4 players on the St. Louis Cardinals playoff roster bubble
Keep him on the roster: J.A. Happ looked revitalized after coming to the Cardinals in a trade with the Minnesota Twins. In August, he allowed a batting average of only .200, and it seemed pitching coach Mike Maddux might have made an adjustment to Happ and helped him rediscover his youth. Even if he isn’t given a starting role because only four starters are needed in the postseason, Happ could still do well as a bullpen southpaw.
Leave him off the roster: Happ’s September was nowhere near his great August. He increased the use of his sinker in September, and it got hammered to an average of .333 and an expected average of .311. His overall performance in September resulted in an average almost 100 points higher than in August, at .299, and he could be the weakest link in a strong pitching staff.
Keep him on the roster: This is almost certainly Matt Carpenter’s last year as a Cardinal, and it would be very depressing to see him depart without giving him one more postseason opportunity with the team. He’s used as the Cardinals’ primary pinch hitter, and he can still play at first base, second base and third base.
Leave him off the roster: Carpenter is hitting .168, and the advanced stats don’t paint a much rosier picture. He is one of the worst hitters in the league, and age and the shift have decimated him as he struggles to hit the ball to the opposite field. Carpenter is simultaneously the easiest and hardest person to leave off the roster when it comes to logic vs. emotion.
There are some players I would consider dark horses to be left off the postseason roster, namely Jack Flaherty (for injury reasons) and Lars Nootbaar, but these are the four I would make my decision between. This final series against the Cubs might be more meaningful than fans think, if only to determine who will stay on the roster.