The accounting period is the time span for which a company or organization reports financial performance and financial position. Usually, firms define the accounting period to coincide with the firm’s fiscal year. Typically, four quarterly periods correspond to the firm’s fiscal quarters. As the 2019 MLB season nears the quarter mark, an quarterly report of the St. Louis Cardinals is in order.
The club currently sits at 21-16, one and a half games behind the first place Chicago Cubs. It was just recently, however, that the Cardinals were ten games above .500 holding a two-and-a-half game lead in the division. A sweep at the hands of the Cubs and then a series loss to the Philadelphia Phillies this week has found the Cardinals reeling a bit.
Yadier Molina continues to be a stalwart behind the plate, currently leading MLB in innings caught. Matt Wieters has been productive in the little playing time he has received. Paul Goldschmidt has put up solid power numbers, but much like last year his overall productivity has been a bit sluggish at the start of the season. A recent 3-30 stretch has taken its toll.
Kolten Wong seemed primed to finally reach his considerable potential, but he has cooled after a hot start. Matt Carpenter has struggled mightily coming off his MVP caliber performance of 2018. One of the top lead-off men in all of baseball over the past five years, Carpenter’s on base percentage is currently .327, almost fifty points below his career average.
Shortstop Paul DeJong has been a revelation, hitting for power and average while also playing a very solid and dependable shortstop defensively. His WAR is currently second in all of MLB at 2.5, with Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout being the only one ahead of him. DeJong may just be the best kept secret in all of baseball right now.
Marcell Ozuna has been the player the organization thought they traded for, hitting for big time power and driving in runs at a prolific rate. The only question surrounding him, despite his questionable defense, is his impending free agency in the upcoming off-season.
Jose Martinez, who started the year as a fourth outfielder, has refused to accept that role and instead has done nothing but hit this season. His .354 batting average plays, and so he has found himself with the majority of the playing time in right field. This has resulted in a timeshare in center field between Dexter Fowler and Harrison Bader. Bader is clearly the better defender, while Fowler has shown signs of coming back strongly from his career worst performance of 2018.
The bullpen has been a major strength for the St. Louis Cardinals so far this year. Closer Jordan Hicks has assumed that role and flourished. Right handed set up men John Gant and John Brebbia are also dominating competition.
Andrew Miller has been a bit inconsistent but he still remains a formidable lefty with wipe-out pitches. Solid contributions from Mike Mayers (currently on the Injured List), Tyler Webb, and Giovanny Gallegos have made the group quite formidable. This bullpen could be even more dominant when Carlos Martinez returns from a current rehab assignment. The former ace starter is slated for a bullpen role upon his return.
The biggest concern at the quarter turn for the St. Louis Cardinals is starting pitching. The rotation currently ranks in the bottom third of the league in ERA, batting average against, walks issued, and home runs given up. The inability of the starting staff to pitch into the later innings consistently has already worn on the bullpen.
The current rotation makeup is a mix of veterans with spotty injury histories such as Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright. There are also unproven young arms still feeling their way in the big leagues such as Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson. Miles Mikolas has also not been able to replicate his amazing results in 2018 to this point.
St. Louis Cardinals Quarterly Summary
There is a lot to like about the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals. Despite some individual struggles, the offense has been largely productive and consistent. The bullpen, such an important part of any club, has been solid if not spectacular.
The area where growth is needed lies in the starting rotation. The club must find internal or external options to reverse the current trend and provide more innings to manager Mike Schildt and his bullpen. Internal options exist at Triple-A Memphis. Martinez and Alex Reyes could be potential impacts to the rotation at some point if healthy. External options also exist as Dallas Keuchel is still a free agent.
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