This is the third part of a series about the disjointedness of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and organization. This part details how the St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching philosophy plays a part in how disjointed I believe the Cardinals team is at the major league level.
The Pitching Ever since the days of Dave Duncan (and Tony LaRussa), the Cardinals have relied on a heavy diet of sinker/2-seam pitchers to induce (hopefully) weaker contact and throw less pitches. The Cardinals have been heavy into those types of pitchers (not a Lance Lynn joke) in the 6 years under Mike Matheny and Derek Lilliquist (who I realize is gone) as well.
In 2017, the Cardinals threw the 12th highest raw number of 2-seamers plus sinkers in baseball while throwing the 10th largest percentage of 2-seamers plus sinkers. So far this year, the trend has continued under the Mikes (Matheny and Maddux, the newest pitching coach) the Cardinals have thrown about the same (9th most and 12th highest percentage) amount of sinkers plus 2-seamers as before.
Those numbers place the Cardinals hurlers squarely in the upper half in the league and you can surmise that it is definitely something taught in the organization. Sinkers and 2-seamers tend to get ground balls much more consistently than their counterparts and in 2017 the Cardinals’ pitchers finished with the 5th highest GB% while thus far in 2018 they have the 6th highest GB%.
To see how this pitching aspect adjoins the other aspects of disjointedness, please read on through Saturday!
*I’d like to thank Fangraphs for their statistical data regarding ground ball percentages and Baseball Savant for their available pitch data. Both resources are tremendous, check them out!