After 2 weeks of our writers reviewing every aspect of the Cardinals 2016 season from players to the front office, here’s a look at how the organization did overall.
Position in Review: Catcher by Adam Kaufman
As Adam wrote about two weeks ago, Yadier Molina was a highlight this year for the Cards. He dominated both at the plate and behind the plate, and managed to play in a career-high 147 games. Outside of Molina, the depth at catcher was relatively weak. Eric Fryer managed to impress, but he was claimed by the Pirates in early July. Alberto Rosario, Carson Kelly, and Brayan Pena managed to split uneventful backup duties for the rest of the season, but overall, Molina continued to amaze in his 13th season.
Position in Review: First Base by Mack Hoyt
According to yours truly, first base was a point of trouble for the Cardinals this season. Matt Adams, Brandon Moss, Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyorko, and Matt Holliday contributed to playing first, but none of these players were able to shine. Adams saw the most time at first, but he had problems with striking out and getting on base. Moss crushed homerun after homerun, but had an abysmal batting average. Carpenter hit well in 2016, but he is primarily a third and second baseman. Overall, first base proved to be inconsistent for the Redbirds.
Position in Review: Second Base by Neel Kale
Between a productive Matt Carpenter, an on-base-machine in Greg Garcia, the power-hitting Jedd Gyorko, and the DL riddled Kolten Wong, the Cardinals had a good year for second basemen. But without Wong, the defense suffered. Overall, nothing too special, but nothing to worry about for the Cards at second.
Position in Review: Third Base by Jack Stephens
Similar to second base, third base this year relied on replacements for injuries. The combination of Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta, Ruben Tejada, Greg Garcia, and Jedd Gyorko produced nothing special, but the position as a whole didn’t struggle. But hopefully in 2017, one player is able to stay healthy and productive to start for the year at third.
Position in Review: Shortstop by Tyler Brandt
Potentially the Cards biggest upside of the year came at short stop, where Aledmys Diaz proved to be a premier player when he was called up for the first time this season. Diaz was even comparable to Derek Jeter in his rookie season. The Cardinals have a gem in Diaz, and his future is bright.
Position in Review: Outfield by Joe Dattoli
Between Kolten Wong, Brandom Moss, Tommy Pham, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty and Matt Holliday, the Cardinals had an underwhelming season in the outfield. Compared to the rest of the MLB, in each of the three positions in outfield the Cardinals ranked close to the bottom in AVG and OBP, but made up for that in SLG and homeruns. But on the defensive side, the Cards were awful. Overall, improvement and consistency is needed next season in order for the outfield to be productive.
Position in Review: Starting Pitchers by Mack Hoyt
The Cardinals starting rotation in 2016 was nothing special, but good enough to help them into the playoffs. But unfortunately, pitching isn’t all that is needed to make the postseason as Carlos Martinez and Co. found out. Between the regulars (Wainwright, Martinez, Garcia, Wacha, and Leake), and the call ups/replacements (Weaver, Reyes, and Mayers), the Cardinals struggled with inconsistency, but overall had a productive year.
Position in Review: Closer by Neel Kale
After an awful start to the year with Trevor Rosenthal closing out the 9th, Seung-hwan Oh dominated the rest of the season. As a 33-year-old rookie there are obviously hesitations about his future, but in 2016 and presumably 2017 Oh was one of the best closers in the MLB.
Position in Review: Bullpen by John Kern
Rounding out the Cards pitchers, the bullpen was another asset for the Cardinals in 2016. Although the depth was relatively shallow, Siegrist, Bowman, and Duke were surprisingly effective. The middle-relievers also had some success, and the only drawback seemed to be injuries.
Position in Review: The Bench by Aiden Rogatz
Between young prospects and aged veterans, the Cardinals bench was one of the highlights on the 2016 season. There was plenty of depth, enough to fill in for many injuries that occurred this year, the Cardinals even broke the record for most homeruns by pinch hitters this year.
Position in Review: Front Office by Adam Kaufman
The 2016 season saw only 2 moves made by the Redbirds front office. General Manager John Mozeliak traded for Jose Martinez in May, and Zach Duke in July. Zach Duke was very productive in his second half of the year, and Martinez performed very well in 16 at bats in September, but these two minor moves could not improve all of the holes that the Cardinals had, especially with injuries to their lineup and inconsistency in the outfield.
Overall Review on the Season: B+
The Cardinals finished the year in the worst way possible— missing the playoffs by 1 game. In the infield and the pitching staff the Cards saw a lot of productivity. But the outfield was a liability to the Cardinals all season, and the front office didn’t do anything to improve it. The Cardinals definitely have what it takes to have a great season in 2017 if they are able to stay healthy, but they came up just a tad short this year.