Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Could the Cardinals offense be improved in 2016?

The St. Louis Cardinals offense suffered a big loss when Jason Heyward took less money to sign with the rival Cubs.  Given that the Cards finished 11th in the NL in runs scored, Heyward and his 3.8 oWAR (offensive Wins Against Replacement) will be missed.

With the inability to resign Heyward and the apparent unwillingness to sign another big bat, most fans have given up hope for the Cardinals offense.

But fear not fans, despite the loss of Heyward, its still possible that the team's offense can improve.

Here's how....

Stay Healthy

The Cardinals lost two very important offensive pieces in Matt Holliday and Matt Adams for significant portions of the 2015 season.  Holliday only played in 73 games, while Adams only played in 60.

Prior to 2015, Holliday average a 3.3 oWAR from 2012-2014, while Adams posted a 1.5 and 1.4 oWAR in his first two seasons in the majors.

If the Cardinals can get 130 to 140 games from both of those two guys, it will go a long way to replacing Heyward's production.

More Piscotty

The main benefactor from the Heyward departure appears to be Cards youngster Stephen Piscotty.

Piscotty burst onto the scene in 2015, hitting .305/.359/.494, good for a 1.4 oWAR in just 63 games.  He should get the majority of the playing time in right field and could double that oWAR in 2016.

While his defense will not make anyone forget Heyward, his offense should not be much of a drop off.

Better Bench

One thing John Mozeliak did do this offseason was improve the team's bench.

Gone are the light hitting Pete Kozma (-0.7 oWAR), Jon Jay (-0.6 oWAR), Tony Cruz (-0.5 oWAR), Peter Bourjos (-0.3 oWAR) and Mark Reynolds (-0.3 oWAR).

Replacing them are Jed Gyorko (1.2 oWAR), Brayan Pena (0.6 oWAR), a full season of Tommy Pham (1.1 oWAR in 52 games) and late 2015 acquisition Brandon Moss (0.1 oWAR in 51 games).

Overall the Cardinals offense can improve, but there are some questions.  Can Holliday stay healthy for a full season?  Will Piscotty continue to produce or will he suffer a sophomore slump?  Can the bench be relied on to give the starters (especially aging veterans Yadier Molina and Holliday) some rest?

The answers to those questions will determine the fate of the Cardinals offense.


  1. A nice Wishful Thinking Article! The reality is Holiday is 36, Adams may get the MVP in a Pie Eating Contest, and Grichuk with all the rest ARE injury prone. This powerful division the Cards are in, if they don't pick up a Davis, Upton or Cesp, it's Hello 3rd Place.

    1. Oh, by all means I hope we do land Davis, Upton or Cespedes. But, at the same time, I don't think our offense is in as dire straights as everyone makes it out to be.

  2. While the pitching will likely not match 2015, it will still be top three in MLB. The key on offense will be first base. Cards GM has a lot riding on Adams and Moss. Their production will float or sink the offense.

  3. Lets answer the question to the title of this article. The Cards had a below average offense and now we lost Heyward. We did next to nothing but sign a 2nd string catcher to improve it. We paid big bucks for an average pitcher to join the team and we paid big bucks to keep a below average relief pitcher. We are now hoping our below average offense stays healthy?? If I was an Owner of this team, I would say, "Mo you got to Go"!!

    1. Heywad is easy to replace.... Piscotty will outdo what JH gave us in RF in '15. Heywad = greatly overrated.