St. Louis Cardinals: Four former Cardinals who shined from being away
Four former St. Louis Cardinals were able to have success outside of the Show Me State. With half of those players seeing postseason action, it makes it hurt that much more.
Remember when the St. Louis Cardinals were in the World Series and looked to have the whole world in their hands? Seems like an eternity ago does it not? Well, keeping former teams in mind, how about looking at former Cardinals from recent teams who were able to perform away from the gateway in 2017.
Mark Reynolds (COL) – w/STL in 2015
Boy did the Colorado Rockies get a good deal on Mark Reynolds. After quietly posting the highest average of his career in 2016, Reynolds hit 30 home runs for the first time since 2011. As a Redbird, Reynolds smashed 13 dingers in 432 at-bats while hitting .230.
Even though the Reynolds signing went over far better than the Ty Wigginton experiment, the St. Louis Cardinals did not see Reynolds in their future plans. And if you are a player in the 30s with some pop, why not go to Coors Field. And the land of home runs has treated Reynolds nicely over his two seasons there.
A .301/.389/.546 triple slash line at home does make his over numbers better. But overall, Reynolds has looked like a new man in Colorado, and outside of St. Louis in general.
Matt Holliday (NYY) – w/STL from mid 2009-2016
Great, now I have to hold back tears writing this because I loved Matt Holliday when he was wearing Cardinal red. Anyway, here we go.
During his final two seasons in St. Louis, Holliday slowed down as the injuries began to show up. Playing in 183 of 324 possible games, the Cardinals decided that it was time for the “Stillwater Stinger” to depart. To the New York Yankees he went and improved on a certain aspect of his game.
In a tweet by The Intrepid’s Zach Gifford in June, there was a graphic stating that Holliday posted a high ground ball rate during his final two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. As a Yankee, Holliday started to hit more line drives, possibly correlating to an issue with the teachings of hitting coach John Mabry.
Nonetheless, Holliday was able to slug 19 home runs although at the cost of his average and on-base percentage (both career lows). He may not be the player he once was, but Holliday can still produce.
Matt Adams (ATL) – w/STL from 2012-early 2017
Matt Adams did not have a spot heading into his sixth year with the St. Louis Cardinals. Matt Carpenter was manning first base, Adam’s primary position. In order to give Adams more at-bats, the team needed him to change positions so why not put him in left field?
One belly flop that surely measured on the Richter scale later, and off Adams went to the Atlanta Braves. Adams managed to do so well with his new team that Freedie Freeman moved to third base to accompany Adams when he returned from injury.
During his 100 games with the Braves, Adams hit 19 home runs, drove in 58, and hit .271. Even though Adams cooled down after the break (.242 w/6 home runs in 120 at-bats), his initial start with the Braves leaves Cardinal Nation wondering where was THAT Matt Adams all these years.
Mike Leake (SEA) – w/STL from 2016-late 2017
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Odd to think that Mike Leake was an early contender for the NL Cy Young. Amazingly in his first nine starts Leake’s ERA was 1.91 and opponents were hitting .210 off of the former Cincinnati Red. Then the wheels fell off the wagon, and by fell off I mean they disintegrated.
After his elite nine starts, in the following 17 as a Cardinal Leake sported a 5.73 ERA and opponents hit .324 off of him. Rather than stay the course with Leake, the St. Louis Cardinals dealt him to the Seattle Mariners for middle infielder Rayder Ascanio and salary relief.
For the remainder of the season, five starts worth, Leake pitched for the Mariners. 32 innings later and Leake looked to get back his early season form. A big key was Leake avoiding giving up the long ball (1 in his 32 innings w/SEA), an issue that plagued him during his falloff (15 in those 17 starts, or 92.2 innings).
Next: Dexter Fowler, leadoff hitter? No thanks
With Lance Lynn looking like he will become a free agent, we could well see him on a list such as this next season. There are of course players who did not do well away from the Cardinals (Jhonny Peralta) but it hurts more when players succeed away from your team.