Welcome to the second in a series of Report Card postings for individual members of the 2022 Cardinals.
I’m doing this a little differently than what you may see elsewhere. I’ll break down the positive and weaker areas of each Redbird, just so readers can see the good and the bad instead of having the writer issue a snap judgment that doesn’t really offer a complete – and fair – look.
If I’m going to do this the right way, I have to consider more than, say, batting average and ERA. There’s a lot of excellent information out there, and I enjoy learning from it.
I’ll do these Report Cards one at a time to avoid posting a monster-sized piece that will take too long to read. I promise to keep ‘em short.
Next Up: Infielder Tommy Edman.
Opening Thoughts: When reviewing Tommy’s 2022 season, something about him occurred to me: In his four seasons as a Cardinal, I’ve spent too much time scrutinizing his imperfections instead of putting more emphasis on all of the things he does well. And I think his ‘22 season is a good example. I knew that Edman had a good season. But after having a chance to dig in and revisit his profile, I was gobsmacked by just how well Edman performed in all phases of the game.
My challenge: to decide between an “A” grade or a “B+” grade for Edman.
The Case for B plus: I have a few things to offer here, so let’s take a look. And I don’t think any of these items would fall into the category of nitpicking.
— Edman went through a brutal slump that began July 1st and dragged through the first game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field on Aug. 23. In 159 plate appearances during his recession, Edman batted .210 with a .258 onbase percentage and .284 slug for a .542 OPS.
— The switch-hitter was up-and-down against right-handed pitching, hitting .230 with a .628 OPS from the start of May until the end of July. That was 19 percent below league average offensively in park-and-league adjusted runs created (wRC+).
— In 400 plate appearances as a leadoff man, Edman’s OBP was a mediocre .318. When batting second or ninth in the lineup his OBP was .345. As a team the Cardinals ranked 17th in MLB with a .312 OBP at the leadoff spot.
The Case for the A: This is the fun part. I can point out all of his positives, and the list is extensive.
— Edman ranked 10th in the majors in the Baseball Reference at WAR, coming in with 6.3 wins above replacement. In the FanGraphs version Edman ranked 17th in the majors with 5.6 WAR. That 5.6 WAR was in the top five of MLB infielders that played second base, shortstop, or both. WAR takes into account a player’s performance on offense, defense and as a baserunner. Edman’s 5.6 WAR was higher than that of multiple high-profile second basemen or shortstops including Carlos Correa, Jeremy Pena, Corey Seager, Jake Cronenworth, Marcus Semien, Willy Adames and Bo Bichette.
— According to Bill James Online, Edman led the majors in net baserunning gain of plus 51. He was also rated the No. 1 baserunner in MLB with the metric (BsR) used by FanGraphs.
— Edman led the National League with 32 stolen bases. (Which was third overall in the majors.) He was caught stealing only three times. His success rate (91%) was the best in the majors among players that attempted 22 steals or more. He was among the top runners in the majors in the extra-bases-taken category on batted balls (57%). And when Edman was on base, he scored 43 percent of the time – the second-highest rate in MLB to Mookie Betts (45%.)
— Edman provided excellent defense at two positions, second base and shortstop. Overall his 18 defensive runs saved were tied for eighth overall in the majors and ranked fifth among all infielders. He saved 12 runs at second base, and ranked third in the majors at the position despite playing only 615 innings. And he saved six runs at shortstop, which ranked 11th in MLB at the spot even though he played only 622 innings at short. Having a great fielder at two positions was valuable for the Redbirds.
— Edman’s .265 batting average, .324 OBP, .400 slug and .725 OPS were his best since 2019.
— He set career highs with 13 homers and 57 RBIs and chipped in 31 doubles.
— Despite his inconsistency against RHP pitchers Edman did improve in this area in 2022, batting .261 with a .704 OPS. Based on wRC+, Tommy finished four percent above league average vs. RHP this past season. In the previous two seasons (2020-21) Edman was 17 percent below league average offensively against righties.
The Grade: A … and I do so without hesitation.
Thanks for reading …
Bernie invites you to listen to his sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at 590thefan.com or the 590 app.
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Stats used in my baseball columns were sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Stathead, Bill James Online, Fielding Bible, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball Net and Spotrac.
For the last 35 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.
While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.
Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.