Friday night marked the end of an era for many of us, when Alex Rodriguez played his final game in Major League Baseball. Whether you loved or hated A-Rod (I never faulted him for being a mercenary, as I would totally be the same way if I had his talent, but ultimately he was too much of an aloof weirdo for me to ever totally embrace him or ever totally hate him) is irrelevant: throughout his career, no player could match his level of production.
Rodriguez’s first full season in MLB was 1996, in which he did not win AL MVP over Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez despite having a higher OPS in a less hitter-friendly home park while playing good shortstop defense, as opposed to Gonzalez’s poor corner outfield defense (and frequent DH appearances). Juan Gonzalez would also win another wildly undeserved MVP in 1998, but 1996 was ridiculous: he finished thirty-fourth among AL position players in fWAR, behind such luminaries as Rich Becker and John Jaha, and finished fifth on his own team in fWAR. If you think writers are bad at awards voting now...
But, anyway, A-Rod! Since 1996, he is easily the most productive player in MLB by fWAR. The gap between him and #2, Barry Bonds (who hasn’t played for nine years—he was really good), eclipses the career totals of several quite good of A-Rod’s contemporaries (Jason Bay, Chone Figgins, Pat Burrell) whose careers began and ended between the beginning and ending of Rodriguez’s.
Of course, A-Rod was not a Cardinal—he was a Seattle Mariner in the beginning, a Texas Ranger during his best three-year stretch, and a New York Yankee for the majority of his illustrious career. Here is a lineup of the most productive Cardinals since 1996, or what I would like to call “the A-Rod era”, using fWAR to measure quality due to a potent combination of laziness and not wanting to get yelled at.
Catcher: Yadier Molina (Honorable mention: Eli Marrero)
First baseman: Albert Pujols (Honorable mention: Mark McGwire)
Second baseman: Matt Carpenter (Honorable mention: Fernando Vina)
Shortstop: Edgar Renteria (Honorable mention: Jhonny Peralta)
Third baseman: Scott Rolen (Honorable mention: David Freese)
Left fielder: Matt Holliday (Honorable mention: Ray Lankford)
Center fielder: Jim Edmonds (Honorable mention: Jon Jay)
Right fielder: J.D. Drew (Honorable mention: Brian Jordan)
Pitcher: Adam Wainwright (Honorable mention: Chris Carpenter)
Here’s what happened over the weekend on Viva El Birdos.
Jedd Gyorko vs. Greg Garcia
Ben Markham compared the batting styles of two radically different Cardinals middle infielders: Jedd Gyorko, a powerful hitter, and Greg Garcia, who is more dependent on his patience. Ben looks at several different sources and expands upon this basic idea in far more depth than I am doing here.
On Saturday, Luke Weaver made his MLB debut (more on that in a second), and the red baron looked at Weaver’s pitching track record, not only from two days ago but also from MiLB, and examined what type of pitcher he expects to see in the coming days, weeks, months, years, CENTURIES?!?!?! (click the link and maybe you’ll see the conclusion that Luke Weaver is in fact an invincible robot, maybe not but MAYBE).
Craig Edwards spoke with ESPN’s Dan Shulman about the Cardinals and the Cubs and ESPN and broadcasting in general. My personal opinion on Dan Shulman is that he is super good at what he does and it was interesting to read his perspective on some pertinent topics.
The Cardinals destroyed the Cubs, as we all knew they should, on Saturday, and Jon Snowzeliak recapped the game. On Sunday Night Baseball (speaking of Dan Shulman), the Cardinals won in a somewhat less destructive manner, and WyoCardsFan recapped it.
There is no Cardinals baseball tonight (nor on Thursday, which is some nonsense), but be sure to check in for analysis before checking back in again tomorrow to determine if the Cardinals should destroy the Houston Astros.