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The Six St. Louis Cardinals All-Stars in Six Charts

USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals have a serious number of All-Stars this 2013 season. Each of them gets a chart in this post.

On Sunday, Edward Mujica became the sixth St. Louis Cardinal to be named to the National League All-Star team. The Cardinals closer replaces teammate Adam Wainwright, who started on Sunday in Chicago and openly campaigned for Mujica to take his spot on the active All-Star roster. Today I thought we'd kick off the All-Star break with a look at the six St. Louis All-Stars with six charts.

Yadier Molina's OPS+

Yadier Molina's offensive metamorphasis never ceases to amaze me. The above chart shows Molina's OPS+ for each season of his big-league career. In 2006, Molina's offensive production cratered out at a .595 OPS. (That was also the year he hit one of the biggest postseason homers in franchise history and, as Dan famously wrote, "grinned like Charlie Brown after sex" while triumphantly rounding the bases.) Molina made his first All-Star squad in 2009, when he posted an OPS+ of 100. He's been an All-Star ever since. This year, the game's top defensive catcher received more votes than anyone else in the NL. He's had a terrific first half, as shown by his 136 OPS+ through play on Saturday.

Carlos Beltran's HR/FB %

Carlos Beltran posted a .910 OPS despite only hitting 20 homers. He did this by hitting quite a few extra-base hits (XBH). Beltran rapped out 39 doubles and six triples while playing his home games at Citi Field and AT&T Park. Last year, Beltran had tallied 20 homers at the All-Star break. This season, he has 19 dingers. As a Cardinal, Beltran has not hit as large a share of XBH as he did in 2012. Last season, Beltran hit 32 homers to 26 doubles and one triple. This season, he has 19 homers, 12 doubles, and two triples. This is because Beltran is seeing more of his hard-hit fly balls carry out of the park. Last season, Beltran's 15% HR/FB rate tied 2004 as the second-highest HR/FB rate of his career. Through play on Saturday, Beltran had posted a 14.1% HR/FB rate this season. If he finishes the year with this rate, it will be the fifth highest HR/FB of his career.

Wainwright's K/BB

After last night's start, Adam Wainwright has totaled 130 strikeouts this season and walked 15 batters in 146 2/3 innings pitched. That is not a typo. Wainwright's K/BB is 130/15 or 8.67. Prior to this season, Wainwright's career-best K/BB was 3.80. Wainwright is having an incredible season. With inconsistency and injury striking the rotation, he has been a much-needed rock and is a very deserving All-Star.

Carpenter's OBP

Split

OBP

MLB 2B

.322

MLB Leadoff

.330

Carpenter

.393

The difficulty with which the opposing team can induce a Cardinal batter to make an out is one of the most important offensive traits, in my opinion. Having a player that makes as small a share of outs as possible is good for the team. It's also a lot of fun for fans to watch these players--Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, etc.--grind out plate appearances. We can add Matt Carpenter to this list. The man knows how to grind out plate appearances and put the barrel of the bat on a baseball. As Azru wrote, Carpenter's skill is uncanny; there really isn't another MLBer like him. His value is reflected in many ways, but look at how much more often he gets on base than his fellow second basemen and leadoff hitters. Carpenter makes an out far less often than his counterparts throughout the league.

Craig's RBI Share

Baseball is a game of failure. Even the greatest players in history made an out the majority of the time. And so it is with Allen Craig, one of the game's most prolific RBI men. Entering play on Sunday, Craig was hitting .483/.495/.685 with RISP and .397/.431/.558 with men on. Craig has dug into the batter's box with men on 174 times this season. 249 ducks have sat on the pond during Craig plate appearances. Of those 249, 67 have been driven in. This works out to Craig driving in 26.9% of those runners who have been on the basepaths during his plate appearances. That doesn't seem too awesome until one looks at the MLB average, which is a mere 15.2%. Craig has driven in over 10 percentage points more of the runners on base during his plate appearances than the league average.

Mujica's BABIP & LOB%


Split

K%

BB%

BABIP

LOB%

ERA

FIP

xFIP

SwStr%

Change%

Pre-’13 Best

26.9%

2.2%

.256

79.3%

2.92

3.20

2.65

13.9%

45.2%

2013

22.4%

1.3%

.207

87.0%

2.20

3.13

3.09

13.0%

56.69%


Edward Mujica has been this good before, in the abstract. In 2010, specifically. Mujica has had seasons where he has induced more swinging strikes and struck out more opposing batters. He's had seasons where his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) has been on par with 2013 and seasons where his xFIP--which normalizes for a league-average home run rate--has been way, way lower. The secret to Mujica's 2013 success is rather similar to the secret to Mitchell Boggs's 2012 success: unsustainably low strand rate coupled with an unsustainably opponent BABIP. This has led to an ERA of 2.20 that is 0.93 points lower than his FIP. Whether Mujica (or any reliever, really) should be an All-Star is an open question. The Chief's first-half results have been quite good, but there isn't much reason to believe his sterling results will continue.

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