On Monday, we took a look at how the St. Louis Cardinals' likely 2015 starting rotation peripherals compare to the major-league starter rates. Back when the Cardinals signed free-agent Mark Reynolds, I was very intrigued by the fact that the slugger had an anti-Cardinal batting profile. That's when I first had the idea to compare the Cardinals' position players' batting profiles. It seems like a natural follow-up to the starting rotation post.
In putting the below graphs together, I excluded Randal Grichuk because he has not had many MLB at-bats to his name. Also, the charts are interactive, so you can float your cursor over the various data points and they will tell you the player name and stat in question.
Strikeout Rate (K%)
The Cardinals seem to have targeted talent—in both the draft and free agency—that does a good job of not striking out. In recent years, they've gotten away from this type of hitter a bit with the trade for Peter Bourjos (and the K-happy Randal Grichuk, for that matter), which they followed up by signing Reynolds this Hot Stove. It appears the Cards are open to diversifying their offensive approach. That being said, the 2015 Cardinals have a lot of batsmen around or well below the MLB non-pitcher K rate.
Walk Rate (BB%)
The Cardinals have some elite walk-workers and some players who are not very skilled at all when it comes to inducing the opposing pitcher to give them a free pass to first. Among the more patient batsmen are Matt Carpenter (of course), Matt Holliday, and free-agent signee Reynolds. Those who have shown an allergy to walks include Kolten Wong, Matt Adams, and, increasingly, Yadier Molina and Jon Jay.
Line Drive Rate (LD%)
The Cardinals have some very good line-drive hitters in their lineup in Molina, Jay, and Carpenter. Somewhat surprisingly (at least to me) is the fact that Holliday is usually around average, if not a bit below it, in hitting liners.
It's also intriguing how Bourjos's LD% shot up after joining the Cards. Is this a meaningless blip in one of the more volatile batted-ball stats or something approach-wise that the St. Louis coaching staff changed? It'll be interesting to see if Bourjos continues rapping out liners at a higher clip in 2015.
Groundball Rate (GB%)
St. Louis lineup has a lot of players who hit grounders at an average or above-average rate. Since groundballs go for extra-base hits the least often of the batted-ball types, this could be a factor in the club's relative lack of power last season. Someone who doesn't hit grounders anywhere near the MLB non-pitcher average? Anti-Cardinal Reynolds.
Flyball Rate (FB%)
Reynolds is a standout flyball striker. Other relative flyballers include Adams, Holliday, and Peralta. You'll notice a correlation between hitting flyballs and slugging. The flip side of this reality is Jay, Bourjos, Cruz, and, in 2014, Molina. None of these players hit many flies and none hit for much power.