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Cardinals news and notes: Wong, the AFL, and the bullpen

Hey...any baseball happen this weekend?

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
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So, as you may or may not have heard, the Chicago Cubs made the World Series. It was a pretty under-the-radar story, but I followed the scoop through alternative media all weekend (obviously this was the only place any information could be found on the matter).

Anyway, congratulations to the 24 men on the Chicago Cubs, who along with Aroldis Chapman will bring World Series baseball to Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945. They have a very good chance of winning the World Series, by which I mean every World Series is a coin flip essentially but since the Cubs were the best team in baseball this year, they’re probably in the 51-60% range. The Cleveland Indians are also good.

In honor of the Cubs, I took a look at the best players for the Chicago Cubs since their last World Series appearance, as measured by Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement.

  1. Pitcher: Fergie Jenkins (1966-1983), 53.2 WAR
  2. Catcher: Jody Davis (1981-1988), 17.1 WAR
  3. First Base: Mark Grace (1988-2000), 43.9 WAR
  4. Second Base: Ryne Sandberg (1982-1997), 67.7 WAR
  5. Third Base: Ron Santo (1960-1973), 72.0 WAR
  6. Shortstop: Ernie Banks (1953-1971), 67.4 WAR
  7. Left Field: Billy Williams (1959-1974), 61.6 WAR
  8. Center Field: Andy Pafko (1946-1951), 21.8 WAR
  9. Right Field: Sammy Sosa (1992-2004), 58.5 WAR

But because this is a Cardinals blog, here’s the Cardinals WAR team since their last pennant, in 2013.

  1. Pitcher: Carlos Martinez, 9.5 WAR
  2. Catcher: Yadier Molina, 6.7 WAR
  3. First Base: Matt Adams, 3.2 WAR
  4. Second Base: Kolten Wong, 5.8 WAR
  5. Third Base: Matt Carpenter, 10.2 WAR
  6. Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, 7.0 WAR
  7. Left Field: Matt Holliday, 4.4 WAR
  8. Center Field: Randal Grichuk, 6.0 WAR
  9. Right Field: Jason Heyward, 6.5 WAR

Biased as I might be by my Cardinals fandom, I must admit: the Cubs lineup is more impressive. Good for them. Here’s the news and notes in the Cardinals blogosphere from the weekend.

Kolten Wong

Ben Markham wrote about Kolten Wong’s progress at the plate in 2016. And as somebody whose only real knowledge of Wong is that, as noted above, he’s the greatest second baseman in this entire post-pennant era of Cardinals baseball, I was delighted to learn he may become even better.

Arizona Fall League

Josey Curtis once again covered Cardinals in the AFL. Standouts on Friday included Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong, and Saturday’s intriguing players included Carson Kelly.

Potential bullpen help

The red baron examined four bargain-bin options for the Cardinals bullpen in 2017. None of them are exactly Kenley Jansen but each could have high upside as relatively cost-effective options going forward.

All right, that’s all. On Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs will play in the first World Series games I’ll have watched them play, and the Cleveland Indians will play in the first World Series games I’ll be allowed to stay up until the end of (whether or not I do this might depend on if games keep up the glacial NLCS game paces).