St. Louis Cardinals: A Tribute to Randy Choate
Lefty reliever Randy Choate, who spent the last three of his sixteen major-league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, called it a career last week.
The St. Louis Cardinals signed Randy Choate prior to the 2013 season to take on the role of LOOGY (Lefty-One-Out-Guy) in the St. Louis bullpen. In total, he spent three seasons in the Cardinals’ pen. His first year in St. Louis was his best, when he compiled a 2.29 ERA in 35 1/3 innings (64 appearances), and held lefties to a .176 average at the plate.
In his three years wearing a Cardinals uniform, he appeared in 196 games, hurled 98 2/3 innings, and recorded a 3.56 ERA. Lefties went 44 for 243 against Choate in those three years, amounting to a .181 batting average.
The LOOGY role Choate performed is an endangered species in baseball. More on this subject will be coming this week.
Choate threw his last pitch at the age of 39 in 2015. He officially retired at the age of 41. He had mentioned before that he felt like he could pitch until he was 50, if there were teams willing to give him a shot.
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As teams have found decreasing need and space for a LOOGY in their bullpens, Choate found there was no longer a need for his services.
The job of a LOOGY is often to enter the game to face one dangerous left-handed batter and retire that batter. As a member of the Cardinals, Choate often was called upon to face the likes of Pedro Alvarez, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Anthony Rizzo.
Choate’s career stat line supports this. In sixteen years with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Cardinals, he appeared in 672 games but hurled only 408 innings. That’s an average of just less than two batters faced per innings.
For his career, he faced 714 right-handed batters and 1,036 left-handed batters. Righties hit .290 against him, and lefties hit .195. He was a reliever for his entire major-league career, but started 45 career minor-league games, including one complete game in 1998. Choate spent 2016 in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization at the triple-A, double-A, and rookie league levels.
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The Cardinals figure to be in good shape from the left side of the pen in 2017 with southpaws Brett Cecil and Kevin Siegrist. Choate will be remembered by Cardinal Nation for an up-and-down three years, but he was an important piece in the team’s run to the World Series in 2013.