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St. Louis Cardinals: Looking back at the rough start

Carlos Martinez

On April 13th, I wrote a post on 5 stats that were surely to get better. At the time, the Cardinals were 3-6 and off to the worst start in the Mike Matheny era. The club has not really turned things around, but have these individual stats improved? Let’s take a look

Stat #1 – Dexter Fowler’s 39 wRC+

Of the five stats that I looked at, this one was surely to improve, and it has significantly. Fowler currently has a 102 wRC+, which is still well below his career numbers, but above average for center fielders. However, the Cardinals are not paying Dexter Fowler to have a 102 wRC+. While his slugging percentage is above career levels, his on base percentage is well below, probably contributing somewhat to Matt Carpenter’s shift back to the top spot.

Stat #2 – Stephen Piscotty 26.9% K rate

For someone with a career rate near 20%, the 26.9% number that we saw in the first week plus seemed unsustainable, and it was. Currently, Piscotty is at a 17.6% K rate, which is a pretty good number. With a .369 OBP and lower slugging numbers, why not move him up in the lineup?

Stat #3 – Matt Carpenter 21.7% hard hit rate

In the two months since the original post, Carpenter has doubled his hard hit rate to 43.5%, which is also his career high. A lot has been talked about his poor start, or perceived poor start, but Carp is currently at a 120 wRC+, which is slightly below his career 131.

Stat #4 – Lance Lynn 6.66 FIP

Maybe we should have known how the season would go when we saw this number in the first place. This has improved, but probably not to the point it will or should. Currently, Lynn has a 4.74 FIP, which would be his major league career high by over a run. Lynn’s big discrepancy between ERA and FIP show that his low ERA is somewhat of a misnomer.

Stat #5 – Carlos Martinez 66.2% LOB (left on base) rate

This was an easy stat to predict improvement from. Prior to this year, Martinez’s lowest LOB rate was 71.5%. A low LOB rate usually leads to a higher ERA. Martinez has increased his LOB rate all the way to 74.9%, which is still significantly less than his past two seasons. If he can raise it even more, you will likely see his 2.95 ERA fall. Martinez is definitely on pace for a career year as he already has accumulated a fWAR of 2.3 and his career high was in 2015 at 3.4.

As you can see, all of these stats have improved, but each of them not to where they should be. Also, none of these stats are base running or defense, which have been the two biggest problems for the club. In a month or so, I will update these numbers to see if they are getting more towards career numbers.

Thanks for reading!

Father, husband, teacher who currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Grew up in St. Louis and has been a huge Cards fan as long as I can remember.
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