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Cardinals news and notes: The Wizard, Pham, and Oh

Appreciating Ozzie Smith and yesterday in VEB.

Elsa/Getty Images

Yesterday marked the 34th anniversary of Ozzie Smith joining the Cardinals.  If you were a Cardinals fan when Ozzie was in or near or his prime it was almost impossible for him to not be your favorite player not just for his unprecedented athleticism he brought to the field but also his constant presence.  He alone bridged the gap between the 1982 World Series team and the Ray Lankford and Brian Jordan era.  I could watch a highlight reel of his best defensive plays all day but what allowed him to be such an enduring shortstop in the NL was that he was able to develop as an offensive player.  And while he never had an OPS higher than .775, he was a threat to get on base until the day he retired.

Using the Baseball-Reference Play Index, a search for shortstops in the NL over the last 50 seasons who had at least 500 plate appearances at age 32 or later returned 68 results.  Seven of these seasons belong to Ozzie.  When sorting by on-base percentage, Ozzie has three seasons in the top seven, four in top 13, and seven in the top 26.  Most impressive, in 1991 at age 36 he had a .380 on-base percentage, which was the second highest for his career and good for 6th in the NL.  In his last season, at age 41, he got on base at a .358 clip.  I'll never like another baseball player as much as I liked the Wizard.  He was the reason I wore Roos.

Here's what you may have missed yesterday at VEB:

Does Jake Arrieta have a weakness?

  • Joe Schwarz analyzed heatmaps, charts, and graphs and found if you look really hard Jake Arrieta has a weakness which can be exploited: It's a small thermal exhaust port which leads straight to his reactor system.  If all goes accordingly, he will be blown up like the Death Star when the Cubs visit Busch in mid-April.

Pham, Thomas

  • In an ode to Tommy Pham, I looked at his career heading into 2016 and how he's taking the scenic route to success.

El Gallo

Keith Law's top 100

  • Keith Law unveiled his anticipated top 100 prospects which had three Cardinals including Alex Reyes at #8, which unsurprisingly topped the list for Birdos.  Jack Flaherty was ranked 83rd, and, surprisingly, as Craig Edwards noted, Marco Gonzales came in at #76.  Quite a welcome development for a guy who had a tough 2015, here's hoping he gets back on track in 2016.

Seung Hwan Oh

  • The Final Boss' visa troubles are behind him and Craig notes he will be arriving in Jupiter, Florida on time with pitchers and catchers.  Having expectations for a bullpen, whether good or bad, is usually a foolish exercise because they're so unpredictable from year to year but I'm perfectly satisfied with the way the Cardinals' pen has taken shape heading into spring.

A good tweet

Have a great weekend, everyone.