THE REDBIRD REVIEW
I’m a fan of Eric Longenhagen, the maniacal prospect evaluator at FanGraphs. And when I say maniacal, please understand that it’s a compliment.
In addition to analyzing every trade made at the MLB deadline from a prospect perspective, Longenhagen added another analysis, ranking each prospect that moved to a new organization during the flurry of deals.
Longenhagen’s list contained 57 prospects. Here is his view of the new St. Louis prospects that came over in trades for Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery, Jordan Hicks, Paul DeJong, Genesis Cabrera and Chris Stratton. I put them in order, highest to lowest …
5th overall among 57 prospects: pitcher Tekoah Roby, who was acquired from Texas in the Montgomery-Stratton deal. “Impact mid-rotation talent currently on the shelf with a shoulder injury,” Longenhagen wrote. “Monstrous curveball.”
12th overall: pitcher Sem Robberse, acquired from Toronto in the Hicks deal. “Strike-throwing youngster with good secondary stuff (change/curve/cutter) and no. 4/5 starter projection,” Longenhagen wrote.
13th overall: Infielder Thomas Sagesse, acquired from Texas in the Montgomery-Stratton trade. “Lacks typical pro athlete build and strength,” Logenhagen wrote. “But hands work great. Plus contact quality.”
21st overall: Infielder Cesar Prieto, acquitted from Baltimore for Jack Flaherty. Here’s Longenhagen: “Might have a 7 hit tool, but plays down due to chase. 40-grade infield defender. Eric Sogard type.”
28th overall: Pitcher Adam Kloffenstein, acquired from Toronto in the Hicks trade. Longenhagen: “Sinker/slider backend starter with new, lower arm slot than he’s shown in the past. On a 2024 (MLB) debut pace.”
36th overall: Pitcher Drew Rom, acquired from Baltimore for Flaherty. “Spot starter,” Longenhagen wrote, “with low-90s fastball, sweeper slider, above-average command, funky delivery.”
40th overall: Catcher Sammy Hernandez, acquired from Toronto for Cabrera. “Athletic catcher with plus bat speed, hit tool risk,” Longenhagen wrote. “Raw pitch recognition and defense.”
49th overall: Pitcher Zack Showalter, age 19, acquired from Baltimore in the Flaherty move. “Uphill fastball/slider prospect with relief risk,” Longenhagen said.
54th overall: pitcher Matt Svanson, acquired from Toronto for DeJong. Longenhagen: “Sinker/slider low-leverage relief prospect.”
Here’s a link to the complete analysis, and please support FanGraphs by becoming a member.
SPEAKING OF TRADES: Here’s Jim Bowden of The Athletic with his choice of a pitcher who will benefit most from a trade. He went with Jordan Montgomery. “The left-hander goes to a team that will give him better defense and run support along with an opportunity to pitch in a pennant race (and maybe the postseason),: Bowden wrote. “He has a real shot to improve his value in free agency this winter.”
BOWDEN ON THE CARDINALS: The former MLB general manager gave the Cardinals a “B” grade. “The Cardinals officially started to turn the page on their disappointing season at the trade deadline,” Bowden wrote. “Considering that they were trading mostly rentals, the returns in those deals were decent in both quantity and quality.”
Bowden added this: “The Cardinals received a lot of interest in their surplus of outfielders, including Dylan Carlson, Alec Burleson and Tyler O’Neill, but since all three have had down years or been dealing with various injuries, their trade value wasn’t significant. St. Louis did the right thing by keeping them and hoping they can finish the regular season strong to raise their respective values, and then reassess possible trades in the offseason.”
MORE TROUBLE WITH LIBBY: Back in high school I was really bad at algebra, and my futility to grasp a core subject was embarrassing.
I wish I would have had a guy like Cardinals manager Oli Marmol as my teacher. He would have turned my pathetic “F” grades into a C+ or maybe even a B minus.
Thursday night at Busch Stadium, lefty starter Matthew Liberatore retired the Twins 1-2-3 in a crisp first inning.
Six batters into the top of the second inning, the Cardinals were down 4-0 and went on to lose, 5-3.
Liberatore walked the first hitter. He got an out on a fielder’s choice. He was hammered for a two-run homer by Ryan Jeffers. Will Castro ripped him for a double. Michael Taylor jacked a two-run homer.
Libby was charged with another run in the top of the sixth after the Twins loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Reliever Drew VerHagen inherited the jam and walked home a run that was charged to Liberatore.
For the evening Liberatore pitched 5 and ⅔ innings and was exploited for six hits, three walks and five earned runs. Minnesota’s right-handed hitters had 20 plate appearances against Liberatore and put up a 1.017 OPS. They cudgeled the two homers and the double, drew a walk, and plated all five runs.
That’s pretty extensive damage for only 20 plate appearances. Liberatore struck out only one of the Twins’ right-handed hitters. And the RH bats had a .333 average, .500 OBP and 1.333 slug with runners in scoring position against Libby.
So what did manager Marmol think about Liberatore’s performance?
“Overall I would say it was a positive outing,” Marmol said. “Got beat on the two homers, but at the end of the day I thought he pitched well.”
No, Liberatore didn’t pitch well.
And it wasn’t a positive outing.
It was more of the same.
In his early MLB career Liberatore has a 6.47 ERA in 72 and ⅓ innings. He has an abysmal strikeout rate (14.8%) and a puffed-up 10.5% walk rate.
Right-handed batters have bullied Liberatore for a .333 average, .984 OPS, and 47.3 percent of their hits have gone for a double, triple or home run.
I may have flunked algebra, but I’m pretty certain that a pitcher failed to turn in a positive start when he gives up two homers, six hits, three walks and five earned runs while getting only 17 outs.
ALEC BURLESON STAYS HOT: In the final two games of the Minnesota series the rookie went 4 for 7 with two homers. He’s had a very nice stretch since June 7, batting .295 with a .337 OBP and .526 slug for a .863 OPS. Per wRC+, Burleson is 35 percent above league average offensively. During this period that began June 7, Burleson has a hard-hit rate of 43.7 percent. Since July 1 Burly is batting .323 and is 46% above league average offensively per wRC+.
Burleson has improved his stock. There isn’t much swing-and-miss. By today’s standards, he rarely strikes out – but he strikes the ball hard. Burleson’s defense is better than he’s given credit for. According to Fielding Bible, Burleson is a +1 at first base in defensive runs saved. He’s a minus 1 DRS in limited time in right field, and he’s ranked a respectable 16th in DRS among MLB left fielders.
GET ‘EM NEXT TIME: In Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Twins the top three hitters in the St. Louis lineup collectively went 0 for 12 with six strikeouts. We’re talking about Lars Nootbaar, Paul Goldschmidt and Jordan Walker. Noot had three strikeouts. Goldschmidt had a rough series against the Twins, going 0 for 12 with five strikeouts including two in Thursday’s game. In his last nine games Goldy is 5 for 32 (.156) with a strikeout rate of 27.7 percent.
ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT: With Thursday’s defeat the Cardinals are 14 games under .500 (48-62) and trail first-place Milwaukee by 11 games … the Redbirds are 2-5 on the current homestand after losing consecutive series to the Cubs and Twins. Next up: three at home vs. Colorado … the Cardinals’ home record (24-31) is identical to their road record … the Cardinals have won only six of their 17 series at Busch Stadium so far this season. They’ve lost nine home series and split two.
GOOD LUCK: To Adam Wainwright, who pursues career victory No. 199 when he takes on the visiting Rockies on Friday night. This would be a good time for the Cardinals offense to get on the attack; the fellers have scored three runs or fewer in seven of their last nine games.
MY NEWEST OUTFIELDER RANKINGS
1. Lars Nootbaar. Thursday’s game was a downer, but he’s been lighting it up.
2. Alec Burleson. He’s been hitting better than Jordan Walker for a while now and plays solid defense.
3. Tyler O’Neill: He’s launched his free-agent campaign early, getting a head start on his 2024 season.
4. Walker: Here’s how I feel … Love the person. Love the offense. Love that he’s a Cardinal. Hate the defense. Walker is hitting .213 with a .617 OPS since the All-Star break but I wouldn’t worry about that.
5. Dylan Carlson: had a good game Thursday. But it has not been a good 2023 for the laid-back SoCal man.
Thanks for reading!
Bernie hosts a weekday sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. It airs 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-6 p.m. on Friday. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at 590thefan.com or the 590 app.
Please follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz
The “Seeing Red” podcast on the Cardinals, featuring Will Leitch and B. Miklasz is available at 590thefan.com, the 590 the fan app or your preferred podcast platform. Follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.
All stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Fielding Bible, Baseball Prospectus or Bill James Online.
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.