Four players on the St. Louis Cardinals made MLB Radio Top Ten list at their respective positions. Two were not surprise, two were a surprise, two should have made the lists, and two will make it next year.
MLB Network Radio recently released their Top Ten lists at each respective position. The St. Louis Cardinals placed four players on the lists, two of which were not a surprise. What was a surprise, were two of the four who made the list and a couple of players who did not make the list.
However, Paul Goldschmidt was the number one first baseman on their Top Ten list. This is quite impressive coming in ahead of names like Freddy Freeman, Joey Votto, Anthony Rizzo, and Jose Abreu. Again, no real surprise here.
Matt Carpenter came in as the number 10 third baseman on their list. This one surprised me a bit. Although third base is Carpenter’s strongest position, defensively, I’m not sure I would list him on the top ten list. Offensively, Carpenter only makes the top ten lists of runs scored (111) and walks (102) in 2018.
Harrison Bader came in as the number seven center fielder, behind the likes of Mike Trout, Lorenzo Cain, and A.J. Pollock, but ahead of Jackie Bradley. Again this one was a somewhat of surprise to me. Bader played great last year and is Gold Glove capable, but naming him as the seventh best center fielder in baseball after just one season seems a little premature.
Surprise at the Cardinals who were overlooked
Although Paul Goldschmidt was listed as the top first baseman in MLB, he didn’t make the Top Ten Players in MLB list. The top ten in order was Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor, Nolan Arenado, Max Scherzer, Jose Altuve, Aaron Judge, Jose Ramirez, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Yelich. Although this is a list of quality candidates, it’s hard for me to imagine that Goldy didn’t make the top ten at all.
The Top Ten list shouldn’t be based on just one year and Paul Goldschmidt career puts him as one of the best ten players in MLB, in my humble opinion. The new Cardinals’ first baseman has six All Star appearances, three Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger Awards.
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Casey Stern of the MLB Radio Network agreed when he tweeted out that any hosts/analyst ‘who didn’t vote for Goldy as a top ten player, should prep for a Code Red.’ Paul Goldschmidt is one of the ten best players in the MLB.
Another Cardinals player who didn’t make it that surprised me was Miles Mikolas as one of the 10 best Starting Pitchers. If Harrison Bader made one the lists (center field) after a one year performance, I can’t see leaving Mikolas off. The ‘Lizard King’ was seventh in ERA (2.83), tied for fourth in wins (18), second in Win-Loss% (.818), and first in walks per 9 innings (1.301).
Even though I believe any of these top ten lists should reflect a career instead of just one year, Miles Mikolas makes as good of a case as anyone to be added to a top ten list based on a one year performance.
Two Cardinals for the list next year
I think we all should keep an eye on Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong as future candidates to make the top ten list as their respective positions. DeJong and Wong both were in the top ten for defensive WAR in 2018. Wong tied for sixth with a 2.3 defensive WAR and DeJong came in at tenth with 2.1 defensive WAR.
Paul DeJong was on the DL in 2018 from May 18th to July 6th with a broken left hand, and saw his offensive numbers decline from 2017. His OPS fell from .857 in 2017 to .746 in 2018. DeJong will be one of the player to watch if the St. Louis Cardinals, expect to make it back to the playoffs in 2018. Slow offensive recoveries are not uncommon with hand injuries though.
DeJong actually improved his defensive metrics in 2018 with a Rtot/yr of 3 and a Rdrs/yr of 17, over 2017’s of -5 and -7 respectively. With a full year in 2019,I could see DeJong on the MLB Network Radio list of Top Ten Shortstops next year.
Kolten Wong is a player who has yet to reach his potential. Seemly never having the full confidence of former Manager Mike Matheny, Wong has struggled at the plate and sometimes in the field.
However, in 2018, Wong had his strongest year defensively with a Rtot/yr of 15 and a Rdrs/yr of 25. Rtot and Rdrs are defensive metrics that measure overall defensive performances, with 0 being average. If Kolten Wong can now improve his offensive numbers, I could easily seeing him making the Top Ten list for second base next year and earning a gold glove.
These lists by MLB Radio are just an opinion and certainly subjective. Cases can be made for and against certain players being on the lists, and for some players, there is little debate on being on a list.
A case can be made for Paul Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Harrison Bader making the lists at their respective positions. Even though I’m not sold on Carpenter and Bader as being the top ten at their positions, a case for them can be made.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul DeJong, Kolten Wong, and Miles Mikolas added next year to the MLB Network’s Top Ten lists. Who knows, maybe Paul Goldschmidt will make the Top Ten Players in the MLB list in 2020.