6:14 AM EST, Mon March 02, 2015
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Viva El Birdos 15 hours ago

Viva el birdos podcast episode 18

Ben Humphrey and Joe Schwarz talk as spring training games are set to begin in the week ahead. Ben Humphrey and Joe Schwarz of vivaelbirdos.com discuss Adam Wainwright's health in light of his recent abdominal strain, the not currently happening John Lackey extension, Yadier Molina's weight loss, high minors prospect Jonathan Rodriguez, and make their predictions for the Cardinals 2015 position player WAR leaders. I did some slightly different things in production this episode, and I'd appreciate your feedback about the sound quality. Overall would be good, but especially Ben's voice since...
Viva El Birdos 21 hours ago

How does the St. Louis Cardinals' core compare to the rest of MLB?

The St. Louis Cardinals have been bandying about the word "core" as an adjective to describe ballplayers going back to the days when Walt Jocketty was the organizaiton's general manager. Most infamously, at least in my mind, was when the Cardinals signed Juan Encarnacion to take over right field from Larry Walker. Jocketty described Encarnacion, who had posted a 97 OPS+ up until that point in his career, as a "core" player. As we entered 2006 (a season in which Encarnacion would put up a batting line that equaled a 93 OPS+) it seemed that the term core had lost all meaning. In recent years,...
The Cardinal Nation Feb 28, 2015

One Less Cardinals Retired Number is Good

The St. Louis Cardinals have re-issued Mark McGwire’s number 25 to bench coach David Bell.
Viva El Birdos Feb 28, 2015

Should the Cardinals extend John Lackey?

While the Cardinals are paying John Lackey the league minimum in 2015, they shouldn't feel obligated to appease him with an extension, especially if such move doesn't fit with their long-term plans. As many of you probably know, the Cardinals acquired John Lackey at the 2014 trade deadline with the knowledge that he would be making the league minimum (just over $500,000) in 2015. This was due to a unique clause in his contract with the Red Sox which stipulated that he would make the league minimum in the final year of his contract if he missed significant time with an arm injury. (He...
The Cardinal Nation Feb 27, 2015

Why Carlos Martinez Cannot be Traded

The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher carries the memory of his late friend and teammate Oscar Taveras with him. In 2015, how could that be anywhere other than in St. Louis?
Viva El Birdos Feb 27, 2015

Hunt and Peck: Another baseball player retires

Previous installments: Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V The back of the bus is quiet, but he liked the quiet. It gave him the chance to look around at the ol' bus one last time. He waited anxiously as the bus pulled up to his stop, picking at a loose thread on his slightly worn Wranglers. As the bus screeched to a halt, he cautiously stood, using the seats in front of him to balance.  "Ew... Why is this seat covered in raspberry jelly?" he said aloud as he wiped what he could of the jelly off his hand and back onto the seat. As he made his way to the front, he...
Viva El Birdos Feb 27, 2015

Jason Heyward can be an MVP candidate in 2015

and it shouldn't surprise you if he is. It is a testament to both the massive hype that Jason Heyward engendered as baseball's top prospect entering 2010 and his stellar rookie campaign that after five seasons as a well above average hitter and outstanding fielder, Heyward's young career is thus far viewed by some as a mild disappointment. Indeed, Jason has not been the superstar predicted in the early days of the internet prospect hype machine. While a pair of gold gloves are nice, he has not yet hit 30 home runs, hit .300, reached 100 RBI or runs, or stolen more than 21 bases in a...
Viva El Birdos Feb 27, 2015

Solo Home Run Rate and the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals

Almost seven years ago, I attended a St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium that went into extra innings. Ryan Ludwick ended that contest against the Rays with a walk-off home run. It was a solo shot. After the game, I remarked that the Cardinals seemed to hit a lot of solo homers. So I decided to see if my observation was true. I had to develop a new stat, which I called Solo HR%, which measures the share of homers that come with the bases empty, to answer my question, so I wrote a Fanpost about it. I've kept track of Solo HR% ever since. The MLB overall Solo HR% typically ranges...
The Cardinal Nation Feb 26, 2015

Saying Final Goodbyes to 2014 Cardinals Free Agents

Updating the status of 18 members of the St. Louis Cardinals system in 2014 who became free agents.
Viva El Birdos Feb 26, 2015

Future Redbirds Top 25 Prospects for 2015: #19 - Rowan Wick

Winner of "Best Baseball Name" for the 2014 Cardinals farm system. Acquired: Amateur Draft, 2012: 9th round (#300), Cypress College (California) Birthday: 11/09/1992 Age: 22 Minor League Stops in 2014: State College (SS-A), Peoria (A) 2014 Stats: PA AVG OBP SLG ISO K% BB% wOBA 298 .292 .383 .608 .316 31.5 11.1 .566 (SC); .323 (PEO) F-R Grades: (You can find the primer on the 20-80 grading scale here) Hit Run Arm Field Power 35/40 40/40 60/65 40/45 60/65 Rowan Wick has a name befitting a superhero's daily doppelgänger and the baseball tools to match. It's likely he...
Viva El Birdos Feb 26, 2015

Examining the fourseam fastballs of the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals

A curveball can look pretty, a slider can be devastating, and a sinker can induce a lot of weak contact, but the fourseam fastball is one of the game's most important pitches. Let's take a look at the fourseamers of the 2015 Cardinals. One of the most interesting parts about analyzing pitching is that no two pitchers have exactly the same repertoire—ultimately providing an opportunity for intensive data collection (using websites like BrooksBaseball) followed by the interpretation of said data. Some pitchers rely on "hard" stuff while others utilize "offspeed" or "breaking" stuff. Though...
Viva El Birdos Feb 26, 2015

Tracking the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals outfielders' batting stats

On Wednesday, we looked at how the St. Louis Cardinals infielders' 2014 batting stats tracked against their end-of-season totals. Because we used the Baseball-Reference game logs, which have a player's running batting rate stats throughout the season, we had four graphs for each player: batting average (BA), on-base percentage (OBP), slugging percentage (SLG), and on-base plus slugging (OPS). Today we'll do the same for the outfielders, including Jason Heyward. Remember, each graphs has two lines. The red line is the player's cumulative end-of-year stat. The blue line is his running total....
Viva El Birdos Feb 25, 2015

What does PITCHf/x say about St. Louis Cardinals reliever Carlos Villanueva?

While NRI minor-league signings usually aren't that big of a deal, Pat Neshek proved otherwise in 2014. Will Carlos Villanueva make the opening-day roster and positively impact the 2015 Cardinals? With what happened in 2014 still fresh in his mind (see: Pat Neshek's All-Star season), St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak signed right-handed relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. While Neshek was given a salary of $1 million upon making the opening-day roster last season, Cot's Contracts lists Villanueva at $2 million should he...
Viva El Birdos Feb 25, 2015

2015 Draft Preview Cinco: Righthanders of the High School World

Three high ceilings, but all with big question marks attached. We continue our draft preview series with three high school righthanders. I don't have any sort of pithy or clever or melancholy intro today. I say this somewhat regretfully, because whether you all like what I do or not, I feel there is a certain expectation of my work, which is to be poorly researched, of middling intelligence but convinced of its own cleverness, and to put far too much emphasis on whatever side story it is I'm telling in the opening paragraphs, usually wrapped in a pleasantly sad aura I've spent what trickle...
Viva El Birdos Feb 25, 2015

Charting the ups and downs of the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals infielders' batting

How did the St. Louis Cardinals infielders' batting production ebb and flow as the 2014 season progressed? Every player is streaky to a degree. There are peaks and valleys in his batting numbers over the course of the 162-game grind. It's easier to define some streaks than others. As someone who felt alternatively that a pitched baseball looked the size of a watermelon and pea, this aspect of the game has always interested me. So I thought I'd make some charts to see if we can get an idea of the ups and downs of the individual St. Louis Cardinals' batting production last season. I went to...
Viva El Birdos Feb 24, 2015

At least Adam Wainwright's medical evaluation is not going to be of his throwing arm

Yes, I realize a pitcher needs an abdomen to throw. The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that Adam Wainwright is flying back to St. Louis for medical treatment. It’s a testament to the generally unhealthy nature of repeatedly hurling a baseball overhead and the questions surrounding Wainwright’s throwing elbow in particular that, upon hearing the nature of his ailment, lead one to respond: "Whew, just abdominal pain…" Yet that’s where we are. Or at least I am. Three years after Wainwright’s 2011 season ended before it began due to Tommy John surgery necessitated by a torn ulnar...
Viva El Birdos Feb 24, 2015

Hunt and Peck: Jaime Garcia is looking forward to 2015

These videos prove it Your browser does not support iframes. Your browser does not support iframes. I cannot help but be excited to see him back, even if I know deep down he will probably break my heart again. Your browser does not support iframes. what else is going on in baseball... John Axford live-tweets the Oscars. - Cut4 Jeff Samardzija on sabermetrics: nyeh. - Hardball Talk CC Sabathia intentionally gained a bunch of weight. - Deadspin The Dodgers and Mariners see large payroll jumps. - Fangraphs Commissioner Manfred says he "doesn't think it would be impossible...
Viva El Birdos Feb 24, 2015

Future Redbirds Top 25 Prospects for 2015: #20 - Breyvic Valera

Both Joe and I are big fans of Valera but not too many others agree. I think that's a mistake, given his three tools that are average or better and how well he's hit at every level thus far. Acquired: IFA, Venezuela - 2010 ($1000) Birthday: 8/1/1992 Age: 22 Minor League Stops in 2014: Palm Beach A+, Springfield AA 2014 Stats: PA AVG OBP SLG ISO K% BB% wOBA 570 .311 .359 ..365 .054 6.1 7.0 .330 F-R Grades: (You can find the primer on the 20-80 grading scale here) Hit Run Arm Field Power 65/70 65/65 50/50 55/60 30/35 Here's what Joe Schwarz had to say about Valera last...
The Cardinal Nation Feb 24, 2015

Why Not a Minor League Taxi Squad?

Instead of placing healthy minor leaguers on the disabled list, why not legitimize the practice?
Viva El Birdos Feb 24, 2015

Jhonny Peralta's incredible production on defense

Jhonny Peralta heads into the second year of his four-year contract with the Cardinals having provided incredible value on the first. His defensive production has been among the best in the league for several years. Defensive metrics can be difficult to grasp. The desire for thee year sample sizes to be confident. Determining credit and blame on easy defensive plays and hard ones seems impossible. Coming to grips with the concept that a run saved is just as valuable as run created. Watching someone with an atypical body-type and poor reputation in his youth thoroughly dominate at...

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