The St. Louis Cardinals have a home run problem

Issues with hitting the long ball that were evident during Spring Training have continued into the regular season.
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Oliver Marmol, we have a problem.

The St. Louis Cardinals, coming into Monday's game against the Diamondbacks, had seemingly been unable (adverse perhaps?) to hit home runs this year. What started as a mild concern in the offseason has transitioned into a full-blown consternation. Simply put, the Cardinals are struggling to hit home runs this year.

The Cardinals took a while to get their first home run in spring, and they finished with the fewest in baseball with just 17 home runs. While Roger Dean Stadium typically stifles home runs and it was only Spring Training, only 17 home runs in 30 games can create feelings of worry among players and fans alike.

Those troubles have continued into the regular season. It was wholly possible the Cardinals could have 7 players with at least 20 home runs. Willson Contreras, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Gorman have done it in the past. Lars Nootbaar, Jordan Walker, and Brendan Donovan have come close. Instead of chasing the team's home run records on the high end, this roster is instead dwelling in the dregs of the league in long balls.

After 22 games (before Gorman and Goldschmidt both went deep on Monday), the Cardinals have the 29th-most home runs in baseball with a grand total of 13; only the Chicago White Sox trail. Busch Stadium isn't known as a home run park with a Park Factor of just 95 over the last three seasons with home runs -- 100 is average for this figure. Busch ranks as the 10th-least homer-friendly ballpark.

Baseball Savant provides an expected home run statistic. Statcast home run tracker "allows you to see how many of a player's batted balls would have been home runs in the 30 parks around the Majors, based on the trajectory of the ball and the various wall heights and distances of the ballparks." According to this metric, the Cardinals should have hit just 0.6 more home runs than they actually have. Luck hasn't exactly been their enemy with home runs.

Players like Jordan Walker, Lars Nootbaar Alec Burleson, Brendan Donovan, and Nolan Arenado should have marginally better home run values; meanwhile, Ivan Herrera, Nolan Gorman, and Willson Contreras have been a bit lucky with deep flies.

On the pitching side, the Cardinals staff has allowed 26 balls to leave the ballpark, tied for 6th most in the league. Pitchers like Kyle Gibson and Miles Mikolas are near the top of the leaderboard with home runs allowed. The staff as a whole did a good job at limiting home runs in Spring Training; they allowed only 31 home runs, good for 21st in the league.

Not only are the Cardinals struggling to hit home runs, but they are also having a hard time limiting opponents' long balls.

The season is still early, and players like Nolan Arenado, Nolan Gorman, and Paul Goldschmidt have yet to find their respective power strokes. Last year, the Cardinals finished 12th in the majors with 209 total home runs. If they as a team can begin hitting the long ball, the offense will begin to light up.