Cardinals: What is with St. Louis' willingness to trade Ryan Helsley?

Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals - Game One
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Ryan Helsley's metrics show signs of sustained success

First off, expecting Helsley to be as dominant as he was in 2022 is probably too high of expectations. He was easily a top 3 reliever in baseball last season, and he along with Emmanuel Clase and Edwin Diaz had some of the best seasons by relievers in recent memory. Even so, Helsely's season was not a fluke.

Among traditional stats, his 1.25 ERA was the 36th best single season ERA all-time among relievers who threw at least 50 innings, and his 13.08 K/9 was the 101st best individual season among all-time relievers. If you look at the names he ranks with in both categories, they are elite groups of pitchers.

When looking at advanced metrics via Baseball Savant, Helsley ranked in the top 1% of baeball in xBA, xSLG, wOBA, xwOBA, k%, and xERA in 2022. He was in the 100th percentile in velocity, 99th percentile in fastball spin, 97th percentile in Whiff%, and 91st percentile in chase rate. All of these things indicate that Hesley's success was not just a product of luck, but true dominance on his part.

Now, that does not mean Helsley couldn't get into some kind of funk in 2023 or that scouting reports won't improve on him, but his stuff show continue to make him one of the best relievers in baseball barring injury or major regression in his development. If he puts up this kind of season once again in 2023, I am sure the Cardinals will be less willing to move on from the right hander and a team like Toronto may regret not dealing for him.

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