Meet the Cardinals, Sox World Series Foe


How many current Cardinal pitchers can you name?  OK, how many Cardinals in the starting lineup can you name? OK, how many Cardinals on the 40-man roster can you name?  Not easy, eh?

bird watching 2Most citizens of Red Sox Nation closely follow, daily, sometimes hourly, every move their team makes; then we debate the wisdom of every move.

In order, we tend to pay attention to the AL East, AL West, and then the National League; for most, the NL Central is the last on the list.

So, no wonder, Bucky, my wood delivery man was stumped, until we jointly grunted out:  “That Molina kid…uh…Pu…no he got traded…uh…” But, we were sure of one thing about those Cardinals:  since we haven’t heard of man of them, they’ll be a walk-over for the Sox; maybe a sweep.

Before the Cardinals from St. Louis show up at Fenway this Wednesday for Game One of the World Series (get your MLB World Series tickets here for any game of the October classic) let us acquaint ourselves with our opponents and size up our chances.

 

Here is the latest starting lineup for the Cards:

St. Louis

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

LOB

AVG

Carpenter, M, 2B 4 1 1 1 0 1 0 .261
Beltran, RF 4 1 3 2 0 0 0 .286
Jay, CF 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .222
Holliday, LF 5 0 0 0 0 2 4 .200
Molina, Y, C 5 2 2 1 0 1 2 .227
Freese, 3B 4 1 2 0 1 1 1 .190
Adams, M, 1B 3 1 2 1 1 0 0 .227
Robinson, S, CF-RF 4 1 2 2 0 0 4 .429
Kozma, SS 2 1 0 0 2 1 1 .067
Wacha, P 3 1 0 1 0 1 5 .000
a-Wong, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Martinez, C, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Rosenthal, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 36 9 13 8 4 7 17 .211

Recognize anybody?

Molina, Y, C; Beltran, RF and Holliday, LF might sound familiar, but the rest?  A Wong, a Wacha; a Kozma and a Jay?  Could be bird watching in a foreign country.  Yep, up heah in Maine, we got used pick-u trucks full of Carpenters, but most have interbred with Hollidays and won’t do a lick o’ work, if you can ever get them to show up.

Bonus question:  Can you name the Cardinals’ manager? [answer way below.]

Using our proprietary point system [0 to 1500] and comparison categories on Baseball Cube, let’s tally the scores and compare and contrast the starting line-up head-to-head:

CATCHER

Molina [930] vs. Saltalamacchia [600]  and Ross [400] vs. Tony Cruz [290]

Yadir, one of the Catching Molina Brothers, is second only to Buster Posey in MLB.

The best of the best

Despite all the advancement in baseball analytics and metrics, assigning an appropriate figure to a catcher’s value remains an inaccurate exercise. The catching fraternity, however, seems to have little disagreement when determining the best at their craft.

“It’s not even close,” insisted Cardinals reserve catcher Rob Johnson.

Molina’s expanding Gold Glove collection validates the assertion.” [http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/stl/following-yadier-molina-cardinals-have-best-of-best-behind-plate?ymd=20131021&content_id=63205356&vkey=news_stl&partnerId=ed-7686794-614821933]

Speed

Contact

Patience

Batting

Power

23

21

64

37

76

      21

95

31

66

31

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/tools/compare.asp

Taking batting, Salty wins Power [76/31/] by a ton and Molina is a much better contact hitter [95/21].

CUBE POINT TOTAL:  Salty 221, Molina 244.

Also, Molina is a superior defensive catcher .993 FLD and 43% CS and 4.4 WAR to Salty

.994 FLD and 21% CS and 2.9 WAR.

Molina’s 2013 Regular Season: .319/.359/.477, 131 OPS+, 5.7 WAR in 136 G

His consistency with the bat over the past few seasons suggests than an underwhelming offensive effort in the NLCS (.176 BA, 0 XBH in 20 PA) won’t carry over to the Fall Classic.

Molina is a remarkable contact hitter with very subtle platoon splits. No other catcher—or player at any other position, besides possibly Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves—has a greater defensive impact. For the eighth time in his decade of major-league experience, he caught more than 40 percent of would-be base-stealers. He is so good, in fact, that only three opposing players have even attempted a theft during 11 games against him this postseason.

Beyond the physical gifts and technique, Molina has proven to be a very cerebral player. He optimizes the performances of his battery mates by letting their specific repertoires determine strategies for sneaking out of tough jams.” [http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1816638-world-series-2013-cardinals-vs-red-sox-position-by-position-breakdown/page/2]

“[Salty] has done most of his damage came from the left side of the plate (.873 OPS as LHB, .628 OPS as RHB).

Salty has always been strikeout-prone, so the Detroit Tigers pitching staff predictably dominated him. In 27 plate appearances this October, he has whiffed 15 times.” [[http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1816638-world-series-2013-cardinals-vs-red-sox-position-by-position-breakdown/page/2]

GRAND TOTAL: Molina 1,174, Salty 821.

WINNER:  CARDINALS

NOTE:  Since the running game is a vital cog on the Sox offense, Molina’s 43% runner-thrown-out rate may dampen Boston run creation.

FIRST BASE

Napoli, RHB [770] vs. Allen Craig, RHB [1,040]

Carp, LHB [430] vs. Matt Adams, LHB [400]

ALLEN CRAIG STATS SUMMARY Bats R

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

GO/AO

SEASON 134 508 71 160 232 29 2 13 97 40 2 100 2 0 .315 .373 .457 .830 1.28
MLB Totals 372 1291 192 395 635 86 2 50 247 101 4 255 9 2 .306 .358 .492 .850 1.19

 

 

YEAR▲

TEAM

LG

LEVEL

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

GO/AO

2012 STL NL MLB 27 86 8 21 33 6 0 2 13 5 0 24 0 0 .244 .286 .384 .669 1.00
2013 STL NL MLB 108 296 46 84 149 14 0 17 51 23 0 80 0 1 .284 .335 .503 .839 1.24
MLB Totals MLB 135 382 54 105 182 20 0 19 64 28 0 104 0 1 .275 .324 .476 .801 1.18

 

Speed

Contact

Patience

Batting

Power

Craig

35

        64

           42

       79

         75

Napoli

41

        10

           86

       41

         94

 

Matt Adams

“Adams’ 2013 Regular Season: .284/.335/.503, 131 OPS+, 1.2 WAR in 108 G

Conservatively listed at 260 pounds, Adams has started 31 of the past 34 games for the Cardinals, dating back to Allen Craig’s foot injury.

He can be counted on for a lot of home runs and strikeouts, but much more of the latter when an opposing left-hander takes the mound.” [http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1816638-world-series-2013-cardinals-vs-red-sox-position-by-position-breakdown/page/3]

NOTE: If Adams plays 1b, “A glaring difference between these two is their fielding. Napoli led all MLB first baseman in Ultimate Zone Rating, according to FanGraphs (min. 500 innings), whereas Adams fell to the middle of the pack.” [http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1816638-world-series-2013-cardinals-vs-red-sox-position-by-position-breakdown/page/3]

POINT TOTALS:  Craig 295 and Napoli 272.

GRAND TOTAL: Allen Craig 1,335, Napoli 1,042.

WINNER:  CARDINALS

SECOND BASE

Pedroia 1,140 vs. Matt Carpenter 540.

Pedroia

Speed

 Contact

Patience

Batting

Power

55

96

68

87

44

Carpenter

      49

     75

              85

        74

      56

Pedroia 350, Carpenter 339

NOTE: “Serving as an everyday player for the first time in 2013, Carpenter posted an adjusted OPS that nearly matched Robinson Cano’s for the best among MLB second basemen.

His sure-handedness in the field compensates for a lack of athleticism and fluidity.

Pedroia’s 2013 Regular Season: .301/.372/.415, 116 OPS+, 6.5 WAR in 160 G

For the first time since 2007, Pedroia finished the season with a single-digit home run total. His .114 Isolated Power this year was roughly the same as notorious light hitters like Alberto Callaspo and Pedro Florimon.

Along with Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and teammate David Ortiz, Pedroia is in an exclusive group of players who annually walk about as often as they strikeout. Maintaining that stellar one-to-one ratio makes him somebody you’d want at the plate to spark a rally, and he is also a big threat at the plate with runners in scoring position.

Defensive wizardry elevates Pedroia slightly ahead of Carpenter. No other player at their position is a better decision-maker…” [http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1816638-world-series-2013-cardinals-vs-red-sox-position-by-position-breakdown/page/4]

GRAND TOTAL: Pedroia 1,490, Carpenter 829.

WINNER:  RED SOX

 

THIRD BASE

Middlebrooks 690

David Freese 1,030

Speed

 Contact

Patience

Batting

Power

31

45

59

83

66

Freese

and

Middlebrooks

      45

     23

              25

       62

      84

POINT TOTALS:  Freese 284, Middlebrooks 239.

GRAND TOTAL: Freese 1,314, Middlebrooks 929.

NOTE: “Ultimately, the former World Series hero deteriorated to a replacement-level player at age 30 because of his ugly defense at the hot corner. Only Miguel Cabrera posted a worse UZR at the position in 2013, and even he leapfrogs Freese when you adjust for innings played, per FanGraphs.

A bout of right calf tightness is exacerbating his issues.” [http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1816638-world-series-2013-cardinals-vs-red-sox-position-by-position-breakdown/page/6]

WINNER:  CARDINALS

NOTE:  Then, there is the “X-factor”—Xander Bogaerts, who can play 3b or SS and has had brief, but successful, Post-season:

2013 POSTSEASON STATS SUMMARY

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

GO/AO

DS 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
LCS 4 6 4 3 6 3 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 .500   .667  1.000  1.667  0.00
TOTALS 6 6 7  3  6 3 0 0 0 5 0 1 0 0 .500    .727  1.000  1.727  0.00

He worked the count and showed keen K-zone judgment in drawing crucial walks and has 3 doubles. Typically, batters who do not swing at pitches out of the K-zone and are patient start seeing good pitches to hit.

“[Bogaerts] The 21-year-old is just as disciplined at the plate as Freese, and his light usage since being recalled from the minors might have been a blessing in disguise. Because of it, he’s undoubtedly healthier than his Cardinals counterpart right now.

Despite his inexperience, Bogaerts has

more potential to affect this series.”

[http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1816638-world-series-2013-cardinals-vs-red-sox-position-by-position-breakdown/page/6]

SHORTSTOP

Drew 720.

Pete Kozma 400.

Drew

Speed

Contact

Patience

Batting

Power

80

48

52

63

65

and

Kozma

      45

        51

          57

        28

     37

 

CUBE TOTALS:  Drew 308, Kozma 218

GRAND TOTALS: Drew 1,028, Kozma 618

NOTE: “John Farrell values Drew’s defense more than Will Middlebrooks’, so he’ll probably continue to start regularly.

On the bright side, his decent summer suggests that he’s more likely than Kozma to suddenly heat up.” [http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1816638-world-series-2013-cardinals-vs-red-sox-position-by-position-breakdown/page/5]

WINNER: RED SOX

Our comparison of starting INF, plus C, combining two point systems, shows:

CATCHER:  CARDINALS +353

1b: CARDINALS +293

2B: RED SOX +661

3B: CARDINALS +385

SS: RED SOX +410

 

TOTALS

CARDS +1,031 [C, 1B, 3B]

RED SOX + 1,071 [2B, SS]

SUMMARY

Although the Cardinals are better than the Sox at C, 1b and 3b, because the Keystone Combo of Drew and Pedroia are so much better than Kozma and Carpenter, the Red Sox have a slight edge of 40 points, or the Sox are about 4% better at C and INF.

Bogaerts gives the Sox a better backup at 3b and SS than the Cardinals with LHB Daniel Descalso:

2013 POSTSEASON STATS SUMMARY

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

GO/AO

DS 5 9 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .111 .111 .111 .222 2.00
LCS 5 7 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 .286 .286 .286 .571 2.00
TOTALS 10 16 2 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 .188   .188   .188 .375 2.67

So, Sox fans can feel good that their team has an edge in the INF, but can worry that it is so slight.

Tomorrow, in Part Two, we will evaluate the OF.

Part Three will evaluate the Starting pitchers and Part Four will deal with the Closers and pens and DH.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

A:  Manager: Mike Matheny

St. Louis Cardinals 40-Man Roster

St. Louis Cardinals 40-man Roster

#

Pitchers

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

34 John Axford R-R 6’5″ 220 Apr 1, 1983
65 Keith Butler * R-R 6’0″ 170 Jan 30, 1989
29 Chris Carpenter 60-day DL ** R-R 6’6″ 230 Apr 27, 1975
36 Randy Choate L-L 6’1″ 210 Sep 5, 1975
67 Eric Fornataro * R-R 6’1″ 225 Jan 2, 1988
71 Sam Freeman * R-L 5’11″ 165 Jun 24, 1987
54 Jaime Garcia 60-day DL ** L-L 6’2″ 215 Jul 8, 1986
64 John Gast * L-L 6’1″ 195 Feb 16, 1989
58 Joe Kelly R-R 6’1″ 175 Jun 9, 1988
31 Lance Lynn R-R 6’5″ 240 May 12, 1987
70 Tyler Lyons * S-L 6’4″ 200 Feb 21, 1988
61 Seth Maness R-R 6’0″ 190 Oct 14, 1988
62 Carlos Martinez R-R 6’0″ 185 Sep 21, 1991
40 Shelby Miller R-R 6’3″ 215 Oct 10, 1990
30 Jason Motte 60-day DL ** R-R 6’0″ 205 Jun 22, 1982
44 Edward Mujica R-R 6’3″ 225 May 10, 1984
68 Jorge Rondon * R-R 6’1″ 215 Feb 16, 1988
26 Trevor Rosenthal R-R 6’2″ 220 May 29, 1990
59 Fernando Salas * R-R 6’2″ 210 May 30, 1985
46 Kevin Siegrist L-L 6’5″ 215 Jul 20, 1989
52 Michael Wacha R-R 6’6″ 210 Jul 1, 1991
50 Adam Wainwright R-R 6’7″ 235 Aug 30, 1981
35 Jake Westbrook * R-R 6’3″ 210 Sep 29, 1977

#

Catchers

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

48 Tony Cruz R-R 5’11″ 215 Aug 18, 1986
32 Rob Johnson * R-R 6’1″ 220 Jul 22, 1982
4 Yadier Molina R-R 5’11″ 220 Jul 13, 1982
63 Audry Perez * R-R 5’9″ 230 Dec 23, 1988

#

Infielders

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

53 Matt Adams L-R 6’3″ 260 Aug 31, 1988
13 Matt Carpenter L-R 6’3″ 215 Nov 26, 1985
21 Allen Craig * R-R 6’2″ 215 Jul 18, 1984
55 Jermaine Curtis * R-R 5’11″ 190 Jul 10, 1987
33 Daniel Descalso L-R 5’10″ 190 Oct 19, 1986
23 David Freese R-R 6’2″ 225 Apr 28, 1983
15 Rafael Furcal 60-day DL ** S-R 5’8″ 195 Oct 24, 1977
8 Ryan Jackson * R-R 6’3″ 180 May 10, 1988
38 Pete Kozma R-R 6’0″ 190 Apr 11, 1988
41 Brock Peterson * R-R 6’3″ 215 Nov 20, 1983
16 Kolten Wong L-R 5’9″ 185 Oct 10, 1990

#

Outfielders

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

3 Carlos Beltran S-R 6’1″ 210 Apr 24, 1977
Joey Butler * R-R 6’2″ 220 Mar 12, 1986
56 Adron Chambers L-L 5’10″ 200 Oct 8, 1986
7 Matt Holliday R-R 6’4″ 250 Jan 15, 1980
19 Jon Jay L-L 5’11″ 195 Mar 15, 1985
43 Shane Robinson R-R 5’9″ 165 Oct 30, 1984
  • * Not on Active Roster
  • ** Not on 40-Man Roster

 

 

Tags: Boston Red Sox Featured Popular St. Louis Cardinals World Series Preview

  • Ovadia

    Hey! As a Cardinals fan, first I think this is a great idea! Nice little outline. I must admit that I find the formatting a little challenging, but no big deal.

    Minor point, I fear that you seriously underrate Mr. Matt Carpenter (and I fear that you may see why this series). He outhit Pedroia in terms of hits (199 to 193), runs (126 to 91), doubles (55 to 42), triples (7 to 2), home runs (11 to 7) batting average (.318 to .301), on-base percentage (.392 to .372), and slugging percentage (.481 to .415). Granted Pedroia has more RBIs, but only 6 more, and Carp is our lead off hitter, meaning he has far fewer opportunities than a number three hitter. In terms of WAR, Carpenter beats Pedroia 7.0 to 5.4.

    Now don’t misunderstand me: Pedroia is very good, and is undoubtedly better than Carp defensively (this is just his first year ever at second), but I’d be very hesitant to give Pedroia an edge, much less a big one.

    All in all, however, fun and very fair article! Can’t wait for a great series!

    • boondocker2

      I have nicknamed Pedroia, “double play Pedroia”, and not for his defense.

      • Ovadia

        Well, Carp wins that category too, I guess. He only grounded into 4 double plays all season. That said, we also have Matt Holliday, and he hit into 31 . . . I guess it all balances out somewhere.

  • Mike King

    Here is what I don’t get. How do you give such a huge edge to Drew? Is he better than Kozma/Descalso, yes. Dramatically better? Not really. Drew hit 253 on the year and has been all but an automatic out in the playoffs with a grand total of 3 hits. The Cardinal combo has 8 hits in post season. Again I would give an edge to Drew just because I dislike the Cardinal SS so much, but it is not any where near what you portray it to be.

    Then what has already been commented on at second, again I would give an edge to Pedroia for his better defense and done it longer. However it is barely an edge as Carpenter was in the conversation for MVP this year in the NL.

    I think first might be a slight edge to Cardinals because Napoli came up huge in the ALCS and Craig is just coming back off the injury and has not played in 6 weeks.

    I would call third base a draw because Freese has not played well all year.

    Catcher is dramatic advantage to Cardinals.

    So I would say the infield, much like I see both teams, to be very close to being even.

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  • Rick M

    How did the Sox perform in inter-league play? They were 14-6 compared to the Cardinals 10-10. The Sox went 6-4 in inter-league road games and 8-2 at home. Cardinals finished 5-5 on both.

    Against the NL teams the Sox faced the Cards went 23-17. Against AL teams the Cards faced the Sox went 23-17.

    In 2004 the Cards were 11-1 on their inter-league and lost 4-0 to Boston. In 2006 they went 5-10 and won. 2011 was an 8-7.

    Does not seem to make a significant difference to good teams.

    As far as any stats that is just a metrics crap shoot to me. Different leagues and different styles. With some – especially WAR – there are too many variables and zero method in incorporation of intangibles – heck, even getting a definition is difficult.