I’m sure you guys were all A students and never got nervous when mid-term report cards got sent out, right?
Wasn’t the case for me.
There were generally 2-3 classes every semester where I was relying on the benevolence of my teachers in order to avoid a grounding. Every day that envelope didn’t arrive in the mail was another day of life as is – a reprieve!
Point is… I know how these Cardinals are feeling.
Dreading columns and blog posts like this one highlighting that they’re 43-45 at the All-Star Game break and 5.5 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central. Pointing out the multiple rough patches the team and players have incurred (including a 7-game skid in early June).
They’re still not out of it. They still have time to turn it around… to ‘reach their potential’.
Still, we’ve got to take note of where the team is currently at going into the All-Star Game break.
Just like real life, these grades are on a curve.
These players were awesome. Don’t need to qualify it. The exceeded all expectations. Keep up the great work.
Expectation? A super-sub that could spell Peralta and Wong, DH in interleague games and be a power threat off the bench to pinch-hit.
Reality? He’s been the Cardinals most consistent offensive player (produced a 3.4 WAR so far in 2017), is the everyday 3B and with a 6M contract (in which the Padres pay 2M), he’s the best value on the team.
Expectation? Um… play pretty good in the minors this season?
Reality? You could argue he just completed the best regular season 3-game series by a Cardinals player – ever. In 128 ABs so far in 2017, he’s had 40 hits, 37 RBIs, 9 HRs and a slash line of .313/.602/.932.
Expectation? Wasn’t really a consensus expectation prior to the season, just a hope that the talented OF could sting together an extended stay in MLB and fill in when needed or pinch-hit.
Reality? He’s played good enough to start serious conversations about moving Dexter Fowler from center and benching Randal Grichuk.
These players were solid. Had some issues here and there, but if they replicate their 1st halves through the rest of the season everyone will be happy.
Expectation? Solid #3 in the rotation that could be counted on every turn to keep the Cardinals in the game. Improvement from shaky first season as a Cardinal.
Reality? After a May 24th win against the Dodgers, Leake’s ERA was 1.91 and he was in the mix to start the All-Star Game for the NL. He promptly lost 4 straight games before righting the ship. His record (6-7) and most recent start (a 3.2 inning dud against the Marlins) don’t look great, but overall, Leake was a pleasant first half surprise.
Expectation? To be Yadier Molina.
Reality? After a bit of a rough start to 2017 where his new contract extension had everyone biting their fingernails, he’s basically back to being Yadier Molina.
When you’re 2 games under .500 at the break, it’s because most of your roster is average. I know, I know – insight like this should be behind a paywall.
In the interest of time, here are some players that were neither so good that they deserved kudos for rising above expectations or so poor that they deserved to be called out. They were just about what you’d imagine the average version of them to be:
- Michael Wacha
- Greg Garcia
- Dexter Fowler
- Lance Lynn
- Tyler Lyons
- Matt Carpenter
- Adam Wainwright
- Matt Bowman
- Seung-Hwan Oh
- Sam Tuivailala
- Adam Wainwright
This group did not live up to expectations heading into the season.
Expectation? Ace. Stopper of slides. Leader of staff.
Reality? He has lost 4 starts in a row heading into the ASG and hasn’t managed to go deeper than 6 innings since 6/10 (against the Phillies). Again, this has nothing to do with his talent – he has the stuff to be an ace. But so far 2017 has been disappointing.
Also, I’m aware he is an All-Star in 2017.
Expectation? Everyday LF that anchors the middle of the lineup with power. Will have improved consistency at the plate.
Reality? He was sent to back to the low minors for a swing ‘correction’ and has been all or nothing (48 hits, including 25 XBH with 74 strikeouts in 223 ABs). He looks to be the odd man out now that Dex is healthy and Pham is playing well.
Expectation? LH stopper.
Reality? I was thiiiiiis close to giving him a C. But then I went back to his game log and realized there was a point less than 2 months ago when Cecil’s contract was on pace to be the worst deal ever given out by the Cardinals. But in the past 14 appearances, he hasn’t given up a run. So he’s trending in the right direction.
Expectation? Push Oh for the closing job or become a super RP in the mold of Andrew Miller.
Reality? He’s been unsteady all season. In 33.1 innings pitches he’s given up 26 hits, 15 earned runs, and 16 walks. His ERA has held above 4 for all of July. And he hasn’t been able to unseat Oh as the closer even when Oh has struggled.
Expectation? Just please, please, please play well enough to where Yadi can get some days off early in the season.
Reality? Yeah. Didn’t happen.
Expectation? Cornerstone player in RF.
Reality? Far too many games in 2017 where he’s just been forgotten about completely. He does just enough to avoid a ton of scrutiny, but never enough to go ‘Piscotty carried the team tonight’. His last game with multiple hits and multiple RBIs in a Cardinals win? April 12th.
Expectation? Improves defense and solidifies himself as the Cardinals shortstop of the future.
Reality? He’s currently in the minors.
Expectation? Not have a Kolten Wong season.
Reality? He’s having a Kolten Wong season.
Expectation? A reliable bullpen contributor at the MLB level.
Reality? -0.7 WAR | 18.2 IP | 27 hits | 18 ER | 8.68 ERA
Expectation? Starting 3B. Source of power.
Reality? He was released from the team and chances are you haven’t thought about Jhonny for weeks until seeing his name right now.
Expectation? Reliable 7th inning strike out guy. Can handle the 8th inning if pen is on short rest or Rosenthal is slumping.
Reality? Broxton had a very poor 20 games for the Cardinals in 2017: 15.2 IP | 23 hits | 12 ER | 6.89 ERA | -0.3 WAR. He was released by the team on the last day in May.
These are players that have been part of the team so far in 2017, but haven’t gotten enough reps (yet) to give them a full grade.
Expectation? None. If you had any at the big-league level for Voit, your last name is probably Voit.
Reality? His first 38 ABs have been promising. 12 hits, 3 HRs and an OBP of .366.
Expectation? Maybe Berbbia was on your radar before the season, I personally had to look him up when he appeared on the mound for the first time.
Reality? Dude has been solid out of the bullpen for the Cardinals and is turning into a player that gets the call when the Cardinals need an inning after the 5th.
Reality? He’s played in 8 MLB games, has fewer ABs than Luke Voit and fans vacillate between him being the next Willie McGee and including him in a trade for Josh Donaldson straight up.
Expectation? Cup of coffee here or there if injuries become a problem?
Reality? He’s had a couple of nice moments for the team, but he’s not quite ready to be a full time MLB player for the Cardinals.
Added Kolten Wong, Aledmys Diaz, Jose Martinez, Miguel Socolovich and Jonathan Broxton.
Photo: Freeport News Network