2015 St. Louis Cardinals Season Review: Top Performers

2 of 6

Oct 12, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder

Jason Heyward

(22) hits a two run home run during the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jason Heyward

You absolutely cannot talk about the success of this team without talking about this man. Heyward had a great year for the Cardinals and hopefully it is the first of many. I was optimistic at the start of the season on Heyward, I thought he could come in and fill the void in RF quite well, and was hopeful some of the power from previous years in Atlanta would return.

I was partially right, Heyward was old reliable in RF this season. Through 154 games and 547 at bats, Heyward had a slash of .293/.359/.439 with a wRC+ of 121 according to Fangraphs. Heyward didn’t show “great power”, as he had a combined 50 extra-base hits (37 doubles, 13 home runs, and four triples). Those are some pretty good numbers, despite the lack of homers. 

More from St Louis Cardinals News

Heyward struggled out of the gate, batting just .224 from April 5th to May 5th. Heyward seemed to be pressing a bit as he tried to impress his new team and get used to the new surroundings. However, from that point on Heyward was much better, hitting .307/.375/.459.

However, Heyward was good all around this season, not just at the plate. Heyward was without a doubt one of the best defensive outfielders this team has had in some time. Not only was he the best on the team in this regard, Heyward was the best RF in baseball and it wasn’t close. There are three statistics we are going to look at here that give us an idea of how good a fielder are.

These statistics are ARM (Outfield Arm runs above average), RngR (Range Runs above average), ErrR (Error Runs abover average). These three statistics all come via Fangraphs and combine into UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). This season Heyward was tops among RF in RngR with a 14.8 (next closest was Kole Kalhoun at 7.8), he had the fourth best ARM rating at 4.3, and the third best ErrR at 1.1. These all combined to give Heyward the best UZR in the league in RF at 20.2.

Heyward was also, a top notch baserunner this season. Heyward was fifth in the league with 7.0 base running runs above average. This was evident by Heyward taking the extra base many times and stealing 23 bases in 26 attempts.

Taking all of this in and looking at Heyward’s 6.0 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) it was clear that Heyward was the team MVP this season, and that it would be huge if the team can resign him this offseason.

Next: Five takeaways following the Cardinals' early postseason exit