High Floor…Low Ceiling

A higher floor and a lower ceiling describes the Cardinals. With their skill & experience, we can feel comfortable that the Cards will rack up 85 wins…NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. Actually not many teams can say that…& keep a straight face However, the Lower Ceiling limits how HIGH…or how many wins…we can achieve. The Cards have a good team…..but not a great team….some reasons… …According to the medical world, we reach our pinnacle as a player…and as an overall person physically…. around 23 years of age. Cognitive abilities peak @ 24 years of age and perceptual speed drops continually after 24 years of age. The “Fastball” speed starts going down in a player’s early 20s, and spin rate drops with it. For a batter, Exit velocity begins to decline at 23 or 24. An average runner slows a little more than 1 inch per second every year, beginning pretty much immediately upon his debut. It takes a little over four seconds for most runners to reach first base, which means with each birthday, it’s as if the bases were pulled 4 inches farther apart. Sooo….to summarize this lesson in physiology, the body & the brain begin slowing down…for most individuals…around 23-24 years old. Now…..experience gained through learning tendencies, maintaining skills through years of repetition, expectations based on many similar…or same..situations compensates for this snail-like decline physically. If players don’t…or can’t …adapt, they find themselves with shorter careers. The missing variable is, of course, experience. A 23-year-old begins to decline physically at the same time that he learns how to play baseball better through competition & experience @ the MLB level
….Now…we all know that no 2 people are exactly alike….sooo…obviously some athletes reach their athletic pinnacle a bit later. In addition, I’ve often thought that “smart” players last longer because they learn more from their experiences and use it wisely.
…Shift your gaze to the Cardinals age in their probable starting lineup….Molina-37, Goldschmidt-32, Wong-29, DeJong-26, Carpenter-34, O’Neill-25, CF-Bader-26, Fowler-34. Starting rotation of Flaherty-24, Wainwright-38, Mikolas-31, Hudson-25, Martinez-28 and the closer, Andrew Miller-35, Gallego Gallegos-28 and hopefully Jordan Hicks at the prime age of 23. This roster has veterans who have piled up significant MLB careers…. from their many of years of experience….the Cards will STILL win many games but….can they push through Mother Nature’s tugging on them as they march down the long road of a MLB season & playoffs and still win BIG through those playoffs? High floor….low ceiling.
… after these notes regarding the aging of players, why are we waiting for Dylan Carlson? He’s 21….we’re wide open in LF. He’s been terrific in Florida … bring him up now and start him!…Or… will he get the “Bryant” treatment…brought up just days AFTER the deadline that marks it a full season towards free agency. Any reason to keep him down is a ruse other than saving an extra year prior to him reaching free agency.
…The Cards do have some advantages though….I feel like the Brewers AND the Cubs have stepped back from their plunges into free agency and set their sights and roster at a bit lower standard. Lower floor..lower ceiling… Neither of these rosters seem equal to the rosters of the past couple seasons. The Cubs HAD their run..won a series… so now…I suppose…. they’re good for another 100 years  In the MLB, a team faces their division opponents for 44% of their entire schedule. So… the Cards do benefit if those teams have taken steps backward.
..Some other Cardinal observations…..many Cards fans that I’ve talked with during last season & the off season felt that Paul Goldschmidt wasn’t “all that he was cranked up to be”.. When one looks @ Goldy’s 34 HR, 97 Rbi’s, played 161 games with an OPS of .821 and a glove that saved numerous errant throws out of the dirt, Goldy looks like a solid player to me. Granted his batting average dropped 30 pts to .260 & it was the lowest of his career as was his OPS. But… He is 32 years old…what did you expect? I also think that some fans are bothered by his stiff reactions after a HR or a very good play. The StL fans have come to expect all the Cardinal players to savor the exciting moment..that’s NOT Goldschmidt.
…Kolton Wong played…maybe…the best baseball of his career last year. He led the team in OBP (on base %) @ .361, led the team in steals 24, his 136 hits tied for #2 on the team. He was 3rd on the team in WAR (wins above replacement) @ 3.7. He led the team during their 9-1 stretch in August when they “made their run”. He batted .373, OBP .460 and an OPS of 1.02 for that month. He took the ball to LF and got himself on base..he was very valuable.
…I wish that Carlos would go back to the pen. He seems to savor & enjoy the spotlight of being the closer. In his last full year of being a starter, he was 12-11, started 32 games with a good 3.64 era. However, he pitched 6.0 innings or less in 15 of his 32 starts. Last year, he wasn’t moved to the pen until May. He didn’t really settle in as a closer until July. He racked up 9 saves, 1 loss in July. In Aug it was 5 svs, 1 w, 1 blown save. Sept saw 8 wins, 1 win, 1 hold. I think…we can find other pitchers to go 6 innings easier than we can find a good closer. To me… Carlos brings a higher ceiling than the older Miller.
…the NHL has a narrow distance between the lower & upper ceilings. The Blues have won many “late”, close wins this year. As of Friday, the avg goals per team was 192 for the season. The Blues have scored 208 goals (10th in the NHL)and given 178 goals—also 10th in the NHL. Generally, it’s a very, very fine line between winning & losing …according to Bob’s Stats… in OT/shootouts the Blues have won 12 games & lost 7. In regulation, the Blues are 11-2 in 1 goal regulation games…both losses to Nashville in back-back games. That’s 32 of their 66 games determined by 1 goal!….the high ceiling & Stanley Cup ceiling in the NHL is narrow… much tighter…. than most sports.
…another High floor, low ceiling situation is Tom Brady. He has to sign with a good team with a strong offensive line. He can’t scramble…heck…he can barely move..but he CAN still pass with accuracy on short throws & read defensive coverage schemes very, very well.
….Jumping away from the Redbirds….I hear a “ka…kaw” out there…yep, it’s the Battlehawks! St Louis has definitely opened their arms wide to greet this new team. The attendance at the game has been terrific for the fans…and the players. 27,000+ fans yesterday show that it wasn’t just a 1 game wonder. The viewership on the tube has been stunning. I know that people love football in the Lou but.. I can’t help but wonder if Stan’s snarky remarks about the Lou on the way out motivated many football fans to “JUST SHOW STAN” that the Lou IS a football town… a football CITY …would be a better answer  The fans have definitely raised the floor and the ceiling for the team with their response. Btw….it’s great to hear Howard Balzer back on the airwaves again. He’s a real PRO and a football junkie!
…reaching a new “high”ceiling, the #18 UMSL Mens Basketball team beat Ill-Springfield 86-79 to become Co-Champions of the GLVC. The Men won the 2012 Western Division in 2012. The 25-5 Tritons continue to eclipse the previous school record (22) with most wins in a season. UMSL finished 18-0 at HOME! The GLVC Tourney & hopefully an NCAA Tourney bid is still in the future for this 2019-20 Tritons Team coached by Bob Sunvold.
…YOUR comments are always invited…generally, my blogs on the Cards elicit many thoughts…anxious to see them…..put them on Facebook ,Prepcasts or send to me.

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