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Cardinals news and notes: SSS, Diaz, Hazelbaker, Opening Day, and Mathenaging

In praise of the small sample size (as well as what you may have missed yesterday at VEB).

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The only bad part about the first month of baseball - and I'm really reaching here - is having to drop some sort of "sure, this is a small sample size, but..." disclaimer any time any sort of stat is mentioned at all. We are five games into this season. I know we're dealing with a small sample size, you all know we're dealing with a small sample size, the ENTIRE WORLD knows it's a small sample size yet I have to acknowledge this thing out of fear everyone will think I'm some dingus who thinks Jeremy Hazelbaker will finish the season with 230 hits, including 46 home runs.

And that's too bad because I love small sample sizes. In late-April last year Matt Carpenter was on pace for 95 doubles and it was beautiful. (He didn't hit 95 but he still led the league with 44.) On April 13, 1984, Ozzie Smith was on pace to hit a career high 20 home runs. That he finished the season with one home run is beside the point, I say. It's April and the small sample is all we have. So if you want to argue that Aledmys Diaz is likely to shatter Barry Bonds's single-season OPS mark without the SSS disclaimer I say go for it.

Here's what you may have missed yesterday at VEB

Jeremy Hazelbaker and Aledmys Diaz

Craig Edwards did a wonderful job of detailing the long, interesting road Jeremy Hazelbaker took to become a regular outfielder for the Cardinals in 2016. From the column:

It is much too early to say how long this will last. The speed is there. The power is there. The playing time is there. Hazelbaker has always struck out a lot. If he keeps his walks up, the high strikeout numbers will not matter much. His projections are modest, as we would expect from a 28-year-old who struggled just two seasons ago. If there are holes in Hazelbaker's swing that have yet to be exploited by major league pitching, this might be just a blip and a neat story. If those adjustments he made closed down some of those holes and he can make just a bit more contact than expected, maybe he is the next stroke of luck in a long line for the Cardinals.

Joe Schwarz is living right and encouraging all of us to just sit back enjoy what we've seen from Hazelbaker and Aledmys Diaz thus far.

Opening Day Highlights

The best part of the video embedded in this post is seeing Lou Brock in good spirits (as always) and walking out to throw out the first pitch. The second best part is seeing 93-year old Red Schoendienst briskly walking out to the mound like he's going to live to see 175. I think he has better posture than I do.

Mathenaging

Ben Markham had issues with Mike Matheny's use of the bullpen during last Sunday's win in Atlanta. Fortunately, this should be the last time we have concerns with Matheny's managing of the bullpen this season.

Down on the Farm

Lastly, ebo has you covered if you want to know what's been going on with the farm teams and various prospects.

Try to enjoy your Wednesday, everyone.