When looking at the Cardinals offensive numbers so far this season, it is easy to think that it is just small sample size and there will be serious regression but it seems like we will see a very different Cardinals team in 2016.
I have been a Cardinals fan for awhile now. I have seen them score a lot. I have seen them score a little. As recent as 2013, when the Redbirds led the league with RISP, we saw an offense that simply would not go away. But for the most part, MV3 years aside, the Cardinals have never been the type of team to beat you with their muscles. This notion at least holds true for their recent dynastic success.
But 2016 is a very different year. The Cardinals, as of yesterday, are only 1 home run behind the league leading Diamondbacks thanks to two bad pitches Waino left over the middle of the plate (but if you get rid of those, he actually had a decent outing but that is a subject for a different article) that brought their total to 34. Think about that, if the Cardinals have another power show tonight against Rubby De La Rosa (big possibility), they will lead the league in the category with 35. That was something that none of us going into the season could have thought of.
To get something out of the way first, many would say that the Cardinals have feasted on terrible pitching for the majority of the season and to that I would counter with the fact that the Cardinals have always had games against bad pitching and this has never happened. Also, even in down years, Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, and Patrick Corbin are not bad pitchers and the Cardinals have shelled them in 3 consecutive days.
The Cardinals have scored 7 runs in 4 straight games (with at least 2 HR in each); 32 home runs this season. pic.twitter.com/TvJ3JIdRrs
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) April 28, 2016
But power is not the only arrow in the Cardinals quiver when it comes to scoring runs, they are also aided by an on-base percentage that is second in the Bigs (to Pittsburgh…) at .362. When we are not hitting the ball over the fence or in the gap, there are runners on causing havoc for the opposing pitcher. It simply is not fair when you think about it. The second highest team in terms of slugging (that’s right, the Cardinals lead the league in slugging too at .504) is Colorado, at .485, who has only an OBP of .334.
No other team is like the Cardinals as off right now. The way that the Redbirds are coupling on-base prowess with muscly power is something that pitchers are not looking forward too facing. This combination is why I think they will maintain this offensive clip with some regression possible. Do I think that they will lead the league in homeruns at the end of the year or even May for that matter? Obviously no. But what I do think is we will at least be in the top 10 which is huge step up from our 25th place finish in 2015.
Also, this is a very different team than we seen in the past simply based on the personnel that we have. The players that are hitting the home runs (Jeremy Hazelbaker, Brandon Moss, Jedd Gyorko, Stephen Piscotty, and Aledmys Diaz. These are the top home run hitters on the team with 5,5,4,4, and 3 respectively) were either not with the team full time last year, hurt, or simply not on the team. These new Cardinals are flexing their muscles and it is a welcome sight.
Will there be regression? Yes. But it won’t be enough to fall off the offensive face of the earth. This should be fun to watch as long as it lasts. Take a seat and enjoy the show.
-Hope you enjoyed
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports