The St. Louis Cardinals’ All-Time 28-Man Roster
Bullpen Slot #5 – Steve Kline
For the four years Steve Kline was a Cardinal, he was dominant. His overall numbers even show it as well, he was 12-11 with a dominant 2.69 ERA (3.78 FIP), 21 saves, and an ERA+ of 156. However, these numbers don’t even do Kline justice. The best way to see how good Kline was is to look at the individual seasons in which he pitched for the Cardinals.
In 2001, Kline had an ERA of 1.80 (Career Low), a WHIP of 1.094 (Career low at the time), 6.4 H9 (Career Low), 0.4 HR/9 (Career Low), and a crazy good ERA+ of 241. Not to mention that during the 2001 campaign, Kline held hitters to a .203 average, which included allowing just 10 hits to left-handed hitters all season long for a .149 average. Kline was so good that year that he even got MVP votes, which for a non closer is near impossible.
In 2002, Kline had a ERA of 3.39 much closer to his FIP numbers in 2001 of 3.46, so not surprising that things normalized. Digging deeper shows that Kline still had a good year that year, as he had a 118 ERA+, held hitters to a .251 average and still kept lefties in check at a .230 average. Not as good as his 2001 season, but still a very good season for a left-handed reliever.
In 2003, Kline had a bit of down year by his standards as he finished with an ERA of 3.82 (4.63 FIP). Despite the down year in terms of ERA, Kline still held hitters to .237 average, actually keeping right handed hitters at bay more than left handed hitters (.233 to .243). This was largely due to the fact that right handed hitters had a .234 BABIP against him, whereas left handed hitters had a .275 BABIP against him.
However in 2004, Kline was back at it again. He finished with a new career low ERA of 1.79 (3.68 FIP), a 238 ERA +, 1.073 WHIP (Career Low). He also held hitters to another low batting average of .209, mostly due to the fact that left handed hitters only managed to hit .143 against him that year. In perfect Cardinals’ fashion the team cut bait at the right time, letting Kline go as a free agent, as he posted an ERA over 4.00 in two out of his last three seasons.
Kline when healthy and at his prime, is one of the most dominant non closer relievers the Cardinals’ have had, and since this is purely fictional and fantasy that is when we get him on our roster.
Next: Bullpen Slot #6 - Jason Isringhausen