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Monday, April 8th, 2013
By Landen Crouch ( Cardinals Correspondent) Follow @LandenCrouch
Week in Review:
The opening week of the 2013 season for the St. Louis Cardinals can now be considered successful after a 14-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals finished their opening week six-game West Coast road trip with a .500-record of (3-3).
This is definitely a huge success for the Cardinals to come back to St. Louis with at least a .500 record. Of course, they wanted to win the 16-inning marathon against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night (and early into Thursday morning), and the 1-0 pitchers-dual game against Barry Zito on Friday.
Those were two tough losses. Overall, though, this week was positive for the Cardinals and should give them some momentum coming into their home opening series against the Cincinnati Reds.
2013 St. Louis Cardinals Preview by MLB Network:
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Monday, April 1/2013
By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @ryandana1
The start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season is upon us. While that is beyond awesome, unfortunately there is a list of really good players who will likely not start the season playing for a Major League team. Most of these players are out due to injury, but there are also a few others I would like to mention that are out due to retirement, suspension, or the fact that they have still yet to sign with a team.
It will be a bittersweet Opening Day for the Atlanta Braves who will be without Chipper Jones this season. He spent his entire 19 years of Major League service time with the Braves, and after an MVP season in 1999, a 1995 World Series Championship, and 8 All-Star appearances, Chipper has decided to call it a career. Jones was one of, if not the best, switch hitter of all time.
Chipper Jones Highlights
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By Landen Crouch ( Cardinals Correspondent) Follow @LandenCrouch
I believe we can expect more of the same from the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013. This is a franchise that has proven they can be competitive on a consistent basis, even doing so last year without Albert Pujols. The Cardinals enter 2013 following consecutive runs to the National League Championship Series (won World Series in 2011).
On the heels of a very quiet offseason, the Cardinals seem to be entering the 2013 season with a very clear plan: get younger while simultaneously maintaining a high level of success on the field. The franchise has clearly begun this transition already with the departure of a few key players in the last several years – Kyle Lohse being the latest.
In the money department, the Cardinals have never been afraid to spend money to help the ballclub; however, they have always done so wisely. They are not among the teams that seemingly are just trying to buy championships. They have always been a team that uses a healthy balance of money and a solid farm system for success.
In 2013, the Cardinals will rank 10th in all of Major League Baseball in overall payroll – in the upper tier, for sure, but not overspending by any means – and their farm system is ranked 1st overall in baseball. The Cardinals have the money and the players it takes to continue being competitive for a long time to come.
2011 Cardinals World Series:
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By Landen Crouch ( Cardinals Correspondent) Follow @LandenCrouch
The current St. Louis Cardinals roster, set to take them into the 2013 season, has seen little changes from what was a very successful 2012 season. This really is not much of a surprise, though, as the front office has told fans they were not planning to change too much this offseason. After a gut-wrenching offseason a year ago, in which Albert Pujols headed west to the Angels, a quiet offseason really does not seem like such an awful thing. In the upcoming season, the St. Louis Cardinals will be hoping for more of the same from a team that was one win away from a second straight World Series Berth. The Cardinals will look to continue recent success, while filtering in some young prospects in the process.
Game #5 of the NLDS (Comeback win versus the Washington Nationals)
Sunday September 2, 2012
John Burns: The season for the reigning World Champions the St. Louis Cardinals has been one filled with surprises. With one of the biggest surprises being long time Cardinal Albert Pujols leaving the franchise to sign with the Los Angeles Angels. In an attempt to replace Pujols, the Cardinals re-signed veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran. Although Beltran is not Albert Pujols, he is having a very good season for St. Louis with 28 HRs and 86 RBI. Nobody expected Beltran to play this well and basically be matching Pujols numbers.
As of September 1st, the Cardinals have a 72-61 record and are in possession of the second NL Wild Card Spot. We all know the story of the Cardinals last year when they got hot and never looked back-until they were holding up the World Series trophy. They are in a very similar situation this year, (as they were last year) by being in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. This year’s Cardinals squad is not the same as the 2011 World Series team version. With Tony La Russa, Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman, and Albert Pujols all gone or injured, the Cards have a different look. All three of those players played a major significance in the Cards winning the World Series in 2011.
Highlights courtesy of FOX and ESPN and MLB Reports is not the copyrights holder
Monday April 23rd, 2012
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): The name of the game in fantasy baseball is sell high and buy low. This is the best method to improve your team. But it takes careful consideration and analysis to determine who is legit and who is fluking. As we are approximately 16 games through the season, remember that you are playing for a 162 games of stats and thus we are only 10% through the 2012 season. Trust the preseason predictions, and make an upgrade whenever possible. Therefore, in this week’s fantasy focus, I highlight which guys to target and which guys to sell.
Josh Hamilton is currently playing t-ball (.418/7/17/1). We have seen Hamilton go on stretches like this before, but we know his expected 162 game season still places him outside of the top-ten. Furthermore, we simply cannot expect a full 162 games out of Hamilton. Perhaps he was undervalued heading into this year, and he is playing for a contract, but his hot start has the potential to net you a safer option in one of the buy low candidates listed below.
David Freese I talked about last week, because he will not keep up his current pace (.333/3/15) and has plenty of name recognition after last October. Furthermore, he is prone to prolonged absences due to injury and offers nothing in the stolen base category. He is certainly an above average fantasy third baseman, but you might as well try to capitalize at his peak value. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday April.22, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- I found Ben Wahrle’s website over a year ago. All of his MLB Park write-ups are highly detailed as you can find on the web. This young man has a strong future ahead of him in this business. I recently had a chance to interview Ben about Milwaukee, tailgating and other traditions at Miller Park.”
DB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Miller Park Expert Interview Ben. Please tell us about yourself and then give us some information on your life as a Brewer fan?”
BW: “I am 19 years old and currently working as a professional pizza chef at a local pizzeria. I have been to 24/30 current MLB ballparks. My goal is to make to every MLB ballpark. On average I go to 28 games at several different ballparks a year. I am die-hard Brewers fan and have been to every home opener the last 6 years. I always try to make it to at least 4 Brewer road games.”
DB: “You have been to many of the MLB teams parks Ben, what is your favorite park outside of Miller Park?”
BW: “Fenway Park- The atmosphere and the surrounding area is like nothing else around in MLB. The crowd seems like it is into every pitch. As soon as you walk into Fenway Park or Wrigley Field as a baseball fan you admire the history of the park.”
DB : “Talk about what inspired you to create www.benwahrlebaseballparks.com?”
BW: “As I was going to more baseball games I wanted a way to track all the games and ballparks I had been to. It was also a great way to show my friends, family and the public about each park. My site has a lot of great detail and stories. It also shows my upcoming trips, and every time I go to a game I keep track of each player’s statistics.”
DB: “Miller Park is on everybody’s short list for the best tailgate ballpark in the MLB, what can you tell us about these pre-game rituals?”
BW: “It is a party like atmosphere whether it is opening day or the 40th home game of the season. Everyone enjoys the time with their friends by grilling out and playing beanie bag toss.”
DB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Miller Park for the very first time?”
BW: “You have to tailgate at least once at Miller Park. Lastly if you go to a “hot” game make sure you buy parking in advance.”
DB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to Miller Park?”
BW: “Miller Park is very easy to get to unlike some parks where you have to take a train, cab or a bus. Miller Park is right off the interstate, so everyone drives to the park.”
DB: “What is the food like at Miller Park? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”
BW: Over the last couple of years they have done a great job of adding different foods like garlic fries, pasta, and many different kinds of sandwiches. My favorite ballpark food at Miller Park has to be the loaded nachos or the honey roasted nuts.”
DB: “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at Miller Park?”
BW: “Hands down it is the Carlos Zambrano no-hitter vs Astros in 2008. In Houston a hurricane occurred, MLB decided to locate the game to Miller Park. I remember going to the game and it was supposed to be a home game for the Astros but I would say about 90% were Cubs fans. This was a home game basically for the Cubs.”
DB: “Bob Uecker is one of the best radio personalities in the game. In your own words, how does the city of Milwaukee like him?”
BW: “He is an inspiration to this city, the fans adore him for what he has done. Over 50 years in the booth is a great accomplishment.”
DB: “With Prince Fielder leaving, the Brewers were lucky that Ryan Braun did not have to miss the 1st 50 games for the PED scandal. Does this give the Brewers a chance to contend in the NL Central now?
BW: “I think all the facts need to come out first before we decide Ryan Braun guilty. Obviously no one can replace Prince and what he brings to the team day by day. Aramis Ramirez can make up some of the production. Ramirez had a terrific year last year hitting .306 with 26 home runs. This central division is wide open. The Brewers still have a good rotation in Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf. Also the bats of the NL MVP Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart, and Rickie Weeks. Even though the Cardinals lost the best player in the game- Albert Pujols , they are getting Adam Wainwright back. They will have a David Freese for a whole season with Matt Holliday. The Reds are another team with good pitching. The starters did not do a good job last year for the Reds. Acquiring Mat Latos was huge for the Reds this offseason. The Reds lineup has a lot of depth with Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, Drew Stubbs. Overall I still like the Brewers chances of getting back to the postseason.”
***Thank you to our Miller Park Expert- Ben Warhle for participating in today’s article. If you would like to read more about Ben and his baseball travels click here ***
***Thank you to our Baseball Writer Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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Tuesday April 17th, 2012
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): The opening of the 2012 baseball season remains interesting and unpredictable. Although we are dealing with such a small sample size and people tend to overreact (approximately 10 games), there a lot of early season performances to that deserved to be examined a little closer.
Before we go making Matt Kemp comparisons, Chris Young is clearly benefiting from a new approach at the plate. Young has always displayed the ability to hit for great power and speed, but just lacked in the average department. However, he made significant mechanical adjustments in the offseason and his new approach has been successful since the spring, when he batted .400. His .405/5/13/2 stat line is clearly unsustainable, but lets not forget he is only 28 years of age and might finally be figuring out how to consistently put it together. What might be most telling of his improvement is his 4:5 strikeout to walk total after 10 games, from a guy who has throughout his career averaged a ratio of 3.3:7.4. This could be the year that the average is .270-280 to accompany his 30/30 potential, making him a top-level talent. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday February 8th, 2012
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): Third base is one of my favorite positions in fantasy baseball, mainly due to the fact that most owners do not have a wise approach in this area come draft day. Third base is clearly one of the shallowest positions in baseball and contains a plethora of high-risk players. However, third base is also the home of some of the games top players, most notably Miguel Cabrera- who looks to regain eligibility in 2012 after the Tigers’ acquisition of Prince Fielder.
Clearly, Cabrera changes the dynamics of the position. He was already my top rated first baseman, so eligibility at third base, along with Fielder’s production, makes him even that much more valuable. Just be sure you understand your league’s eligibility rules, but it appears that Cabrera will at least be playing third base a couple times a week. After Cabrera, Jose Bautista is the clear number two, followed by Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman, and David Wright. Read the rest of this entry
Friday December 30, 2011
Sam Evans: This has been anything but a fun offseason for Cardinals fans. Losing you best player from the past ten years has got to be rough on a franchise. However, they did win the World Series in 2011, and they have the right mix of players to potentially return to the playoffs in 2012.
Offseason: Despite losing Albert Pujols to the Angels, the Cardinals signed six-time All-Star Carlos Beltran and brought back middle infielder Rafael Furcal. Beltran was signed to a two-year, $26 million deal. This was a very nice move for the Cardinals. They acquired a proven veteran outfielder who will be a large upgrade over Allen Craig.
Rafael Furcal is another solid player to have in your lineup. The Cards signed Furcal to a two-year $14 million deal. In 2011, Furcal hit only .231 in 87 games, but as recently as 2010, Furcal was worth 4.2 WAR. Furcal will be 34 heading into the upcoming season. Heading into the season, Furcal will be the fifth-oldest Opening Day shortstop. The main problem holding Furcal back is injuries. He hasn’t played one hundred games per year for two straight years since 2006. For 2012, IF Furcal can find a way to stay healthy, he should be able to hold down the shortstop position for St.Louis and be the spark at the top of the lineup.
Starting Rotation: At the head of the rotation is Chris Carpenter. Carpenter is the kind of pitcher that you build your franchise around. He threw 273 innings last year and he started game seven of the World Series. For 2012, Carpenter should have another mid-3′s ERA and be the true ace at the top of the rotation.
Following Carpenter will be Adam Wainwright. The return of Wainwright is really the wild card heading into the season. Wainwright was injured during spring training in 2011. His injury required Tommy John surgery and he missed the entire 2011 campaign. If Wainwright could return to his 2010 form, in which he was a Cy Young contender with a 2.42 ERA, then the Cardinals would be one of only a couple of teams with two true aces.
Next, comes the twenty-five year old lefty Jaime Garcia as the third starter. Garcia had a breakout year in 2010, but was somewhat inconsistent in 2011. If you take the average of Garcia’s last two years, you can find a realistic projection for this upcoming season. In this projection, he would be worth roughly 3.4 WAR per year. He’s signed through 2015, making roughly $6.5 million a year, so technically if Garcia is valued at 3 or more wins above replacement, he will be worth his contract. Overall, Garcia is a solid number three pitcher that is outperforming most pitchers his age.
Kyle Lohse will probably fall after Garcia in the rotation. Lohse is the Cardinals third-highest paid player, but he is simply not that good. Lohse had a 3.39 ERA in 2011, but a 4.04 xFIP suggested that he wasn’t as good as his numbers may imply. Lohse is a dependable number four starter who just happens to be overpaid.
Filling in the last spot in the rotation will likely be Jake Westbrook as the veteran fifth starter. Westbrook is a decent hurler who posted a 4.66 ERA last year. However, one has to wonder just how long it will be until Shelby Miller takes over the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation.
Bullpen: Bullpen’s are easy to assemble in the world of baseball, so I never try to get too worked up over a bullpen. The Cardinals have a couple of hard throwing relievers in Jason Motte and Fernando Salas. Not to mention, Mark Rzepczynski made a good impression after coming over from the Blue Jays. My guess is that Fernando Salas may eventually become their closer because of his young age and upside.
First and Third Base: Starting at first base for the Cardinals will be Lance Berkman, who takes over for the departed Pujols. Berkman had a bounce-back year in 2011 making his first All-Star team since 2008. I’d expect Berkman to perform more like his 2009 numbers, where he hit .274 with 25 homers. That is still a large discrepancy compared to Pujols’ stats, but the Cardinals will try to make up for it in other places.
At third base will be David Freese, the new Cardinals golden boy. Freese of course, was the NLCS and World Series MVP. Without Freese, the Cards probably wouldn’t have won the World Series. During the regular season, Freese hit .297 with ten homers in 97 games. Who knows if Freese can perform at the level he did during the playoffs in 2012. The key for Freese is going to be his health. He has never played over a hundred games at the major league level before. If he can stay healthy during the season, he is a great candidate to have a breakout year.
Middle Infield: At shortstop Rafael Furcal will be starting. You have to think that the Cardinals regret trading away Brendan Ryan last year. They believed that Ryan Theriot was their shortstop of their future, and traded away Ryan who was under a minimal contract through 2012. Besides Furcal, the Cardinals have Tyler Greene and Ryan Jackson as backups. Greene will stick with the major-league club, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Green was a midseason call-up who got some playing time.
Skip Schumaker should be the Opening Day Cardinals second basemen. Schumaker is an average hitter who plays below-average defense for a second basemen. The Cardinals should look to sign Carlos Guillen, or another second basemen that will be an upgrade over Schumaker.
Outfield: Most likely, Beltran will start in right field. He should be a crucial key to the Cardinals success. If Beltran can play like he did last year, then he will be worth his new contract.
In centerfield will be the youngest outfielder, Jon Jay who also played a key role in last year’s playoffs. Jay played in 159 games and hit .297. If Jay is to improve in 2012, he needs to have a more disciplined approach at the plate. Jay only walked 28 times last year. Jason Bay played in thirty-six fewer games than Jay, but he walked twice as many times as Jay.
In left field, Matt Holliday is the starter. Matt Holliday’s 7-year $120 million contract was part of the reason that the Cardinals couldn’t afford Pujols this offseason. Nonetheless, Holliday is a very good four-tool player. Holliday was worth 5.0 WAR last year, which is roughly how much he should be producing given the size of his contract. Looking at his peripherals, Holliday is due to have a somewhat better year than his 2011 campaign. Similar to many of his teammates, if he can stay healthy, Holliday should have another great year patrolling the Cardinals outfield.
Minors: In the last couple of years, St.Louis has greatly improved the depth and talent of their farm system. With names such as Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, and Tyrell Jenkins on the rise, there is no doubt that the St.Louis rotation will be very strong in the coming years.
Conclusion: 2012 will be a enthralling year for Cardinals fans. The team’s first year without Manager Tony La Russa and their franchise player Albert Pujols will have a much different feel than their previous seasons. Fans will be expecting a lot out of their players, and the team will need some breakout years from its key players to compete in 2012. However, given the current state of the NL Central, I believe the Cardinals can win the division once again and be a force in next year’s playoffs.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter***
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