How disappointing have the St. Louis Cardinals batters been so far this young season?

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis offense has gotten off to a slow start this season. Which individual players have been the most disappointing?

Jenrry Mejia, Scott Rice, Carlos Torres, and Kyle Farnsworth collaborated to shut out the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday at Citi Field. It was the third time the Redbirds were held to zero runs in their first 20 games. The St. Louis offense has struggled early this year, and it's been rather frustrating to watch.

After last night's lackluster batting performance, I thought it might be fun to try and pin the blame on individual batsmen for the club's struggles. To do so, we need a performance baseline for expectations. I used an average of the VEB Community, ZiPS, Steamer, Oliver, and PECOTA 2014 preseason projections for this. Then I compared the primary position players' performance against their projections. I also excluded players with tiny PA totals such as Mark Ellis, Shane robinson, and Daniel Descalso.

Since there is no reason to expect the Cardinals to bat as poorly as they have to start the year all season, I also added the ZiPS and Steamer Rest of Season (RoS) projections for each player. There's hope for a better tomorrow.

I've ranked the Cardinals from most disappointing to least disappointing (most pleasing?). I used Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) for the rankings, since it's the most accurate and comprehensive batting stat. The higher a percentage the player's 2014 wOBA was below his projection, the most disappointing. And vice versa.

1) Allen Craig

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.294

.352

.466

.818

.356

Season to Date

.197

.256

.282

.538

.245

Raw Diff.

-.097

-.096

-.184

-.280

-.111

% Diff.

-32.99%

-27.27%

-39.48%

-34.23%

-31.18%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.274

.330

.435

.765

.338

Steamer RoS

.288

.345

.457

.802

.353

RoS Avg.

.281

.338

.446

.784

.346

Craig's start to the season was positively dreadful. As VEB's Craig detailed, the Cardinals' Craig was hitting grounders everywhere—struggling to bat the ball out of the infield. But there's reason for hope. After Monday night's two-hit performance, Craig is batting .297/.366/.459/.825 over his past ten games. That's essentially equivalent to what his preseason projections average was.

2) Peter Bourjos

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.254

.311

.395

.706

.311

Season to Date

.190

.261

.310

.571

.258

Raw Diff.

-.064

-.050

-.085

-.135

-.053

% Diff.

-25.20%

-16.08%

-21.52%

-19.12

-17.04%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.254

.310

.414

.724

.320

Steamer RoS

.241

.299

.373

.672

.300

RoS Avg.

.248

.305

.394

.699

.310

Bourjos put together an excellent spring, batting for a .324/.405/.459/.864 line. Unfortunately, spring-training stats are meaningless. And Bourjos is providing anecdotal evidence of that at present. The speedster has twice as many strikeouts as he does hits, 16 to 8. Bourjos has managed to walk just three times in his first 46 PAs.

3) Matt Holliday

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.288

.370

.479

.849

.370

Season to Date

.239

.333

.352

.685

.308

Raw Diff.

-0.49

-.037

-.127

-.164

-.062

% Diff.

-17.01%

-10.00%

26.51%

-19.32%

-16.76%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.275

.359

.480

.839

.360

Steamer RoS

.286

.371

.473

.844

.370

RoS Avg.

.281

.365

.477

.842

.365

Holliday has a tendency to have slow starts at the plate. Holliday's .297/.364/.476/.840 March and April batting line is the lowest of his career. Oh, that this was considered "slow" starting for more Cardinals. This season, Holliday is living up to his reputation. He's been quite bad.

4) Kolten Wong

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.265

.316

.377

.693

.300

Season to Date

.237

.297

.288

.585

.261

Raw Diff.

-0.28

-.019

-0.89

-.108

-0.39

% Diff.

-10.57%

-6.01%

-23.61%

-15.58%

-13.00%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.264

.315

.373

.688

.306

Steamer RoS

.262

.313

.367

.680

.302

RoS Avg.

.263

.314

.370

.684

.304

Wong's batting line has ebbed and flowed like one might expect in the small sample size of April. After a solid start, his stats sagged, only to rise again. Of course, they've since fallen some more. Wong's struggles at the plate have apparently motivated manager Mike Matheny to give him two consecutive days off with veteran Ellis starting a second base.

5) Jhonny Peralta

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.263

.321

.402

.723

.318

Season to Date

.164

.243

.388

.631

.281

Raw Diff.

-0.99

-0.78

-0.14

-0.92

-0.37

% Diff.

-37.64%

-24.30%

-3.48%

-12.72%

-11.64%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.258

.313

.411

.724

.320

Steamer RoS

.250

.313

.384

.697

.310

RoS Avg.

.254

.313

.398

.711

.315

Peralta's batting average has dragged down his other stats, to be sure, but his 9.5 BB% is heartening. While hits have been hard to come by for the veteran shortstop, he's made them count. So far this young season, Peralta has a .224 ISO. Seven of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases.

6) Matt Carpenter

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.291

.369

.441

.809

.356

Season to Date

.268

.379

.310

.689

.321

Raw Diff.

-.023

+.010

-.131

-.120

-.035

% Diff.

-7.9%

+2.71%

-29.71%

-14.83%

-9.83%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.270

.355

.404

.759

.339

Steamer RoS

.280

.366

.415

.781

.349

RoS Avg.

.275

.361

.410

.771

.344


One of the best arguments in favor of players with a good batting eye who work the count and draw walks is the insulation such an approach provides when they aren't hitting for a high average or power. Carpenter's current slump is a bizarre one because of his plate discipline. His 14.9 BB% has fueled an excellent .379 OBP even though his BA (.268) and SLG (.310) are failing to meet expectations. The result is a batter with a wRC+ of 104 that is slightly above average.

7) Jon Jay

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.277

.342

.382

.724

.322

Season to Date

.275

.341

.450

.791

.342

Raw Diff.

-.002

-.001

+.068

+.067

+.020

% Diff.

-0.72%

-0.29%

+17.80%

+9.25%

+6.21%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.273

.340

.381

.721

.321

Steamer RoS

.276

.341

.385

.726

.323

RoS Avg.

.275

.341

.383

.724

.322

Jay has met expectations and exceeded them this infant season. Jay's average and OBP are right in line with expectations, and his power so far has been rather surprising. This has earned him a fair amount of playing time over the last several games.

8) Matt Adams

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.268

.317

.479

.796

.344

Season to Date

.338

.364

.486

.850

.374

Raw Diff.

+.070

+.047

+.007

+.054

+.030

% Diff.

+26.12%

+14.83%

+1.46%

+6.78%

+8.72%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.277

.317

.470

.787

.345

Steamer RoS

.271

.319

.465

.784

.343

RoS Avg.

.274

.318

.468

.786

.344

Adams has had a nice start to the season. The lefthanded batter has hit for a high average that has propped up a nearly walkless OBP. And Adams has seen only a slight dip in his Isolated Power (ISO) from last season, which is heartening.

9) Yadier Molina

2014

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Projection Avg.

.295

.346

.437

.783

.340

Season to Date

.347

.373

.528

.901

.392

Raw Diff.

+.052

+.027

+.091

+.118

+.052

% Diff.

+17.63%

+7.80%

+20.82%

+15.07%

+15.29%



Rest of Season

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ZiPS RoS

.297

.344

.442

.786

.345

Steamer RoS

.291

.342

.434

.776

.340

RoS Avg.

.294

.343

.438

.781

.343

I'm not sure exactly when exactly it happened, but Yadi has become appointment television. Hungry for a mid-game snack? That can wait until after Yadi bats. Thirsty? The drink can be grabbed later because Yadi is due up this inning. Down in the late innings? If we can just get Yadi up with runners on, we have a chance. This April, Yadi has rewarded such diligent observation. He is hitting for average and power, and it's an absolute joy to behold.

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