Meet the Cardinals, Sox World Series Foe

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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?

Most 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, 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

, 2B4111010.261

Beltran

, RF4132000.286

Jay

, CF1010000.222

Holliday

, LF5000024.200

Molina, Y

, C5221012.227

Freese

, 3B4120111.190

Adams, M

, 1B3121100.227

Robinson, S

, CF-RF4122004.429

Kozma

, SS2100211.067

Wacha

, P3101015.000a-

Wong

, PH1000000.000

Martinez, C

, P0000000.000

Rosenthal

, P0000000.000Totals3691384717.211

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

SEASON13450871160232292139740210020.315.373.457.8301.28MLB Totals372129119239563586250247101425592.306.358.492.8501.19

 

 

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

NLMLB27868213360213502400.244.286.384.6691.002013

STL

NLMLB108296468414914017512308001.284.335.503.8391.24MLB TotalsMLB13538254105182200196428010401.275.324.476.8011.18

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

DS203000000200001.0001.000LCS46436300030100.500  .667 1.000 1.667 0.00TOTALS667 3 6300050100.500   .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

DS59011000000000.111.111.111.2222.00LCS57222000000300.286.286.286.5712.00TOTALS1016233000000300.188  .188  .188.3752.67

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-R6’5″220Apr 1, 198365

Keith Butler

*R-R6’0″170Jan 30, 198929

Chris Carpenter

60-day DL **R-R6’6″230Apr 27, 197536

Randy Choate

L-L6’1″210Sep 5, 197567

Eric Fornataro

*R-R6’1″225Jan 2, 198871

Sam Freeman

*R-L5’11”165Jun 24, 198754

Jaime Garcia

60-day DL **L-L6’2″215Jul 8, 198664

John Gast

*L-L6’1″195Feb 16, 198958

Joe Kelly

R-R6’1″175Jun 9, 198831

Lance Lynn

R-R6’5″240May 12, 198770

Tyler Lyons

*S-L6’4″200Feb 21, 198861

Seth Maness

R-R6’0″190Oct 14, 198862

Carlos Martinez

R-R6’0″185Sep 21, 199140

Shelby Miller

R-R6’3″215Oct 10, 199030

Jason Motte

60-day DL **R-R6’0″205Jun 22, 198244

Edward Mujica

R-R6’3″225May 10, 198468

Jorge Rondon

*R-R6’1″215Feb 16, 198826

Trevor Rosenthal

R-R6’2″220May 29, 199059

Fernando Salas

*R-R6’2″210May 30, 198546

Kevin Siegrist

L-L6’5″215Jul 20, 198952

Michael Wacha

R-R6’6″210Jul 1, 199150

Adam Wainwright

R-R6’7″235Aug 30, 198135

Jake Westbrook

*R-R6’3″210Sep 29, 1977

#

Catchers

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

48

Tony Cruz

R-R5’11”215Aug 18, 198632

Rob Johnson

*R-R6’1″220Jul 22, 19824

Yadier Molina

R-R5’11”220Jul 13, 198263

Audry Perez

*R-R5’9″230Dec 23, 1988

#

Infielders

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

53

Matt Adams

L-R6’3″260Aug 31, 198813

Matt Carpenter

L-R6’3″215Nov 26, 198521

Allen Craig

*R-R6’2″215Jul 18, 198455

Jermaine Curtis

*R-R5’11”190Jul 10, 198733

Daniel Descalso

L-R5’10”190Oct 19, 198623

David Freese

R-R6’2″225Apr 28, 198315

Rafael Furcal

60-day DL **S-R5’8″195Oct 24, 19778

Ryan Jackson

*R-R6’3″180May 10, 198838

Pete Kozma

R-R6’0″190Apr 11, 198841

Brock Peterson

*R-R6’3″215Nov 20, 198316

Kolten Wong

L-R5’9″185Oct 10, 1990

#

Outfielders

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

3

Carlos Beltran

S-R6’1″210Apr 24, 1977

Joey Butler

*R-R6’2″220Mar 12, 198656

Adron Chambers

L-L5’10”200Oct 8, 19867

Matt Holliday

R-R6’4″250Jan 15, 198019

Jon Jay

L-L5’11”195Mar 15, 198543

Shane Robinson

R-R5’9″165Oct 30, 1984

  • * Not on Active Roster
  • ** Not on 40-Man Roster
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