Tag Archive | "Mitchell Boggs"

Grading the Cardinals at the Half

To say the first half of the season for the Cardinals was good would be a gross understatement; they set a club record for first half wins and go into the break with the best record in the National League. Yet, to get to this point, it took a complete effort from not just the organizational mainstays, but also a coming of age of the youth movement throughout the entire organization.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks

Overall, 38 players have worn the birds on bat at some point during the year, including six All-Stars and a club-record 12 rookies, already. But in the end, the parts create the sum, and here is the rank of the how each portion of the club played into the first half, 1-38.

  1. Yadier Molina: Basically, he’s the best player on the club because he’s been the best player in the league as well. He’s leading the National League in hitting, as masterfully directed the Cardinal staff to a club record in first half wins.
  2. Adam Wainwright: With a NL-best 12 wins and top 5 totals in strikeouts and ERA as well. Waino is having his finest year, and would have been a legitimate candidate for adding a third Cardinal All-Star starter, if he was eligible.
  3. Matt Carpenter: The team’s offense took off when Carpenter was moved to the top of the lineup in May. He is leading the National League in doubles with 28 and runs with 72, and has hit over .320 since moving to the leadoff spot.
  4. Allen Craig: The RBI machine is up to his same tricks from last year, coming in second in the league with 73. He’s been the biggest part of the Cardinal assault with runners on base, with an insane .480 average with runners in scoring position.
  5. Carlos Beltran: If it is his farewell tour, it’s a greatest hits collection for sure. Headed into his 8th All-Star team, he’s the only Cardinal to top .300, with 15 home runs and 50 RBI, and among only five NL outfielders to meet the level overall.
  6. Edward Mujica: Last season’s seventh inning fireman moved back to the ninth with the same results. He cashed in on his first 22 save opportunities and sits at second in the NL with 26 overall. A last second selection to the All-Star Game to “replace” Wainwright was made his late Sunday night.
  7. Trevor Rosenthal: He’s settled in as the club’s eight inning stopper nicely, striking out 65 in just over 43 innings on the season, and posting 22 holds, second in the NL.
  8. Shelby Miller: The rookie righty has exceeded expectations in many ways in an equally young season. He leads all rookies in wins (9) and strikeouts (112).
  9. Matt Holliday: His totals have not been up to the accustomed levels he’s set over the years, but his 47 RBI and 13 home runs keep him at the heart of Cardinal production. If injuries don’t curb his second half much, he’ll be in range for his usual total of 90+ RBI.
  10. Lance Lynn: He’s posted another typical Lynn effort: upheld leads and racked up the wins (11), in a somewhat up and down effort. But he’s been consistent and is on pace to yet again push close to 20 wins.
  11. Matt Adams: The odd man out has made the best of his opportunities. He’s punched out seven home runs in just over 120 at-bats and 40% of his hits have been of the extra base variety.
  12. Jake Westbrook: An injury interrupted what was off to a phenomenal first half for Westbrook, but he has posted a 2.88 ERA across 12 starts and has continued to steady the boat around the up and down young starters.
  13. Jon Jay: His bat has been down tremendously this year, but his defense has stayed top tier. He set a Cardinal record with his 227th consecutive errorless game. He’s been a nomad in the lineup, but has shown life over the last few weeks.
  14. Seth Maness: More credit should be paid to what Maness brought to the club for half of the season thus far. He’s won five games out of the bullpen, but not of the vulture variety: he’s been a seventh inning fireman, producing nine double plays in 30 innings.
  15. David Freese: He’s off to his toughest start at the plate in his career. His numbers are down across the board, and health has been an up and down battle again, but he hasn’t shown much life in his swing this season.
  16. Pete Kozma: The value of Kozma has continued to be debated, but for what it is worth, he’s been what he was supposed to be: a solid glove, with an adequate (at times) bat. Not too great, not too bad.
  17. Randy Choate: He’s been exactly what he’s supposed to be as well: a situational lefty that does what he’s called on to do, and that’s win matchups. Left handers are hitting .202 against him.
  18. Daniel Descalso: The idea of him being in a platoon with Matt Carpenter was put to sleep quickly by no fault of his own, but he’s done well around the infield where needed and has rediscovered his swing as well, hitting .275 on the year.
  19. Kevin Siegrist: One of the season’s biggest revelations thus far has been this hard throwing lefty. Against the former 41st round pick, batters have just three hits in 42 at-bats, an .071 average against.
  20. Jaime Garcia: He pushed out as much as he had left to make it through nine starts, but ultimately his shoulder gave out and he finally had to give in to surgery.
  21. Joe Kelly: He’s spent much of the year as a nowhere man, and there’s no guarantee that couldn’t continue again soon. But his has been willing to step up to every role asked of him, regardless of how sporadic, and it has been commendable.
  22. Michael Wacha: The hype was huge, but the result was more realistic of a guy that made it to the Majors in under a calendar year. He showed promise (1-0 record, two quality starts out of three), but needed more seasoning.
  23. Shane Robinson: The light-hitting Robinson didn’t bring his huge spring bat with him to St. Louis, but has continued to be a solid fill as a defender at each outfield spot.
  24. Tony Cruz: He didn’t get many opportunities to contribute early in the season, but performed well at the end of the half when Molina was injured, and stands to get more at-bats in the second half.
  25. Carlos Martinez: His talent has been too tempting for the Cardinals to leave in the minors. And they have twice brought him to the St. Louis bullpen, where he has shown why, striking out 11 in ten innings.
  26. Kevin Butler: He started off has a fill in fresh arm, but has become a very solid part of the middle of the bullpen. He’s posted a 1.98 ERA in his first 13 MLB innings.
  27. Fernando Salas: Taken out by injury and seemingly relegated to the minors since, Salas may be finding himself lost in the shuffle of young arms making their way to St. Louis.
  28. Tyler Lyons: A tale of two stories: Lyons won his first two starts after being promoted, but then lost the next three before being chased in under two innings in his final start in June and returning to Memphis.
  29. John Gast: The finesse left-hander was the first call to replace the injured Jaime Garcia, but then fell victim to a shoulder injury himself. Results were varied, return is uncertain.
  30. Michael Blazek: The promise is there (1.38 ERA in 26 games between Memphis and Springfield), but the chance for regular work hasn’t manifested yet in St. Louis.
  31. Rob Johnson: The call up when Ty Wigginton was let go, and he made the best of his return to the Majors in a hurry, hitting a tripling and scoring a run in his second day on the job.
  32. Ryan Jackson: He’s been among the most consistent performers in Memphis, but hasn’t gotten the call back to St. Louis since the second series of the season.
  33. Mark Rzepczynski: Was too hittable, and really replaceable to hold off the brimming young arms in the Cardinal system, and hasn’t done much to regain favor since being demoted in May (44 hits, and 15 walks in 41 innings in Memphis).
  34. Ty Wigginton: The season’s biggest reach consequently his biggest headlines when he was signed, and then released. The Cardinals waved the white flag on Wigginton after he showed, well, not much at all.
  35. Victor Marte: The Triple-A mainstay didn’t show much in his brief return to St. Louis again this season (6.00 ERA spread across four games).
  36. Jermaine Curtis: Two spot plate appearances don’t equal much, coming or going, for Curtis.
  37. Maikel Cleto: The Brendan Ryan era completely came to an end when Cleto, the return for him three years ago, was released in June.
  38. Mitchell Boggs: One of the most rapid and remarkable falls from grace was Boggs’, which saw him fall from closer to two unceremonious exiles to the minors, and eventually a trade for the rights to spend more freely in the international market down the road. No one had a rougher year than Boggs did, in barely three months time.

 

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Minus Wigginton & Boggs, Cardinals Clean Out Their Closet

Give John Mozeliak credit, he isn’t shy about admitting his mistakes. In two sweeping moves on Tuesday afternoon, he rearranged the Cardinal roster by removing two of the most debated presences in the Cardinal organization, in Ty Wigginton and Mitchell Boggs. And with the two moves, the Cardinals brought a resounding end to two of their biggest annoyances of the year.

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Not much was required to add to the Cardinals after last season, as a vast majority of the roster that finished one game short of the World Series returned. And where there wasn’t carryover, there were replacements from within waiting to slide into place. The most notable external additions the team made were role players in corner infielder Wigginton and shortstop Ronny Cedeno, as well as left-handed reliever Randy Choate. Now, just half a season later, two-thirds of that trio is out of the uniform with a half of a week until the All-Star Break begins.

While Cedeno’s early struggles saw him never even make it out of the spring, Wigginton stuck with the team despite a similarly bad start. After struggling mightily in the spring, he never shook off that start, hitting only .158 through 57 at-bats that came mostly as a pinch hitter.  The reasoning of adding the 35-year old was to add a right-handed hitting presence to a fairly light hitting bench collection. But the fact that he could not perform in the role that he was his primary function (all but 14 of his at-bats came as a pinch hitter), as well as the fact he added nothing defensively, made his presence on the team a non-factor.

From the beginning, the two years and five million dollar total he was signed for was an eye brow raiser, especially for a player that hadn’t hit over .270 for four years, and was rated the worst player by win shares in baseball the previous year. In the end, the club decided that eating crow on the financial side of it wasn’t as big of a problem as carrying dead weight on the roster, and released Wigginton. In his place, veteran catcher Rob Johnson was promoted from Memphis, where he was hitting .236 with seven home runs. With the promotion of Johnson, backup catcher Tony Cruz is free to serve in the role of right-handed bench bat/utility infielder, a role that Mike Matheny wasn’t comfortable in using him in previously due to him being the only other capable catcher in case of emergency.

Cutting loses on Wigginton was a simple decision in comparison to the other move of the day, which saw the end of the turmoil filled season of Mitchell Boggs in St. Louis. The team traded the maligned reliever to the Colorado Rockies, bringing to an end his six year tenure with the club. Boggs’ implosion was swift, and seemingly unending. After opening the season has the club’s first fill-in closer, he quickly was disposed from the role after posting an ERA over nine, and ended at a gruesome 11.05 after his final outing with the club on May 30th, when he surrender a game-tying home run vs. Kansas City Royals in another late game situation. He attempted to pull it together in Memphis as a starter over the past month, but in the end, a combination of having completely lost his way and purpose in St. Louis moving ahead, as well as a quickly plummeting value on the trade market, forced Mozeliak to make what seemed like an improbable move just a few months ago.

Boggs was the best eighth inning pitcher in the National League a year ago, leading the circuit in holds with 34 and posting a 2.21 ERA in 78 games. He was selected to the US offering for the World Baseball Classic and was comfortably slid into the ninth inning role when Jason Motte’s injured elbow ended his year. Yet it became clear he wasn’t the man he previously was, and fell out of place with the club as quickly as he had risen. In return for him the club gained the Rockies international signing bonus slot, to allot towards international bonus money signings.

Often, the question is what can be added to a club around this time of the season. Yet, in many cases, less can be more. In an organization that that is brimming with young talent looking for a shot, perhaps Mozeliak’s removal of the failed experiment of Wigginton and the end of the fall from grace of Boggs, will add more to the club, than anything else could bring in.

Nothing wrong with balling up a bad plan and tossing it into the waste can. There is still plenty of time to make a good one.

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Cardinals Spring Training Pics From InsideSTL

Our friends over at InsideSTL spent last week hanging out at a picnic table, and eventually under a tent, in Jupiter, Florida and talking with any Cardinal players that came by and were willing to sit down for a few minutes.

What resulted were some great candid shots of the guys as well as a very candid interview with Adam Wainwright about his contract situation.

The images below were posted to their website and are being shared here with their permission.

Carlos Beltran

Picture 1 of 62

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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