5 changes the Cardinals need to make in the second half

The team sits three games over .500 at the halfway mark. These aspects of the team need to change in the second half.
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 5
Next

Meatballs

I wrote in great detail about the Cardinals' issues with meatballs a few weeks back, and very little has improved in this department for the team. Essentially, a "meatball" is a pitch that is easy to hit and often comes right down the middle of the plate. It's not too fast, not too slow, it doesn't have much movement, and it's an easy pitch to hit.

The Cardinals have seen the greatest percentage of meatballs this year with an 8.3% rate. That's great! The team is seeing easy pitches to hit. The offense should capitalize on those, right?

Wrong. The Cardinals sit 29th overall in meatball swing percentage. Cardinals hitters are swinging at meatballs only 73.6% of the time. This rate hasn't changed throughout the month of June. They're seeing the greatest percentage of meatballs in baseball, but they're practically swinging at them the least often. That's not an ideal combination.

Brendan Donovan is seeing meatballs at a 9.6% clip, but he's swinging at them just 64.2% of the time. Paul Goldschmidt is seeing meatballs 9.1% of the time, and he's swinging at them only 70.1% of the time. These two hitters should be focal points of the offense, but they aren't maximizing these opportunities.

The pitching side of things has improved since I last wrote. Cardinal pitchers are throwing meatballs 7.7% of the time, the 10th-most frequent rate in the league. Hitters are swinging at them 77.4% of the time. Ironically, Sonny Gray is throwing meatballs at the highest rate (8.6% of the time) on the team. Kyle Gibson has the lowest meatball rate in all of baseball.

The Cardinal hitters should capitalize on these easy-to-hit pitches more often. In order to boost the offense, the players should take advantage of meatballs to do some damage to opposing pitchers.