Willie McGee 32
4 Lonnie Smith 16
5 Tom Herr 15
6 Andy Van Slyke 11
7 Milt Thompson 5
8 Terry Pendleton 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/17/2010.

Here’s the top players in fielding runs saved above average.

Rk Player Rfield From To Age G
1 Ozzie Smith 197 1982 1996 27-41 1990
2 Marty Marion 132 1940 1950 22-32 1502
3 Albert Pujols 108 2001 2010 21-30 1436
4 Curt Flood 103 1958 1969 20-31 1738
5 Brian Jordan 85 1992 1998 25-31 643
6 Terry Pendleton 85 1984 1990 23-29 927
7 Arlie Latham 78 1883 1896 23-36 847
8 Ken Boyer 75 1955 1965 24-34 1667
9 Jim Edmonds 71 2000 2007 30-37 1105
10 Keith Hernandez 67 1974 1983 20-29 1165
11 Yadier Molina 65 2004 2010 21-27 703
12 Charlie Comiskey 64 1882 1891 22-31 1034
13 Red Schoendienst 61 1945 1963 22-40 1795
14 Scott Rolen 60 2002 2007 27-32 661
15 Jose Oquendo 56 1986 1995 22-31 989
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/17/2010.
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