Rasmus was a 22-year-old center fielder and the team’s top prospect in 2009 when he won a spot in the starting lineup for the second game of the season. In 143 games, Rasmus batted .251/.307/.407 with 16 home runs and 72 runs scored. That was only good enough for a .248 True Average, but his strong defense in center (4.3 FRAA) earned Rasmus 1.7 WARP for the season. There might have been some growing pains along the way—there was one game against the Royals where Rasmus moved slowly in the outfield, allowing the runner to stretch a single into a double, that drew some comments from management—but Rasmus looked like a future building block for St. Louis following his rookie campaign.
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The number of games remaining against the division's bottom-dwellers may help determine which Central team goes to the playoffs.
Over the weekend, the Chicago Cubs swept the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field. In the three-game series, Chicago outscored Houston 14-7, as each of the Cubs’ starters went six innings or more. That small stretch of performance was notable because it was the first three-game winning streak the Cubs had had, over 100 games into the season.
Those wins were a nice sign of life from a team some predicted to be the division's dark horse before the season began, but the Cubs are 42-60 even after the series sweep, and no one expects them to roll on to first place or even respectability. They just don't have it in them, and the Astros aren't exactly a team whose defeat inspires celebration. With a .327 winning percentage as the trade deadline approaches, Houston is far-and-away the worst team in baseball.
Even if Chris Carpenter's ERA more closely matches his peripherals in the second half of the season, the Cardinals will face a contractual quandary this winter.
After flying high for most of the spring, the Cardinals have lost their grip on first place in the National League Central. Since winning a series in Houston a week ago, the Cards have been outscored 42-16 and lost six games in a row. Meanwhile, the St. Louis disabled list is overflowing, and the rival Cubs, among others, are positioned to offer Albert Pujols approximately eleventy billion dollars this winter.
Examining how the Cardinals may look to lock up one of the greatest first basemen of all time.
Albert Pujols is only 45 weeks away from free agency. From Flushing to Chavez Ravine, executives are watching, wondering if the unthinkable will happen and the face of the Cardinals franchise will hit the open market. Just the thought is enough to send all of St. Louis and a good portion of the Midwest into crisis lockdown panic mode.
The Tony La Russa-Albert Pujols era in St. Louis is nearly unprecedented.
It’s the last day of the season at Wrigley Field and I’m determined to wait out Albert Pujols.
I’ve been assigned to cover the Cardinals for the weekend series, the last three games at the antique ballpark in the 2010 season. Before each game, I spend about three hours hanging around the Cardinals in the visiting team clubhouse at Wrigley—a dank, cramped space that isn’t as big as the locker room at the high school I attended in small-town Iowa. It’s an awkward setup, leaving you hovering around 30-35 big-league personnel with no place to stand. On the flip side, there really is no place for them to hide. If you need to interview someone, this is the place to do it. Only the most resolute can avoid the press in there.
With the Fall Classic now upon us, the staff at Baseball Prospectus shares their most memorable World Series moments.
Every baseball fan has a special World Series memory, whether it's Willie Mays' catch, Bill Mazeroski's home run, Brooks Robinson's defense, Kirk Gibson's limp around the bases, or Derek Jeter becoming the first-ever Mr. November. With the World Series opening tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco with the Giants facing the Texas Rangers, many of our writers, editors, and interns share their favorite memories of the Fall Classic.
Big things were expect of the Birds, but it's time to give them a peck on the beak and say sayonara.
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview of this season from Buster Olney, a take from Baseball Prospectus, a look toward an immediate 2011 move courtesy of Rumor Central and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview. You can find all the teams on one page by going here.
The newest Hall of Fame manager also found success in the front office.
In his 44-year career in professional baseball, Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog held a wide variety of job titles: player, scout, coach, director of player development, manager and general manager. He earned his place in Cooperstown for his 18 years as a manager, which included 1,281 victories, three pennants, and a World Series title. But Herzog also boasts an impressive resume as a general manager, though the job was one he never particularly wanted or enjoyed.
A historian looks at Willard Brown, the first African-American to play in a big-league game at Fenway Park.
Chris Wertz is a freelance baseball writer and historian living in New York City. He is a contributing author to the recently-released Pumpsie & Progress: The Red Sox, Race, and Redemption, by Bill Nowlin, which was published by Rounder Books.
A look at how a sabermetrician would have viewed a memorable Saturday afternoon game at Wrigley Field nearly 26 years ago.
It started as an ordinary Saturday afternoon game between a third-place club and a fifth-place club—sure, there were NBC broadcasters there, but not the main announcing team of Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola. They were in Atlanta calling the marquee matchup between Fernando Valenzuela and Pascual Perez, while this game featured a rookie starter looking for his first major-league win, and a nondescript veteran with a career 54-57 record. Before it was over, however, one player would hit for the cycle, another would stroke a bases-loaded pinch-hit single in extra innings to win the game, and neither would be remembered as the game’s hero. This Cubs/Cardinals tilt at Wrigley Field was one for the annals, and if you’ve ponied up the cash to log onto CompuServe to read this you probably want more detailed analysis than you’re likely to find in Monday's USA Today—and that’s what I’ll try to provide, along with some statistical tidbits from the recent cutting-edge work of “sabermetricians” Bill James, John Thorn, and Pete Palmer.
The day is dawning when the Cardinals must re-sign Albert Pujols and the Brewers must do the same with Prince Fielder.
Baseball's largest division will likely feature four of the top 15 payrolls in the game for 2010-the Cubs, Cardinals, Astros, and Brewers. The other two teams, the Reds and the Pirates, project to rank 23rd and 29th or 30th, respectively. Continuing our look at the 2010 payroll forecasts (the projections for the AL Central can be found here), let's take a look at the NL Central.