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  1. if it were up to Sabres, Craig would have been banished to the non-prospect scrap pile being that he’s already at the advanced age at 27.

    Comment by Say Hey — October 14, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

  2. Really glad that there are finally posts about the Cardinals on Fangraphs. I really appreciate it. So many times it seems that FG has an AL bias…then an East bias…then a West bias….and finally they look at the NL Central, which is lowest on their totem pole. Believe it or not, the game of baseball is still played out here.

    Comment by CardinalRules — October 15, 2011 @ 12:16 am

  3. I think that might be fair comment actually. Without going back through the archives, it does seem to me that there’s been an unusual lack of Cardinals posts on FG this year, especially for a team that made the biggest trade of the season (Rasmus for Jackson/Dotel/Rzepcsinski). There’s been quite a lot of sabermetrically interesting stuff going on in StL, I think – Berkman’s amazing comeback, Holliday’s first couple of months when he was on track for an 11 WAR season, Garcia’s first half, and some really interesting stuff in the bullpen – particularly Jason Motte’s emergence as a real bullpen ace, without finding an obviously dominant second pitch, after three years as a kinda OK-ish setup guy who struggled due to a lack of a second pitch. The emergence of a bunch of relatively unheralded late-bloomers with solid minor league careers (Craig, Jay, and Freese especially) who ended up putting up excellent seasons. All this stuff maybe deserved a post or two.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — October 15, 2011 @ 5:53 am

  4. This is an uninformed, poorly thought out statement. Many of the sabermetrically-oriented Cards fans have been calling for Craig to get a shot for over three years. In fact, things are almost the opposite of your claim – one could make a good argument that if sabermetrics were a larger part of the calculus, Craig would have had a shot much EARLIER.

    I’ve got my own gripes about sabermetrics, but your complaint sounds like a hammer looking for a nail.

    Comment by Union of Concerned Scientists — October 15, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  5. West bias? Do you have examples?

    Comment by john — October 15, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  6. I think if Pujols goes elsewhere and Berkman plays 1B, Craig has a good shot at putting up a Ryan Ludwick or Garret Jones type of breakout season.

    I think when looking at Freese, Craig, Garcia, StL MiLB status has been under-rated because it’s been all about Rasmus and Miller. Throw in Motte and StL has potentially 4-5 guys that could be league average or better full-time players to go with their stars.

    I hope Pujols returns, but if he doesn’t it appears that with a full year of Freese, Berkman at 1B, Craig in RF, Jay instead of Rasmus, possibly Furcal instead of Theriotm and the return of Wainwright they could more WAR overall compared to 2011. Pujols eldewhere could turn into contracts for Furcal and Jackson.

    If Pujols returns plus Wainwright along with the established bullpen is a contender as well.

    Regardless the gloom and doom has been eliminated with the options they have. I’m very happy with what the FO has done, aside from getting rid of Ryan and adding Theriot.

    With losing Wain in ST and Pujols off to a horrible start, ’11 ended much better than anyone anticipated. Thank you Berkman and Rasmus trade.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 15, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  7. Agree with you about sabermetric guys and CRaig.

    The problem is “where”?

    Pujols is well, Pujols. Berkamn has been awesome in RF (overall, that is). Ray has had a very good year in RF and CF. Holliday has LF occupied and does very well. Freese has also been very good at 3B.

    If Craig could play 2B,I’d be happy as a pig in sh, err mud. *grin*

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 15, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  8. Well, as they mentioned in the broadcast, Freese was 23 and still i college.

    In the minors, there was no question that Freese could hit, but he had DUI problems, and due to giving up baseball after high school, there were also likely commitment questions (especially in combination with the alcohol stuff).

    What I like most about Freese and Craig is the seemingly ease that they drive the ball the other way. That, to me, is uncommon and indicates relaxation and a successful mindset at the plate. Not to bring up Ryan Howard, but when Howard is going the other way he’s deadly, when he’s pull heavy, he’s more hit and miss.

    The questions with Freese have never been with the bat, but with his brain, his fielding, his health, and his alcohol use.

    When I look at Freese and Craig, I also look at what type of minds surround them. As RHBs, they have Holliday, Pujols, and even (as much as I hate to say it) McGwire. These are all guys that have an approach of looking for good pitches to hit, and if you don;t get them, take the walk. Not that just being around these guys turns Craig and Freese into all-stars, but it’s continual discussion and modeling of a very sound approach for guys that have good line drive and power ability.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 15, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

  9. Do you really think it’s sustainable though? or do you think he’ll be another Chris Duncan? Personally, I think he’s just a minor league lifer having a career year and maybe have another ML quality year next year. Cards seem to churn out these guys like crazy.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — October 16, 2011 @ 12:01 am

  10. Allen Craig is a much better hitter than Duncan in terms of understanding the strike zone and offering at pitches he can drive. Also….Duncan was playing well until he was derailed with a neck issue similar to Peyton Manning’s current situation. I truly think Duncan could have been a useful player for a few more years if not for the injury, but Craig is a potential star.

    Comment by adr3 — October 16, 2011 @ 9:06 am

  11. Circle, it’s not so much that Craig needed a shot this year, when the corners are pretty well stocked. But there was really no excuse for not giving him an extended look in 2010 (or even 2009), when you have guys like Nick Stavinoha (ugh) getting extended playing time during the season, and (in the absence of David Freese) a variety of shortstops and utility men manning third base. It was obvious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Cardinals farm system that Craig had much more potential than the likes of Stavinoha and Tyler Greene.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — October 16, 2011 @ 10:32 am

  12. Kinda disagree about Freese. I think there are some questions about his bat – namely, he’s lived on unsustainable BABIP luck for nearly a full season of PAs now and doesn’t seem to pull the ball with any power. I have some hope that skill will materialise, as he hit a lot of HR in the minors, but I wonder if (due to his inability to turn on inside pitches) major league pitchers will start to adjust to him and just bust the ball in on his hands. Seems his only hitting ability (like Yadi Molina until this year) is poking the ball the other way through a gap (and occasionally elevating one).

    He doesn’t really need to hit THAT much to be useful, as a competent 3B, but I really hope when the inevitable regression comes next year and he hits considerably worse than he has done thus far the mainstream narrative doesn’t become one of serious disappointment.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — October 16, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  13. Also bear in mind that if Pujols doesn’t return, there’ll be a serious chunk of change to spend on other areas (the only ones that currently give me cause for concern being 2B and acquiring a backup OF/right-hander who can play a bit of CF). If we picked up Kelly Johnson and someone right-handed to back up Jon Jay, I think that’s a pretty damn solid team. No obvious weaknesses and a couple of genuine stars.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — October 16, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  14. Chris Duncan kinda came out of nowhere. Craig hit in single-A, double-A, triple-A and now MLB. He’s been an above-average hitter at every level, isn’t a liability in the field like Duncan and (presumably) isn’t going to shatter any of his vertebra any time soon. Duncan also had a really horrible platoon split, which Craig doesn’t have. The two aren’t really comparable.

    I see Craig probably having a solid, league-average, bat-first career in the mold of a right-handed Luke Scott. He isn’t going to be a star but he’s probably good enough to start in a corner outfield spot for a decent MLB team.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — October 16, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  15. I, too, was guilty of lumping him into the Stavinoha-Mather-4th OF group. He’s clearly better than those guys.

    I believe it was VEP that got me turned around on Allen Craig.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 16, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  16. This sums it up pretty well.

    Comment by Union of Concerned Scientists — October 16, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  17. I think when Freese isn’t chasing breaking balls in the dirt, he pretty much hits the crap out of the ball. When he goes with outside pitches and pulls pitches that are middle in, he drives the ball well to either field.

    Don;t get me wrong, he’s not going to sustain what he’s doing in the LCS … but he doesn’t need to perform at that level during the regular season.

    He can hit at the ML level and no longer looks like a deer in headlights on in between grounders.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 16, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

  18. Very interesting, I will definitely make sure check your blog often thanks for the hard work.

    Comment by Derrick Viker — October 22, 2011 @ 1:47 am

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