It has been awhile eh? I apologize, as I have been pressed for time recently again. In the future, for a better way to see when new content is added to the site, I suggest you follow me personally on twitter <twitter.com/ryan_jones29> or Tom (he owns this site, I just write on it). His account is <twitter.com/CardinalsGM>. Whenever a new post is added to the site a link will be tweeted, so you will know exactly when a post is written. Both of us also like to tweet about the Cards during the games, so you can either just read what we have to say or tell us that we are crazy!
Anyways, back to the actual Cardinals. Overall I would say it has been a good start to the year. The Cards’ 20-14 start gives them a .588 winning percentage, which would put them in the low to mid 90’s in wins by the end of the year, which is where many people expected them to be going into the year. Using data from baseball prospectus and fangraphs gives us a good idea of where the Cardinals stand in relation to their division counterparts
The club has yet to gel together offensively. Their 4.41 runs per game average is a tad underwhelming, as that figure is good for 4th in the central divison and 11th in the N.L. Their team .338 on base % is actually tied for 6th in the league, but their .405 slugging % puts them at 10th in the N.L. There is no way a team with Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, Ludwick, and even Freese should be that low in terms of slugging %, but with guys like Schumaker and Ryan stuggling to do anything offensively and with Pujols and Holliday yet to really catch fire that’s where things stand. The Cardinals are also one of the least disciplined teams in the major leagues in terms of % of swings at pitches thrown outside of the strike zone. Cardinal batters are swinging at 27.7% of such pitches, which ranks them 10th in the N.L. In order to improve offensively, hitters need to quit swinging at so many bad pitches. It sounds like an obvious statement and anyone who watches the games can see that, but it is worthwhile to point out when the stats back it up.
This is an area where the Cardinals have dominated throughout 2010. Their 3.41 runs allowed per game is good for 3rd in the N.L. and 1st in the divison. No one else in the divison is within a run of the Cards, which is fantastic. The Cards have the 2nd best k/bb ratio in the N.L., and carry a sub 3.5 FIP as a team, which again is execellent. Another interesting note is that Cardinal curve balls are a full 10 runs better (17.6 vrs. 7.5) than any other team in the major leagues! Make no mistake about it-with guys like Wainwright and Carpenter, the Cardinals OWN the curveball.
Despite the last two nights, the Cardinals have also played some solid defense to help aid the pitching staff this season. They are converting 71% of balls put into play into outs, which leads the divison and is good enough for 3rd in the N.L. Their 10.7 UZR, which means how many runs the defense has saved compared to how many runs an average defense would have saved, as a team is also good enough for 3rd in the N.L. and first in the divison. It’s clear that the Cardinals help an already stout pitching staff shave off runs by playing execellent defense.
Despite the recent hot stretch by the Reds, the Cardinals still appear to be in a good place in the divison. Their 4.41 runs scored per game and 3.41 runs allowed per game is good enough for 1st in the divison and 4th in the league. In fact, no other team in the divison has a positive run differential like the Cardinals. In short, if a team allows more runs than it scores, in the long run they aren’t likely to keep up with a team who does the opposite. This is the uphill scenario that the rest of the divison faces when trying to take down the Cardinals in 2010. Barring injury, continue to look for good things and enjoy the games Cards fans!