Team hitting stats under Marmol
Getting on base is not the manager’s job. He is not the hitter or the hitting coach. This is all on the batters. They are doing a good enough job of getting on base. The Cardinals rank 9th on OBP. We rank higher than all of the other teams in our division. The Cardinals rank 8th in walks. We have the second-best hard-hit rate only behind the Braves. Once the player does his job, and the numbers say they are, then the manager takes over. The very second the batter’s foot hits the bag, it is at that exact point the manager (through the coach ) should be determining how to get that player to cross home plate.
Let’s look at some statistics to see what is happening after the batter puts the ball in play.
Taking the extra base - Baseball-Reference has a stat XBT% -- Extra Bases Taken Percentage (Percentage of times the runner advanced more than one base on a single or more than two bases on a double, when possible). The Cardinals rank 27th. In other words, they stop the runners at first, turning doubles into singles and triples into doubles. You could blame this on the coaches but the manager is the one that ultimately determines the aggressiveness of the team.
Stolen bases - The MLB changed the rules to make it easier to steal bases this year trying to generate more runs scored. St. Louis ranks 23rd. Last year they stole 95 bases. This year with less than three weeks left we have 90. Do they just have slow players? Baseball Savant has 27 ft/sec as the average sprint speed. Edman, O’Neill, Walker, Nootbar, and Donavan all have better than average speed. Edman has 24 stolen bases. The others combined have a total of only 20. When half your lineup has above-average speed, this is a big failure. To not take advantage of what the league just gave you is negligence. At the very least, it shows complete indifference.
Bunts/Sacrifice Flies - How is this manager with moving the runner over? They are 18th in bunts and only 27th in sacrifice flies. I get that bunting has become a lost art but at this point, the question is why are they that bad at moving players over, and they aren’t doing everything they can to generate a run? Again, these are usually calls from the dugout.
Bases Taken -(Bases advanced on fly balls, passed balls, wild pitches, balks, defensive indifference). The Cardinals rank 18th. These are give-me’s that are free.
1stS3 -- (On First, when a single is hit and the runner reaches third or scores.) The age-old first to third. One of the prettiest plays in baseball. The Cardinals rank 23rd. With above-average speed, this makes no sense to me.
Pinch Hitting - They rank 25th in the league for the number of pinch hits. Baseball-Reference has a stat to pair with the number of pinch hits. Pinch Hit Leverage Index (The importance of the context in which the Pinch Hitter was used Above one means higher than average pressure. Below one means lower than average pressure. ) The Cardinals index is 2.08. The only team with a higher index is the Rays with a 2.09. So this tells me they don’t pinch-hit very often but when they do it’s only when it’s a high-pressure situation such as the game is on the line in the 9th inning. Very seldom do we see this team pinch-hit in the sixth or seventh inning to get that one extra run.
RS% -- Run Scoring Percentage - (Percentage of times a baserunner eventually scores a run.) The Cardinals ranking: 31st. Only the Oakland As are more ineffective at scoring runs than they are.