2016 is an amazing time to be alive, and nothing about it is more amazing than the democratization of mass media. For $10 a month, Spotify Premium allows me unlimited, commercial-free access to over 20 million songs. Also for $10 a month, Netflix allows me unlimited streaming of countless movies and TV shows. And yet the best money I spend is the $30 per year I spend on the Baseball Reference Play Index.
I cite the Play Index constantly in my writing, and yet I use it more often than I imply. It is a tremendous resource: even if I did not use its findings for writing purposes, it would be worth the $30 simply for its ability to nourish my natural curiosity about baseball minutiae.
Sometimes, the Play Index is used to develop a greater understanding of baseball as a whole. How it works, how it functions, the details which make it such a terrific sport. Sometimes I search for random and objectively pointless things. Like who the best players with certain names are.
Apropos of nothing, here are a few things I discovered about current Cardinals.
- The most ubiquitous first name associated with the present-day Cardinals is "Matt", a given name shared by first baseman Matt Adams, second/third baseman Matt Carpenter, and left fielder/OCCASIONAL FIRST BASEMAN Matt Holliday. And they are among the best Matts in MLB history: Holliday ranks 2nd in career mWAR (Baseball Reference WAR for people named Matt), Carpenter ranks 6th among position players, and Matt Adams ranks 13th among position players. The top Matt in MLB history is former Nationals manager and current Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams, though Holliday, just 2.1 mWAR behind, is within striking distance. Also, they have Matt Bowman, but he has a long way to go to reach into the highest echelon of the Mattmosphere.
- Stephen Piscotty is already the fourth-greatest "Stephen" in MLB history. He trails three active players: Stephen Strasburg, Stephen Drew, and Stephen Vogt.
- Despite stiff competition from Adam Jones, Adam Kennedy, and Adam Dunn, Adam Wainwright is the all-time leader in aWAR.
- I'm sure a season recovering from Tommy John surgery is rough for Lance Lynn, but here's some good news: he ranks 4th among MLB players named Lance with 11.8 bWAR (I know this breaks my WAR naming conventions, but lWAR looked weird to me) The bad news is that he is 18.3 wins behind Lance Johnson, who himself trails #1 Lance Berkman and #2 Lance Parrish on the leaderboard.
I wrote about the Cardinals' recent experimentation with center field, giving non-prototypical options Stephen Piscotty and Kolten Wong starts recently. So, you know the John Fogerty song "Centerfield"? First of all, I hate that song; Creedence Clearwater Revival is great, which is why I linked to "Fortunate Son" when all logic suggests I should've linked to the actual song I mentioned, but I haaaate that song. Anyway, okay, focus, but the chorus seems to work under the assumption that baseball players can get into games simply by volunteering and appearing ready to play. This is more or less my theory on why Kolten Wong gets starts in center field. I go into more detail if you click the link.
Sporting News made a list of the Top 50 players in Major League Baseball and for some reason, Matt Carpenter was not one of them. I considered writing about this myself, but I'm retrospectively glad I did not because while I appreciate Matt Carpenter, Lil Scooter has indisputable bona fides in the field of Matt Carpenter adoration, and this was her fight to pick. Which she did.
Ebo compiled the prospect report. And since Thursday was an off day, this was our Cardinals baseball fix for the day.
I didn't listen on Monday when Craig Edwards declared that the Cardinals should destroy the Chicago Cubs, but I listened yesterday when he asserted that the Cardinals should destroy the Seattle Mariners. As for the actual game, here is the recap as provided by mister_manager. Seung-Hwan Oh absolutely rolled through the 8th inning and didn't throw many pitches, and with no chance of him coming up in the batting order with the DH in play, I assume he carried over into 9th and then when Mariners left-handed bat Adam Lind came up, the Cardinals switched to Kevin Siegrist, since Lind is much worse against southpaws than righties. Oh well, check the recap to confirm, I guess!
Another late game today. Make sure to take a nap or something.