St. Louis Cardinals: Is shortstop offense good enough?


2015 ended with the St. Louis Cardinals posting a 100-win season despite a lackluster offense, but was it all that lackluster?  Cardinal shortstop(s) combined to post average offensive numbers last year. What’ll they do in 2016?

I am very excited to spend the following articles examining the St. Louis Cardinals position by position in comparison fashion in an effort to find trends.  What is at stake is whether or not the 2015 Cardinals were a reality, an anomaly, on par with everyone else, better than everyone else, or worse than everyone else.

As a reminder, this article series will examine the 2015 offensive statistics in comparison to the MLB average one position at a time.  Also, each post will examine the aggregate statistics of each position as projected for 2016 to look for increases or decreases in light of concern or celebration.

Next up: shortstop.

The following was the MLB overall offensive statistics:


Now let’s look at the MLB average for shortstop:


Now let’s look at the Cardinals 2015 team average for players appearing at shortstop:


Okay, so let’s dig into this a little… What jumps out to you?  To me, I immediately noticed that in 2015 the Cardinals shortstops seemed to set the mold for average in the majors.  A quick glance at the statistics shows that aside from a few statistical fields (home runs, RBI, walk percentage, and OBP), the Cardinal shortstops fell at dead-middle.

This all comes with relief after having examined the other positions in which the Cardinals posted sub-par numbers. It also comes as a relief after a few years of sub-par production at shortstop (anyone need reminder of Khalil Greene or Brendan Ryan?).

These statistics, while not blowing the moon out of the sky, show that the likes of Jhonny Peralta, Greg Garcia, and Pete Kozma (yes, that guy Kozma again) contributed at an equal rate to their counterparts across the majors.  But, BUT, we must recognize the statistical differences and who was the real contributor!

Let’s look individually to better judge these numbers.

Kozma (why not start with the lousiest) posted 0 home runs, 2 RBI, 3 stolen bases, a 9.0% walk rate, an 18.9% K-rate, a 0.00 ISO, a 0.192 BABIP, a slash line of .156/.236/.152 all accounting for a negative (yes, negative) 0.6 WAR.  Can we all again celebrate his departure?

Garcia, on the other hand, posted 2 home runs, 4 RBI, 0 stolen bases, an 11.5% walk rate, a 13.8% K-rate, a 0.147 ISO, a 0.262 BABIP, a slash line of .240/.337/.387 all accounting for a 0.2 WAR.

Peralta, the stalwart shortstop, posted 17 home runs, 71 RBI, 1 stolen base (look out!), a 7.8% walk rate, a 17.3% K-rate, a 0.136 ISO, a 0.311 BABIP, a slash line of .275/.334/.411 all accounting for a 1.7 WAR.  This man served as the rising tide raising all ships.

More from St Louis Cardinals News

Now that we have taken a moment to (1) celebrate the departure of Kozma, and (2) recognized the average genius that is Peralta, let’s turn to projections…

MLB shortstop Steamer projections:


Now, how about Steamer projections for the 2016 Cardinals:


Let’s break it down. It is of utmost importance that I notify you that the projections above include only Peralta and Garcia.  Steamer wanted to add in Aledmys Diaz but credited him no home runs, 1 RBI, 1 stolen base, a slash line of .254/.297/.379 and a 0 WAR.  I chose to remove him from the calculations above only as I think he will contribute at some point this year but not at the start.

Steamer also wanted to add in Dean Anna to the mix but credited him with almost the same stats as Diaz.  I have excluded him as well.

Bottom-line for the projections is that 2016 should produce just above-average statistics for the Cardinals at shortstop.  Depending upon placement in the lineup, this could be a real contribution and could assist other positions.  All teams benefit, in the long-run, by having static, reliable positions and the 2016 shortstops could be just that.

Based on the projections, I feel that fans should find a touch of security in the 2016 shortstops and an added touch of promise in the potential of Diaz. Just think how strong the numbers could be should he explode in AAA and climb to the majors to add to Peralta’s numbers?

Next: St. Louis Cardinals: What's going on at catcher position?

I am very excited about this series and hope that you will follow along as I examine each position on the Cardinals when comparing 2015 stats against the stats of the rest of the league as well as looking at each positions projections.  Follow me on Twitter and let’s discuss each position as we progress through spring training and beyond!