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St. Louis Cardinals: A look at the loss of the longball

Jedd Gyorko was the Cardinals longball leader in 2016.

Last season, the St. Louis Cardinals surprised the baseball world by hitting a National League-leading 225 longballs. However, this off-season, the Cardinals have been bitten by the free-agency bug and have lost a few power hitting players. How will this longball loss impact their home run numbers? Well, let’s evaluate.

In 2016, Jedd Gyorko led the Redbirds with a total of 30 home runs, while Brandon Moss followed with 28.

Here is the remaining list of home runs hitters for the Cardinals:

Randal Grichuk 24

Stephen Piscotty 22

Matt Carpenter  21

Matt Holliday  20

Aledmys Diaz  17

Matt Adams  16

Jeremy Hazelbaker  12

Tommy Pham 9

Jhonny Peralta 8

Yadier Molina 8

Kolten Wong  5

Greg Garcia  3

Adam Wainwright  2, which makes a grand total of 225 home runs as a team.

Adam Wainwright

This off-season, the Cardinals have lost Matt Holliday to the New York Yankees, Jeremy Hazelbaker to the Arizona Diamondbacks and will likely lose Brandon Moss. Yes, that is only three players, but as a group, they hit 60 of the Cardinals 225 home runs. Without Moss, Holliday and Hazelbaker last season, the Cardinals would have only hit 165 home runs, which would have put them in 22nd place for most home runs in the 2016 season. No, coming in 2nd place or 22nd place doesn’t win you a championship, but the addition or loss of 60 home runs will certainly impact a team.

Not to mention the 92 runs that were scored via those 60 home runs.

While we would hope that Kolten Wong and Jhonny Peralta would hit a few more dingers, if they played a full season, the Cardinals can also bank on gaining a few long balls from their new center fielder, Dexter Fowler. Last season with the rival Chicago Cubs, Fowler hit 13 home runs and drove in a total of 17 runs. Only four of Fowler’s home runs were hit at Wrigley Field, while three were against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals and GM John Mozeliak had the option of pursuing sluggers Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion this off-season, but it became pretty clear that while the longball is nice, those big bats did not fit into the Cards lineup. The off-season is still raging and the club could still add a big bat, but look for their offensive focus to shift away from power in 2017.

No, I do not think that the mighty loss of the longball will affect the Cardinals tremendously, because the team has improved excessively in terms of having more players who can get on base more and strike out less often. If you are a big home run fan like me, then yes, we may be a little disappointed in the decline of home runs next season, but I also believe we will be pleased with being an on base team instead of a long ball or strike out team.

Thank you for reading!

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  • Ben Cerutti

    I think the team will have a better balance between the OBP and SLG types this year. If you go position by position with the presumed starting lineup:
    C – Molina
    1B – Carpenter
    2B – Wong
    3B – Peralta
    SS – Diaz
    LF – Grichuk
    CF – Fowler
    RF – Piscotty

    and bench of:
    C – Fryer
    1B/PH/DH – Adams
    INF – Gyorko
    INF – Garcia
    OF – Pham

    This team could still conceivably have the following home runs per position:
    10+ at catcher
    30+ at first base
    20+ at second base
    20+ at short stop
    20+ at third base (with Gyorko backing up at all three non-first-base infield positions)
    25+ in left field
    10+ in center field
    20+ in right field

    I would think that would be fine so long as the team is getting on base as well as we think they might.

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