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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals RBI leaders on pace for just 81

After scoring just two runs against the New York Mets on Wednesday evening, the St. Louis Cardinals’ record dropped to 12-10 on the 2014 season. While the pitching, particularly the starters, have been very good, the offense has yet to find its groove.

Through 22 games, the Cards are tied for 13th in the 15-team National League with 79 runs scored. Catcher Yadier Molina, who plated the first St. Louis tally on Wednesday, and outfielder Matt Holliday are co-team leaders in runs batted in, with 11 each.

With the help of researcher Tom Orf, we learn that in only four of the last 45 seasons did the Cardinals RBI leader through 22 games have fewer than 11 RBI. The most recent occurrence was in 1997, Tony La Russa’s second season as manager. The other times were in 1988, 1986 and 1973. One common thread is that the Cardinals missed the post-season in all four of those campaigns.

At the current pace, the team leaders for the full 2014 season would finish with just 81 RBI. The last time the total was that low was in 1995 when team leader Brian Jordan had 81. Same with Todd Zeile in 1991. The year before, Pedro Guerrero hit the low water mark with 80. 1990 is also remembered as the most recent year in which St. Louis finished in last place.

The current Cardinals offense clearly has more talent, but they need to get their collective act together or there could be trouble when the pitching cools down.

St. Louis Cardinals team RBI leader through 22 games, annual since 1960

Year Player RBI HR Player RBI HR
2014 Yadier Molina 11 3 Matt Holliday 11 1
2013 Allen Craig 18 0
2012 David Freese 20 5
2011 Albert Pujols 17 7
2010 Albert Pujols 19 7
2009 Albert Pujols 26 7
2008 Albert Pujols 16 4
2007 Albert Pujols 14 5
2006 Albert Pujols 29 12
2005 Albert Pujols 19 6
2004 Scott Rolen 27 8
2003 Edgar Renteria 17 4 Jim Edmonds 17 5
2002 Albert Pujols 18 5
2001 Albert Pujols 25 7
2000 Fernando Tatis 27 6
1999 Fernando Tatis 26 8
1998 Mark McGwire 28 9
1997 Ron Gant 9 2
1996 Ron Gant 19 4
1995 Bernard Gilkey 16 2
1994 Ray Lankford 16 5
1993 Mark Whiten 12 5
1993 Gregg Jefferies 12 3
1992 Todd Zeile 11 3
1991 Felix Jose 15 2
1990 Pedro Guerrero 21 6
1989 Pedro Guerrero 19 3
1988 Vince Coleman 9 2 Bob Horner 9 2
1987 Willie McGee 16 2
1986 Willie McGee 9 2
1985 Jack Clark 17 4
1984 Lonnie Smith 11 2
1983 George Hendrick 23 6
1982 Keith Hernandez 15 0
1981 Tom Herr 19 0
1980 George Hendrick 18 4
1979 Keith Hernandez 15 2
1978 Keith Hernandez 15 2
1977 Ted Simmons 24 5
1976 Ted Simmons 15 1
1975 Reggie Smith 19 5
1974 Reggie Smith 19 4
1973 Lou Brock 10 1 Joe Torre 10 2
1972 Joe Torre 15 2
1971 Joe Torre 17 4
1970 Dick Allen 18 8
1969 Joe Torre 14 4
1968 Curt Flood 17 3
1967 Lou Brock 20 6
1966 Curt Flood 16 2
1965 Curt Flood 15 4
1964 Ken Boyer 15 3
1963 Ken Boyer 22 3
1962 Ken Boyer 26 4
1961 Daryl Spencer 15 5
1960 Ken Boyer 16 6 Bill White 16 3

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15 Responses to “Cardinals RBI leaders on pace for just 81”

  1. kray66 says:

    Jim Hayes just brought up this stat during the broadcast. He also mentioned Pedro Guerrero’s low of 80 as well. . . . . . .

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    The only silver lining in losing three to the Mets is this puts some pressure on Mo and Matheny to stir their stumps. They have to lose to have grounds to effect change. They hate losing, so when it happens, they put on their thinking caps.

    Seemingly little changes can be important. Fornataro provides an excellent example. Mike was wearing out Rosenthal, Martinez, and Siegrist, because he did not want to use Butler or Maness. Fornataro had a terrific 2012 at Springfield as an 8th inning man. This shows what he can do, when healthy. I have recently learned, thanks to Brian’s interview with said Fornataro, that he had an oblique injury during much of 2013, when he faired poorly for Memphis. Since now recovered, he is back to his 2012 ways of excellence. It looks like Fornataro can give us some very helpful innings and in so doing save the arms of Rosenthal, Martinez, and Siegrist. Improving one roster spot helps other players to excel too.

    We shall have to look around and figure out to make improvements to the hitters too.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    There is another roster change that could be made that is kind of easy. We could send down Maness to AAA, for him to try to find his mojo from 2013. He needs work and since he is the last guy we want to use, he does not get enough to improve his pitching. Maness helped lose last nights game by serving up a gopher ball. He has gotten strafed by hitters. It would be find to send him down. We could add Aardsma. The only drawback is we have to shell out an extra $1MM, if we add Aardsma to the ML roster. This is too bad, but we are already spending a grunch and the team needs help. Maness is not a hitting improvement, but demoting him shows the team Mo is all about winning, not about mollycoddling losers.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Another improvement is coming back to Busch. That is going to help us right there. its hard to win on the road. Coming home to a warming spring puts our hitters in a good mood.

  5. JumboShrimp says:

    Improving the roster as regards hitters is more difficult. But the topic deserves to be looked at carefully. For instance, Peralta has been ice cold, whereas Greg Garcia has show some aptitude with the stick at Memphis. We could send down Descalso or Shane Robinson, and bring up Garcia to start collecting some starts at SS. Garcia has a full year of AAA under his belt, it would not hurt him to get a ML trial. This would take some pressure off Peralta and could give us a partial platoon at SS.

    Then there is Aledyms Diaz. He too is already conveniently on the 40 man roster. Diaz is a SS and has not been having problems so far as a hitter. We could bring him up to get some starts at SS. This would be unconventional, but the idea warrants careful consideration. Jose Oquendo got elevated to the Mets at age 19. Diaz is relatively old being 23 already. His time could come soon.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Another option is elevating Taveras. He could platoon with Craig in RF. We think Oscar is a ML caliber hitter. If Craig is in a hitting funk and not delivering the goods, then there is no compelling reason to hold Oscar back at AAA, he can start learning in the majors. We could demote Robinson or Bourjos to make room for Oscar.

      With any of these guys, Garcia, Diaz, or Taveras, we would tell them its a short term experimental opportunity. We are not asking you to save our season. We do not have massive expectations of you. Instead, because some of our veterans are struggling, we are willing to experiment and freshen things up. This is a positive opportunity to stick your toe in the ML water. We will assume it will be a two week trial and you can return to the minors having gained some familiarity with the majors that could be helpful later, in the event of an injury that requires your promotion.

      We would only elevate one of these guys at a time. We are not going to bring them all up. We have plenty of candidates to surrender a roster slot: Robinson, Descalso, Wong, Bourjos. If Bourjos found himself back at AAA, he might commit to bunting more.

    • blingboy says:

      There are 15 million reasons why Garcia is not going to take starts from Peralta. That is just the way it is Jumbo.

      Hopefully juiceless Jhonny will stink less as time goes by.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Peralta sat on the pines today. He can watch Garcia just as well as Descalso.

        I would try the Oscar experiment first. He can get all the starts in RF against RHPs for 2 weeks. If he does not do much, Oscar then returns to Memphis.
        Next Garcia gets the two week trial. This gives two weeks more for Peralta to improve.
        If Garcia does not do much, then it would be time to give Diaz a trial.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    The table above is good for showing the remarkable impact of Pujols. Of his 11 years with the Cards, 9 times he was the RBI leader thru 22 games.
    Albert would be good for 4 to 8 HRs typically. When you drive the ball over the wall, you best defensive shifts and are not reliant on balls dropping.
    In contrast, while Adams has a nice batting average, partly from going the other way against shifts, he is not clearing fences, nor driving in many runs, just 5 to date. Whereas Albert could be a one man gang and provide instant offense, things have changed. Given little power, we would need lots of hits to string together runs.

  7. Bw52 says:

    Grichuk has been playing as good or better than Taveras.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      We do not need another right swinging OF like Grichuk or the better performing Butler to join Holliday, Bourjos, Craig, and Robinson. The better fit with our other ML players is to bring up left swinging Taveras to split time with Craig.

  8. Bw52 says:

    Cards need somebody who is hitting no matter which side he swings.Taveras might be the favored one but Grichuk has been a nice pickup.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      We let our best power hitter, Beltran, depart, for a variety of reasons. One reason was to open up opportunity in RF for Taveras, in case he bounces back physically from an ankle injury. For an interim period, Craig would take over in RF, until Taveras asserted himself on AAA hurlers, we hoped.
      Yet if Craig fizzles offensively, as he has, in complete 100 percent reversal from last April, indicated in Brian’s table above, then the team’s calculation could change. Craig is hitting so poorly, he is no longer clearly superior to Oscar. Oscar is not dominating AAA to earn promotion so much as Craig is dramatically lowering the bar for Oscar’s entrance to a RF platoon.
      The Cards generally lack power. Our slugger flew off to Anaheim. To make up for the power shortage, we need more pretty good hitters. This is a reason Kozma had to go, we could not sacrifice offense at SS. We need Craig to hit more like April 2013 than April 2014. If Craig cannot do this, then a right/left platoon would make more sense in RF.

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