Royals Review recently published a post about the best one-and-done seasons in Royals history. It looked like fun so I thought I would give it a whirl for the St. Louis Cardinals. To be thorough I went to Fangraphs and exported a data set with every player for the Cardinals. Then I filtered out all the batters that appeared in over 162 games and pitchers that made more than 80 games, then sorted the remaining players by fWAR. I manually checked each player to make sure they only appeared in one season for the Cardinals — no partial seasons are sneaking in here! Here are the players I found...
6. Tony Womack, 2004 — 2.8 fWAR
Tony Womach bee-bopped around the league — his walk-off single off Cardinals’ Steve Kline in the playoffs advanced the Diamondbacks to the NLCS in 2001 and he tied the game against the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series, setting of Luis Gonzalez game-winning hit off Marinao Rivera. In 2003 he was traded around to two teams before signing with Cardinals in 2004. It was a bounce-back season for Womack. He hit for .307/.349/.385, stole 26 bases, and played solid defense at second base and was a solid part of the Cardinals record setting 105-win club in 2004.
5. Mark Grudzielanek, 2005 — 2.8 fWAR
After Womack’s departure the Cardinals were once again in need of a second baseman. Enter Mark Grudzielanek. During his time with the club he batted .294/.334/.407 for a 96 wRC+ and hit for the cycle (I was at that game!).
4. Dick Allen, 1970 — 2.9 fWAR
After many years with the Phillies Dick Allen signed with the Cardinals in 1970 for one season. He split time between first and third base and put up a 142 wRC+ in 122 games with the club.
3. Ron Reed, 1975 — 4.5 fWAR
Ron Reed spent half a season with the Cardinals in 1975 after spending nine seasons with the Braves. He ended up with a career year that season, amassing 6.9 fWAR total and 4.5 for the Cardinals in 175.2 innings with a 3.23 ERA.
2. John McGraw, 1900 — 5.4 fWAR
John McGraw spent nine seasons with the Orioles before becoming a Cardinal in 1900. In 99 games he hit for .344/.505/.416 for a 161 wRC+. The third baseman was known for his toughness and his mouth. He would become a successful manager and is featured in many books.
1. Jason Heyward, 2015 — 5.6 fWAR
You might have guessed it, but Jason Heyward tops the Cardinals list of best one-and-done players. After a career year in 2015 with the Cardinals in which Heyward hit for .293/.359/.439 for a career high 121 wRC+ and career high 26 defensive runs saved Heyward signed an eight-year deal worth $184 million with the Chicago Cubs.
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Umpires also being asked to take 35% paycut in new agreement https://t.co/sFr04zymhZ— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 30, 2020
Which one of these players is Brady Feigl? Trick question: they are both named Brady Feigl. One is in the Rangers system, and the other is in the A's system. pic.twitter.com/nCIufSkpdQ— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) September 1, 2018
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