For the first time in several seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals are playing for next year.
What that should mean is wanting to try and see what players can fit into their plans for next year. With no playoff in the picture, this should mean that they can be looking at a bunch of new lineups with new fresh faces, not trotting out the same players that already have a track record.
What has been a big problem in the last couple of years is the reluctance from the front office to make changes. You spent a lot of time, researching, drafting, and developing players, or trading for them and I get that you still see the potential. There comes a time when you must make the hard decision that they just might not reach the level we all expected from them and move on.
Here are a few players I think it’s time to move on from.
Dylan Carlson is only 24 years old and I understand to most reading this it is crazy to move on from someone this young. Especially someone that came in third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2021.
The problem is every year since that rookie season he has regressed. His BA/OBP/SLG has gone from .266/.343/.437 in 2021 to .236/.316/.380 last year and this year it is .219/.318/.333. His OPS has dropped from .780 in 2021, to .695 last year and this year it is down to .651. Almost every offensive category is on a downward trend.
But he is such a good outfielder you say. Looking at a fairly new stat but one I really like better than most defensive stats is OAA (Outs Above Average). OAA is the cumulative effect of all individual plays a fielder has been credited or debited with. So the harder the play is to make the more points it counts for. You can read the entire definition here.
So how does he stack up if we use his center field stats? At the top of the list using 2021 through today, we see Michael Taylor with an OAA of 18, Trent Grisham is second at 17, and some guy named Harrison Bader, during the time he was with the Cardinals, came in third with an OAA of 14(with the Yankees he has an OAA of 7). Carlson during that time has an OAA of ZERO. So he is the very definition of average. Lars Nootbar playing centerfield has a +2.
Looking at real numbers we have an average center-fielder whose offensive production has gone down every year since his rookie year.