In the search for additions should the St. Louis Cardinals signing of Mike Moustakas be considered?
One of the under radar free agents of the offseason has been former Kansas City Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Until today, I really haven’t considered “Moose” an option for the St. Louis Cardinals.
As you are certainly aware by now, I enjoy digging into the numbers to see if a player is worth it. So, let’s see if the St. Louis Cardinals signing Mike Moustakas is worth it.
First off, it is evident that Moustakas is a very scary player for any team to consider. He is going to free agency after a career year with only one other successful year to back himself up by. Not only that, but he’s got an odd profile.
Throughout his professional career, he’s been a guy who would hit around 15-20 homers, strike out about 15% of the time, and walk about 6-8% of the time. However, last season was an outlier for Moustakas and it was a breakout season for him.
His numbers in 2017 reflected an uptick in power as he cleared the 30 mark for the first time in his professional career with 38 homers. He even did this without sacrificing his strikeout rate, as he only struck out 15.7% of the time. However, even with his 38 homers, Moustakas only registered a 114 wRC+.
To put things in perspective for you, in 23 fewer games last season, Jedd Gyorko was just two points lower than Moustakas 112. While the Cardinals need to find someone to maybe make Gyorko a bench guy with his numbers and inconsistencies, this is something to keep in mind as we continue.
Looking at Moustakas’ swing there doesn’t seem to be anything that is different than his 2015 swing. So, I am not too sure what Moustakas did differently in terms of creating the additional power here. Although Travis Sawchik of Fangraphs mentions that it seems as if Moustakas has improved his batted ball profile.
Moustakas had a rise in his ability to drive the ball as his fly ball percentage jumped 4.3% from 2015 (his last full season prior to 2017). Some point this to the suggestion that MLB changed the ball.
However, even if MLB did change the ball it’s not likely changing anytime soon. Manfred knows that fans dig the long ball and if there’s one thing we know about Manfred; if he thinks fans want it, things aren’t changing.
The St. Louis Cardinals signing Mike Moustakas would definitely be intriguing. Honestly, I like him a lot better than his now former teammate Eric Hosmer. Just like with Hosmer it is the defensive numbers that concern me.
In 2017, Moustakas posted his worst UZR/150 at -3.6. Throwing out the 2016 season, this seems to be a bit of a trend as in 2014 he posted a 2.9 and 2015 a 1.4.
The most concerning issue is his range. His range runs above average (RngR) was at -5.3 for last season. Yet again this is a number that has been descending over the past few seasons.
Ultimately not a fit
The concern here is that at the age of 29, Moustakas is losing the ability to play third base defensively and it will only get worse. This likely will move him to first base and DH as he moves throughout the rest of his career.
Should the Cardinals Signing of Mike Moustakas actually happen, it simply wouldn’t be beneficial. Like we stated with Hosmer, the Cardinals struggled defensively last season and in order to improve, they have to have strong defenders at each position.
At this point, the Cardinals should just not look at any player who used to play in Kansas City. Not only do Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas not fit, but I don’t see Greg Holland as much of a fit either.
I know that as a St. Louis Cardinals’ fan it sucks seeing the team disappoint the last two years. However, the front office is smart and won’t make drastic moves that will hurt the team in some way.
Moves like the Cardinals signing Mike Moustakas are moves that are reactionary at best. While it would be nice to have Jedd Gyorko off of the bench, Gyorko is honestly just as effective as Moustakas at this point and Moustakas simply doesn’t seem worth risking the defense right now.
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