Molina and Wainwright

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TheoSqua
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Molina and Wainwright

Post by TheoSqua »

As a different thread on this forum pointed out, the offseason is generally a disappointing time for Cardinals fans. The Team's home-grown conservative approach tends to mean off-seasons aren't as exciting as they are for other teams. And even when they are, the team has so many holes and the potential to fill them that a big move like Goldschmidt last year still seems to be a bit lacking compared to what the team was capable of doing.

All that said, I'm a fan of baseball and a fan of watching teams try to solve the continuous cycle of challenges that come with trying to maintain a competitive team at the major league level. I feel any team in this league, even 100 loss teams, still have something worth following and watching. Looking at the Cardinals roster, I see a lot of players and situations on the roster that are worth following. I initially was going to make one big giant post on this, but i ended up writing more about each subject, and it's taken me longer to finish than I expected. So i'm posting what i have and i'll keep posting if/when I find time to discuss other parts.

The twilight of Molina's Hall of Fame Career:
Over the last 5 years or so Molina has alternated slightly above average and slightly below average seasons offensively. He's averaged 1-3 wins over that time as well. Good enough for the tail end of a catcher's career, I guess, and not exactly great, but it's a lot better than completely cratering. So can Molina keep that up for another year or two and cap off his career with a nice year or two? Will age catch up to him and his productive years are behind him? Or will injuries make his performance moot. 

I don't expect Molina to become team MVP again, but I think watching the last few years of such an incredible career and appreciating these last years is something worth watching. I was pretty young when Ozzie Smith was in the twilight of his career. I don't really remember that he wasn't as good as he was in his prime. I just remember that it was OZZIE SMITH, and I got to se ehim play! and he was so good at defense!  Having that chance to watch Smith do his thing even at an old age did more to cement my fandom for the Cardinals than anything else from those relatively mediocre early 90s teams. I hope that there is a generation of fans who are seeing the same thing with the likes of Molina and Wainwright (and i'm still disappointed that it's not Pujols)

One more year of Wainwright:
This one ties a bit into the previous one. Wainwright had a better than expected year last season. He was able to adjust to his lessening stuff to string together a nice season. Even his end-of-year stats really don't show everything. Wagon had a stretch of 22 games where he had a 3.56 ERA that had a solid K rate, low walk rate, etc. A couple of clunkers at the end of the season took him from above-average to average-at-best, but both are more than most expected. 

So what can Wainwright do at his age 38 season? The big difference in 2019 is he kept his home-runs and walks down while minimizing his fastball.  Prior to 2018, Wainwright never had a season where he threw less than 40% fastballs and never used his curveball over 30% of the time. Once he learned the cutter, the vast majority of his pitches were Fastball/Cutter with the Curve being used more as an out pitch. 

In 2018 he started using the curveball a lot more and minimizing his fastball. Last year he was at 38.5% Fastballs and 36.8% Curveballs. His fastball actually hasn't lost a lot of speed, being 89.8mph on average last season compared to 91.1 in 2010. The big difference in velocity was the separation from his fastball and changeup, going from 6-7mph to 8-9mph. He solved this by basically not throwing his changeup in 2019, using it only 1.5% of the time. 

If he can stay healthy and ages with a curve and not a cliff then he has shown he can adjust to his stuff changing and has a great chance of being an effective pitcher with stretches of above-average pitching. 

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heyzeus
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Re: What to watch 2020: Molina and Wainwright

Post by heyzeus »

Molina has always reminded me of Ozzie - a defensive legend who, over time, acquired the hitting skills to be perfectly competent at the plate as well. The Hall awaits.

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Re: What to watch 2020: Molina and Wainwright

Post by TheoSqua »

heyzeus wrote:
March 3 20, 1:43 pm
Molina has always reminded me of Ozzie - a defensive legend who, over time, acquired the hitting skills to be perfectly competent at the plate as well. The Hall awaits.
I would say the same thing about Wainwright. He may not be a Hall of Famer, but he's acquired a reputation of being a great player for the Cardinals. I personally would rather the team stick with Wainwright in the rotation even if there are slightly better options. Especially if the alternative is basically Royce Clayton.

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pioneer98
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Re: What to watch 2020: Molina and Wainwright

Post by pioneer98 »

Another thing about Wainwright - yeah his velocity has only dipped a little since 2010...but I imagine hitters are much better at hitting 91 MPH (or 89 MPH) fastballs in 2020 than they were in 2010. Which makes last season more impressive IMO.

With the crackdown on sign stealing, I expect Wainwright's curveball to be more effective in 2020 than 2019.

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Re: What to watch 2020: Molina and Wainwright

Post by cardsfantx »

Molina and the Cardinals have had recent discussions about a contract extension, and there remains optimism the sides will agree on one before spring training ends. On Monday, Molina reiterated his promise that he’ll play for the Cardinals or retire. (“I’ll go home,” he said.) The “ball is in their court,” he said.
We better [expletive] not do it

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obucard
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Re: What to watch 2020: Molina and Wainwright

Post by obucard »

cardsfantx wrote:
March 3 20, 6:49 pm
Molina and the Cardinals have had recent discussions about a contract extension, and there remains optimism the sides will agree on one before spring training ends. On Monday, Molina reiterated his promise that he’ll play for the Cardinals or retire. (“I’ll go home,” he said.) The “ball is in their court,” he said.
We better [expletive] not do it
What if it means Knizner is the centerpiece in a trade for Arenado?

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Famous Mortimer
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Re: What to watch 2020: Molina and Wainwright

Post by Famous Mortimer »

obucard wrote:
March 3 20, 7:19 pm
cardsfantx wrote:
March 3 20, 6:49 pm
Molina and the Cardinals have had recent discussions about a contract extension, and there remains optimism the sides will agree on one before spring training ends. On Monday, Molina reiterated his promise that he’ll play for the Cardinals or retire. (“I’ll go home,” he said.) The “ball is in their court,” he said.
We better [expletive] not do it
What if it means Knizner is the centerpiece in a trade for Arenado?
It would mean DeWitt had sold the Cardinals to someone far less risk-averse

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