In the most important stat of all, won-loss record, the St. Louis Cardinals’ major league club and its highest-level affiliate are at polar opposites.
St. Louis is among the top three teams in the National League with its 11-6 record through 17 games. The Triple-A Memphis Redbirds have been scuffling along in Pacific Coast League action, winning just one-third of their initial contests at 6-12.
In the NL, St. Louis has just nine errors as a team. That ties them with Philadelphia and Washington for the lowest total in the Senior Circuit. Shortstop Rafael Furcal is the only Cardinal with multiples and he has committed just two.
At the other end of the spectrum, two Western Division clubs, San Francisco and San Diego, each have made over twice as many errors as St. Louis, with 19 each. The Cardinals’ current opponent, Chicago, is next with 16 miscues in 17 games.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is all alone at the top of this unenviable NL leaderboard with seven errors. The Giants have three players with four each, catcher Buster Posey, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and shortstop Brandon Crawford.
Down in Triple-A, Memphis is tied for the PCL lead for the fewest errors with 12, along with Nashville (Milwaukee) and Oklahoma City (Houston). They are spread very evenly over the Redbirds roster, with third baseman Zack Cox and shortstop Ryan Jackson being the only Memphians with as many as two miscues.
The big-league Giants shouldn’t be looking for fielding help from Triple-A, as the most error-prone club in the PCL is their Fresno affiliate, with 25 in 19 games. The Bees’ three middle infielders alone have committed 17 miscues among them.
Coming into 2012, one area of expected improvement in the St. Louis club was to be their defense. With a ground-ball oriented pitching philosophy and a staff to match, this seemed very important.
So far, so good. At least in terms of errors committed in the early going, significant progress is being shown. Remember that in 2011, only one NL club, Chicago, was charged with more miscues than St. Louis. Right now at least, no club has fewer than the Cardinals.