Tracking all those draft signings can be a real pain in the neck this time of year, so your VEB staff went ahead and created a draft tracker so that all the verifiable information available on bonuses, signings, and the like will exist in one place for a quick glance from time to time:
Bookmark that link or bookmark this post -- we'll be updating that daily as more information comes out about signings. Trust me, it beats having to wade through Jim Callis' list that has all the other teams on it too.
Just a few notes on the rumors out there already:
- Ronnie Williams signing for slot is a pretty big deal. He was a high school kid and a fairly high draft pick, so getting him at his slot number frees up some bonus money with which the Cardinals can sign later round picks like Justin Bellinger or Colin Megill.
- The rumor is that Jack Flaherty signed for $2M, as RB reported here the other day. If that's the real number that's a heck of a steal for the Cardinals on a high schooler like Flaherty who's probably top 15 type of talent that fell in the draft due to what some teams classified as a firm commitment to UNC. I guess all those "athlete only" classes Rashard McCants keeps talking about ruined the Tar Heel experience for him. Oh, and the two million clams. As soon as we get an official report on that we'll add it to the tracker
- Justin Bellinger was spotted wearing a Cardinals T-Shirt on his own Instagram account. If he's planning on going to college, I hope he paid for that shirt, or ends up going to North Carolina. I hear they don't much care for NCAA regulations up there on Chapel Hill.
- As you can see in the DFR today, Nick Washington played his first professional game last night with State College. No word on how he performed in team trivia later at the bar, but considering his background he was likely a valuable asset.
When you can only win by shutting the other team out:
Lance Lynn and Trevor Rosenthal combined to shut out the Washington Nationals last night, which prompted Derrick Goold to drop this tidbit on Twitter:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>To put these shutouts in perspective: at same rate of this season (14 of 35 wins) <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Cardinals&src=hash">#Cardinals</a> would have had 39 shutouts last summer.</p>— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) <a href="https://twitter.com/dgoold/statuses/477644430254428161">June 14, 2014</a></blockquote>
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That's...saying something isn't it?
The good: Our pitching staff is talented enough that it has shut out opponents 14 times already this season. Last season the team completed a shutout in only 15 games for the entire year. Bob Gibson only threw 13 in 1968, by himself, along with 28 complete games -- okay, bad example.
Part of this is the run scoring environment, which is as low now as it's been in some time. The MLB totals for shutouts has also eclipsed last years entire total and we're not even to the All-Star break yet. The Cardinals only lead the league by 1 over the Rangers for most team shutouts in baseball. Still, it's an impressive feat.
The bad: The way this team continues to not score runs, they're going to need to keep shutting people out in order to win baseball games. The Cardinals have dipped to 26th in baseball offensively, with just 3.70 runs per game nearly a half a run below the league average mark of 4.14. The pitching staff is 3rd best in baseball, allowing just 3.48 runs per game. As you can see, without all those shutouts, this team would likely have a negative run differential, rather than the +15 run mark it carries right now.
The 2013 Cardinals were third in baseball in runs scored. Do we miss Carlos Beltran and Pete Kozma that much?
"The way everyone should think about it is — we need Oscar to be playing every day," general manager John Mozeliak said. "If he wasn't going to get everyday at-bats here, he's better off in Memphis. I do think his time up here was valuable. He learned a lot. It wouldn't surprise me if at some point he's back."
You know, John, if you're just going to paraphrase The Overlord, you really ought to cite the source at least. Sheesh.
If Taveras is getting no credit for scorching the ball all over the ballpark the least you can do is give the writer who predicted you saying exactly this line like some sort of baseball oracle just a little bit of credit, eh?
It wouldn't SURPRISE YOU if he's back at some point? It would kind of surprise me if he's not, actually, so that's a really interesting choice of words I guess.
But this is the one that really takes the cake for me:
"Oscar is very – raw is not the right word – he just has his own feel," manager Mike Matheny said. "It’s a simplified approach, and that’s part of the beauty of what he does. But there are a couple of things our hitting guys noticed that probably could be worked on. They could help him with the consistency needed at this level."
What "hitting guys" are we talking about here anyway? The same hitting guys currently teaching hitting to the 26th best offensive team in baseball? I guess if we're giving them credit of polishing up the professional approach of one of the worst teams in baseball at scoring runs, I'd rather they not touch the best hitting prospect in all of baseball with a 10 foot pole or even be allowed to whisper anything in his general direction.
As Bernie likes to note: There seem to be "Mike Guys" and non-"Mike Guys". I haven't heard boo about Randal Grichuk's horrific batting approach from the lips of Mr. Baseball, Mike Matheny. But he takes pretty much every chance he gets to pot-shot guys like Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras' swings as "needing work". Maybe I'm being unfair, but damn if I'm not tired of hearing that bad play in small samples from polished hitters is always some sort of mechanical or approach thing. I guess that means Mike Matheny and John Mabry were mechanically deficient, approach-barren hitters for their entire major league careers -- but they were professional about it at least.
I guess I'm just tired of being treated like an idiot by our idiot manager all of the time. C'mon Mike: Have you seen the amount of time spent on talking about rotational hitting around here? We're not stupid: He's going down to Memphis because you won't play him every day. That's why. I don't understand why you can't just say that instead of coming up with some bullshit about how a guy who rarely swung and missed and smoked the ball right at people for two weeks needs "help with the consistency needed at this level".
Oscar Taveras has about the sweetest swing this side of Carlos Beltran and even Joe Six Pack and the Sign Guy can see it.
Can you just tell the truth once?