Chasen Shreve joined the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline in 2018 and was more or less solid for the rest of the season. What is his 2019 outlook?
Chasen Shreve was acquired with fellow pitcher Giovanni Gallegos at the 2018 trade deadline for Luke Voit from the New York Yankees. Voit, who didn’t have a role with the St. Louis Cardinals, went on to hit .333/.495/.689 with 14 homers in just 39 games with them.
Don’t be upset about losing the St. Louis native though, as he never put anything together as a Cardinal whether that was due to lack of consistent playing time or just the pressure of playing in his hometown. At the time, Voit was a throw-away piece that nobody thought would amount to much. Let’s all wish him the best in this coming year.
Back to Shreve, there was a somewhat ominous sign at the time of his trading as there were many tweets from Yankees fans about how happy they were to get rid of him. It may have been a special pocket of fans that had hatred for him, but over his 4 years with the Yankees, he averaged a 110 ERA+ which is a solid 10% above average.
When Shreve came to St. Louis, he was solid but shaky if you look at pure stats. He produced a 3.07 ERA over just 14.2 innings with an ERA+ of 130. However, there were three things that suggest he wasn’t actually this good. One, he had a BB/9 of 5.5. Two, his FIP was 5.48. Three, that is an extremely small sample size. FIP is more or less ERA without luck. The difference between his 3.07 actual ERA and his 5.48 FIP means Shreve got extremely lucky with the Cardinals.
Luck of this kind will not hold in the long run and I’m surprised Shreve wasn’t worse last year. Looking ahead to 2019, ZiPS projects Shreve to perform, unsurprisingly, worse than his stint with the Redbirds in 2018.
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There were really zero indicators of future improvement for Shreve in 2018, and so the high ERA makes sense. As far as his usage, I believe Shreve will mostly be kept for lower leverage roles and that is about it. Shreve actually has reverse splits for his career meaning lefties hit him slightly better than righties, so a LOOGY role is out of the question.
I think these numbers from ZiPS are probably spot on for Shreve in 2019 so I’m not going to even make a prediction. He is mostly a depth piece.
Shreve is one of four projected lefties that are playing for spots in the bullpen (the others are Andrew Miller, Austin Gomber and Brett Cecil) and I am not sure exactly how many the Cardinals will be planning to carry. He will have to provide value to the team, maybe even more than his projected 0.3 WAR to keep a spot on the team.