2013 Was Another Happy Holliday Season for the St. Louis Cardinals

H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Holliday had a really good season again in 2013. Given the offensive environment he played in, it might be the most impressive season of his career.

'Tis the season for me to to write a post about how good Matt Holliday is at baseball so that I can give it a punny headline.

In 2013, as with every other year Holliday's worn the birds on the bat, Holliday performed at an elite level. For your consideration, Holliday's 2013 stats:

G

PA

R

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

fWAR

141

602

103

22

94

.300

.389

.490

.879

.190

.383

148

4.5

Holliday's age 33 season for the Cardinals was close to his career average season.

HOLLIDAY: 2013 vs. CAREER AVERAGE SEASON


PA

R

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

Average

612

95

25

97

.311

.387

.531

.911

.220

.394

140

2013

602

103

22

94

.300

.389

.490

.879

.190

.383

148

The chart makes clear that Holliday's power was lacking in 2013, as compared to his average career season. The reasons for this are two: Busch Stadium is particularly sapping to right-handed batters' power and slugging has fallen off over all of baseball in recent years. To illustrate, let's compare Holliday's all-universe 2007 with his less-ballyhooed 2013.

In 2007, Holliday placed second in the National League MVP vote on the strength of the following batting feats:

G

PA

R

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

158

713

120

36

137

.340

.405

.607

1.012

.267

.428

151

Holliday's 2007 batting line is eye-popping. It was worth 7.8 Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Holliday's 2013 was worth 4.5 fWAR. On the surface, Holliday's 2007 in Colorado was clearly better than his 2013 seasons in St. Louis.

HOLLIDAY: 2007 vs. 2013

Year

PA

R

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

2007

713

120

36

137

.340

.405

.607

1.012

.267

.428

151

2013

602

103

22

94

.300

.389

.490

.879

.190

.383

148

Diff.

-111

-17

-14

-43

-.040

-.016

-.117

-.133

-.077

-.045

-3

No matter which rate stat one looks at, Holliday's 2007 was superior to his 2013 on paper. That is, until we get to the last column--Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+).

wRC+ is a stat that takes a players batting line and adjusts it in two ways: (1) It adjusts for park effects; and (2) It adjusts for the overall run-scoring environment of the league. wRC+ also adjusts a player's batting line to a scale on which 100 is average. Every point above 100 is one percentage point above average (and every point below 100 is a percentage point below average).

The reason that Holliday's 2007 and 2013 are so close in wRC+ is that Holliday put up the two offensive lines in very different batting environments. In 2007, he was hitting in the high altitude hitting paradise of Denver during a healthy run-scoring period for MLB overall. Last season, Holliday was hitting in the right-handed batting hell of Busch Stadium III during an offensive depression in MLB as a whole.

OVERALL MLB BATTING STATS: 2007 vs. 2013

Year

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

2007

.268

.336

.423

.758

.155

.331

2013

.253

.318

.396

.714

.143

.314

RHB STATS: COORS 2007 vs. BUSCH 2013

Year

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

2007

.294

.351

.469

.820

.175

.355

2013

.243

.302

.356

.658

.115

.291

Busch Stadium was death for righthanded batsmen in 2013. The difference in righthanded batter performance in 2007 Coors and 2013 Busch is staggering. So large in the gulf that Holliday's 2013 batting line in Busch might be more impressive than his 2007 stats in Coors.

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