FanPost

First 24 in '22

Only 3 teams have played less games than the Cardinals this season. They are sort of middle-of-the-pack in Runs/Game at 4.21. In plate appearances, they are below the league average of 915 with 893. The Royals, Tigers, and Reds being the least patient in MLB.

They are also below league average in home runs but are above average in on base percentage and BA. Most notably, the Cardinals lead the league in stolen bases by quite a bit with 24 bases stolen, one a game... which is made even more impressive by the fact that they have been caught stealing 3 times! The other things this team is good at so far are not hitting into many double plays (they're fast!) and they get hit by pitches more often than most teams.

Which all equates out to a 100 OPS+ .303 wOBA and 101 wRC+, the definition of a middling offense. I'm hoping this team can hit more home runs and take advantage of men on base more often, while continuing to steal bases. But what about component stats from baseball reference and fangraphs?

The 2022 Cardinals are top 10 in wins above average and #11 in fWAR. So what is holding this team back so far? Dylan Carlson in right field, the DH position, and the bullpen. Starting pitching has been league average, but the bullpen is below average. However, Dylan Carlson is off to a rough start, and Corey Dickerson as a DH has been an unmitigated disaster because of his .224 on-base %. Meanwhile Pujols seems like the more wise signing. Pair a AAA hitter with old Pu' and get better results.

Dickerson has been the victim of a bad babip though, and so has the whole team overall with a .271 batting average on balls in play. So how about that defense though! What I thought might be an elite defense is actually not even top 5 in the MLB. But it's definitely better than your average team's defense. So what's holding back this defensive metric? Oddly enough it's Paul Goldschmidt, must be a fluke in the UZR system. Other than that there's not many weaknesses in this team other than trying to field Albert Pujols or something dumb like that.

Even ol' Yadi is having a really good defensive year, and so is Knizner, both among the best defensive players on the team with Bader, O'Neill, Edman, Dejong, and the team's defensive genius Arenado, a baseball inhaling tornado over at third base. If this team has better luck at hitting and Goldschmidt isn't that bad at defense, it should be able to get a wild card come September. And if they can start hitting more home runs and the pitching is better than it has been so far, first place might not be that far away.