St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Holliday’s Power Resurgence Continues
By Josh Brown
The St. Louis Cardinals left fielder is experiencing a power revival in his 13th season.
Remember when the St. Louis Cardinals traded for Matt Holliday back in 2009? I was excited. I’d watched highlights of Holliday before and the main ability that stuck out was just how hard the ball jumps off his bat.
As Cardinals fans we bicker at times about what Holliday has really brought this team over the years, but you can’t argue that his deal has been more than worth it. Still, over the last couple of seasons, Holliday has struggled.
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After his injury-wrought season last year, many wondered whether or not the veteran outfielder could get it back in his 13th season.
So far, Holliday has answered the bell.
Let’s take a look at Holliday’s numbers as they stand on July 21:
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Notice the home run total. Holliday already has 17 dingers in 310 at bats. If Holliday continued at this pace he would end the year around 34 or 35 home runs. How big is that number? Well, consider that Holliday has never cracked 30 homers in a season while wearing a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. In fact, the last time Holliday hit 30 or more long balls was back in 2007 when he popped 36 with the Colorado Rockies. His current .468 Slugging Percentage is the highest it’s been since his .490 mark in 2013.
The 36-year old is experiencing a power revival, and it is a welcomed sight. Unfortunately, there has been some trade-off for this newfound power so far. Holliday is currently sporting career lows in batting average and on-base percentage. The big question is why?
Holliday has always hit for average and done a great job at getting on base. The left-fielder holds a career .304 batting average and a .382 OBP. A big reason to point to those drop offs this season is Holliday’s current .249 BABIP. Essentially, he has had bad luck with balls hit in play. Despite the 17 long balls, Holliday has a career-high 51.5 groundball percentage, which may account for the low BABIP.
When Holliday hits the ball in play, he usually hits it pretty hard, though. Don’t believe me? He currently holds a 40. 2 Hard%, which is the highest of his career. So, I would imagine his luck gets better in the second half and that BABIP rises thereby lifting his batting average higher. So, no need to panic there.
On the other side, Holliday has muscled up with the homers, but only has 16 doubles as of today. So, the extra-base power will have to increase a bit.
Still, if you told most St. Louis Cardinals’ fans at the beginning of the season that Holliday would have 17 homers in July, I believe most would be happy with that.
Next: Don't Count the Cardinals Out Yet
The veteran is putting up a solid season for St. Louis and he is making a strong case for the Cardinals to pick up his $17M option next year. We’ll see if he can keep it up. Thanks for reading.