If the St. Louis Cardinals are going to reach the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year here in 2016, they are apparently going to have to do it without at least two of the three young relievers who have served as the core of the bullpen in recent seasons.
Trevor Rosenthal may or may not return this season, with multiple injuries (shoulder, flexor strain) that have him on the disabled list indefinitely. Fellow righty Seth Maness is undergoing UCL surgery this week.
While Kevin Siegrist is back from his own DL stint, he has experienced decreased velocity, fewer strikeouts and more home runs allowed compared to earlier in his career.
On Sunday, in his second consecutive day of work, the lefty was pulled from his appearance against the Cubs after just eight pitches due to what he called a dead arm. Siegrist was checked out and remains active. The 27-year-old did not pitch in the just-completed Houston series.
When Rosenthal lost his grip on the closer’s job, many thought set up man Siegrist would take over the role – and perhaps the Siegrist of old would have – but instead, Seung-hwan Oh did. In recent days, we have seen more of rookie Matt Bowman being used in the kind of high leverage situations in which Siegrist has traditionally thrived.
The home-grown trio have had many successes in the past. Here are but a few:
48 saves new team record (2015), 2nd in MLB.
278 strikeouts fifth most among MLB relievers (2013-15).
1st among MLB relievers in double plays induced with 39 from 2013-15.
15 wins from 2013-15, T4th in NL, T8th in MLB among relievers.
Lowest ERA by reliever in team history, minimum 35 IP (0.45 in 2013).
3rd among NL relievers with 90 strikeouts (2015).
Let’s look at the Cardinals’ reliance on the three – Rosenthal, Maness and Siegrist – in recent years in terms of workload.
|Rosenthal||26||214||9th MLB||68||T22nd NL||72||T13th NL||74||T12th NL|
|Maness||27||215||8th MLB||76||T5th NL||73||T9th NL||66||6th NL rookies|
|Siegrist||27||192||incl minors||81||1st MLB||37||out 2 mos||45||June debut|
|48||incl minors||63||incl minors|
As you can see, both Rosenthal and Maness are in the top 10 of all MLB pitchers in game appearances over the last three full seasons.
Siegrist would have pushed to join them had he not come up midway through the 2013 season, then missed two months in 2014 with a forearm injury. After leading all of MLB in appearances in 2015, Siegrist allowed three home runs to Cubs’ left-handed batters in the NLDS, equal to his career total to that point.
Is this heavy workload a contributor to these young men’s injuries and reduced effectiveness? You be the judge.
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