According to Baseball-Reference, Giancarlo Stanton has been worth 5 WAR in 2014. WAR is Wins Above Replacement (player), and that means his team has added about five victories to the wins column because he patrols right field instead of, say, Jeff Baker, a teammate.
Aaron Finkel writes for Viva El Birdos, a website devoted to the St. Louis Cardinals. During Monday night’s game, he posed this one on Twitter:
Can a player be worth more than 1 WAR in a single game? #stanton
— Aaron Finkel (@Aaron_Finkel) August 12, 2014
With a two-run homer, another solo shot that may have been the longest home run of the year, and a great catch in a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, it appears one can do that. He also walked and struck out, but the brawn Stanton displays tantalizes Cardinals fans starving for damage from anyone in their lineup.
Matt Holliday had a nice game, going 4-for-4, as did Jhonny Peralta and A.J. Pierzynski; even Jon Jay contributed with a two-run homer in the fourth inning. That’s two days in a row that a Cardinals’ center fielder homered. Collective WAR for those four players in 2014: 6.9. (Holliday 1; Pierzynski 0; Jay 1.3; Peralta 4.6. Baseball-reference gives Peralta 2.8 for offense and 1.8 for his defense.)
What a strange season it has been. Who’d have thunk all this could transpire: Matt Carpenter is really good again. Matt Adams has solidified his position as an everyday player. New second baseman Kolten Wong provides pop and good defense. Yadier Molina, while he was available, was steady. Ace Adam Wainwright is better than ever. Lance Lynn isn’t wilting.
Yet, Matt Holliday‘s power is in decline. They’ve gotten very little out of center field. The absence of Molina is felt daily. Shelby Miller is bad, after being good in 2013. The plan to let Carlos Beltran walk, because they had Allen Craig, and Oscar Taveras in reserve, looks short-sighted from the rear-view. Beltran has been on the disabled list twice this season (not once in his two years here), and has not been very good. He does have 14 home runs. You can’t blame the organization for making the choice to let Beltran go when he wanted a three-year deal and couldn’t be counted on every day.
Who knew Allen Craig would hit a wall? What are we seeing with Taveras? One could wonder if the club has overrated him. Some people’s “plate coverage” is other folks’ “long swing”. John Rooney on KMOX Radio often comments on Taveras’ long swing. Al Hrabosky of KMOX and Fox Sports Midwest doubts his ability to hit major league fastballs. Taveras swung and missed several times on fastballs thrown by Chris Tillman of the Orioles Friday night. The pitches were down the middle and slightly elevated at 91-92 mph…not ones an elite hitter is supposed to miss.
The National League Central has been ripe for the taking all along. The Reds are decimated by injuries. The Pirates are hanging on. The Cardinals, expected to win anywhere from 88 (Baseball Prospectus), to 93+, (Joe Sheehan), keep entering battle with too little WAR. When will the skirmishes cease? Probably September 28th.