John Nagel | THE INTREPID STL

Photo Credit: @cardinalsgifs

The St. Louis Cardinals are in an interesting position at the All-Star Break. They are two games under .500, but are currently tied for second place with that team from the north side of Chicago. Even at two games under .500, they are just 5.5 games away from the first place Milwaukee Brewers. Many question if the Brewers can hold on for the rest of the summer while the Cubs World Series hangover is definitely real.

I am here to present an argument for the Cardinals to be buyers at the trade deadline and for more reasons than those listed above.

Standings Since June 9th

You are going to see me reference the last 30 days several times in this post and it’s the main basis behind my argument. If you look at the standings on June 9th and then on July 9th, you will see the Cardinals are +3 in the win column while the Cubs are -2. The Brewers are a +5. If you think the Brewers are going to fall off, the Cardinals could be in the best spot to catch them.

Offensively

Over the last 30 days, the Cardinals have the 5th best wRC+ in all of Major League Baseball at 113. I use wRC+ because I believe it gives the best “whole” picture as an offensive statistic. At 113, the Cardinals are second in the National League and first in the NL Central. The Brewers are ranked 14th and Cubs 16th over that time period.

The additions of Luke Voit and Paul DeJong have really lifted this team offensively. Also, Dexter Fowler has returned to the lineup in the past couple of days.

I don’t really see this number dropping much. Yes, DeJong and Voit are going to hit rough patches, but the addition of Fowler and soon to be Kolten Wong should even things out.

Pitching

Using the same time-table, the Cardinals pitching staff has the 9th best FIP (fielding independent pitching) in all of Major League Baseball. Again, I use FIP because I believe it gives a better “whole” picture of a pitcher or pitching staff. As far as ERA, the Cardinals are 6th best in MLB. The Cubs are 10th and the Brewers are 16th over that time.

I also looked at starting rotation and bullpen and the weak spot has been the rotation over the last 30 days. The Cards starters rank 16th in FIP, while the bullpen is an incredible second in MLB. I asked Cardinals fans to grade the bullpen over the last 30 days and here are the results.

I would definitely give them an A.

Playoff Projections

This was brought to my attention by my fellow Intrepid STL writer Zach Gifford today, but the Cardinals are projected to win 82.4 games, according to Fangraphs’ playoff odds calculator.  The interesting thing is the Brewers are projected to also win 82.4 while the Cubs are at 85.8. This means someone like Josh Donaldson or Giancarlo Stanton could put them over the top.

Schedule

Finally, the Cardinals schedule looks pretty favorable for the rest of July. The next team they will face that is either above .500 or playing well is the Brewers and that is not until the first week in August. If this team is going to go on a run, now is the time to do it.

Based off these reasons above, I think the case could be made for the Cards to be buyers. The team should hold on to Lance Lynn and Seung-hwan Oh, while looking to upgrade in the starting rotation or offensively (probably an OF bat).

For as bad as this season has gone, it is far from over.

Thanks for reading!

John Nagel
@CardinalsFarm