clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Let’s Argue! The Cardinals Lineup

Resurrecting a really old series for a fun Wednesday discussion.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Atlanta Braves, 2019 National League Division Series Set Number: X162965 TK1

Hi friends!

I’m busy. I’m up to my eyeballs in my dissertation, (don’t ask, you won’t be interested) which is due all too soon. My family is in town for some early Christmas gatherings. I still have my day job. And it’s the last day of school for my youngest.

Needless to say, I’m a bit too busy to give you a full-blown Wednesday analytics piece. But Saturday is already earmarked for an Open Thread. I didn’t want to leave you hanging twice this week.

As I considered what I could write quickly, I remembered an old series that I tried a few times but it never really got off the ground: Let’s Argue!

Here’s how it works. I provide you with a topic of conversation that I think will generate some discussion. I provide my take. You all head to the comments and provide yours, which will inevitably be different than mine. And others. Discussion begins. And you get a full days’ worth of entertainment out of about 15 minutes of work from me.

Sound good? Sounds good!

Now... don’t take the “argue” part of this post too seriously. This doesn’t need to devolve into a toddler’s tantrum about whether or not Nolan Gorman should hit 3rd or 5th. In the end, it won’t matter. Oli Marmol won’t listen to us. And he’ll change the lineup every day anyway.

So, play nice. But have fun. Get creative. Go get all those stats that I don’t have time to get. Prove me wrong.

My Cardinals Lineup vs. Righties:

Lars Nootbaar, LF
Paul Goldschmidt, 1b
Jordan Walker, RF
Nolan Gorman, 2b
Nolan Arenado, 3b
Willson Contreras, C/DH
Brendan Donovan/Alec Burleson, DH
Tommy Edman, CF
Masyn Winn, SS

Analysis: I’ve been a fan of transitioning Paul Goldschmidt to the #2 spot for a few seasons. Marmol finally came around to that line of thinking last season, giving him 468 PAs in the 2 spot after only 194 the year before. Noot should have the highest walk rate on the team, but I don’t have a huge preference between him or Donovan leading off. I would bet that their OBP will be about the same. Take your pick between those two, but Goldy should bat second. Donovan and Noot aren’t good enough together to justify stacking them ahead of Goldy.

From there, I get a little weird. Jordan Walker had a 126 wRC+ against righties last season. That’s quite a bit better than Gorman and Arendado. Plus, he’s athletic and fast. I like him hitting 3rd. From there, it’s just about pecking order and preference. I would go Gorman, who could easily break out against righties this season, and then Arenado, Contreras, and Donovan or Burleson. Stack your weak-hitting SS/CF’ers at the end of the lineup. I don’t care what order they are in.

My Cardinals Lineup vs. Lefties:

Dylan Carlson, CF
Paul Goldschmidt, 1b
Willson Contreras, DH
Nolan Arenado, 3b
Jordan Walker, RF
Nolan Gorman, 2b
Lars Nootbaar, LF
Ivan Herrera, C
Tommy Edman/Masyn Winn, SS

Analysis: Dylan Carlson is a virtual superstar against lefties. He has a 135 wRC+ against lefties in his career. Last season, his walk rate against them was over 14%. He’s the right-handed version of Lars Nootbaar. So, he goes in to the top spot. Edman, for all the talk about him being a much better hitter against lefties, still can’t match Carlson. Last season his wRC+ against lefties was just 98 with a 5.5% walk rate. Career he’s a 117 wRC+ with a walk rate of just 5.0%. He’s simply never a good candidate to lead off. From there, I just stack the righties. Contreras kills lefties, so I slide him up. Walker wasn’t particularly good against lefties, but he will be. Gorman is, but I expect that to shift a bit as his line stabilizes. Donovan earned a positive reputation against lefties his rookie season but that feels like a fluke. He had a 69 wRC+ against lefties last year. I would rather get Contreras out of the crouch and Ivan Herrera onto the field against lefties. I would also drop Edman in at SS some against lefties and give Winn some time off. I want to keep him fresh at the position, but it’s not a big deal either way. I think both Winn and Edman will be around 90-100 wRC+ players with better splits against lefties than righties.

Obviously, there is going to be more fluidity here than it appears. Donovan won’t be a part-time player against only righties. Burleson will get more time than my lineup makes it seem. Herrera should get some time against righties, too, as I would not let Contreras catch more than 100 games next season. There will be space to go around.

That’s my take. What’s yours? Gotta lineup that you think is better than mine? Let’s argue!