3 underlying stats that show the Cardinals fall from offensive prowess

Since 2022, the St. Louis Cardinals offense has sputtered. These three stats could explain why.
Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals
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Pitch Selection

Plate discipline is one of Turner Ward's focuses. In a recent interview with The Athletic (subscription required), Ward stated that "it’s about how we can be in a position as an offense to be ready to swing at pitches we can do damage on. Because when you’re struggling, you just want to get a hit, so you become a strike-zone hitter." Swinging at strikes is fine and good, but swinging at good pitches is ideal. Seeing more pitches opens up opportunities to see hittable pitches.

Ward goes on to discuss how players have been missing fastballs up in the zone and breaking balls down and away. These are typically the two toughest pitches for batters to hit regardless of handedness splits. Jordan Walker and Nolan Gorman are two players in particular who have struggled with these pitches.

When looking at Baseball Savant statistics filtered for fastballs in the top three quadrants of the strike zone, the Cardinals struggles become quite evident. As a team, the Cardinals rank 25th according to wOBA (.244) with fastballs up in the zone. The Minnesota Twins, however, rank first with a wOBA of .346.

Breaking balls down and away tell a similar story. The Cardinals rank 23rd in all of baseball according to wOBA on breaking balls in the bottom third of the strike zone with a wOBA of .249.

In Woo's piece, Ward discusses two players in particular: Jordan Walker and Nolan Gorman. Both have struggled to lay off high fastballs and breaking balls down and away. Both have struggled this year with those approaches.

In order to improve offensive output, the Cardinals hitters must see more pitches, pull the ball more often, and avoid high fastballs and breaking balls down and away. These three categories have wreaked havoc on the team's offensive output thus far.