I was under the impression during the off-season that the Cardinals would be looking to upgrade at a corner infield spot. My mind immediately went to Josh Donaldson who was coming off an injury ridden season with the Blue Jays and Indians. His cost was going to be high, but his ceiling was even higher. I’llWell, as luck would have it for the Cardinals, Donaldson picked Atlanta over St. Louis. There are a number of reasons as to why he did this. Firstly, he was familiar with the front staff of Atlanta from his time in Toronto. He is also from the south and grew up a Braves fan. More importantly though, I’m sure that the Braves also offered more money, so in short, it made sense that he went to Atlanta.
But enough on Donaldson. The Cardinals still have a need to fill. They have been linked to first basemen Paul Goldschmidt, who certainly fits the bill for an impact bat, but there is no guarantee that Arizona will like your prospects over any other interested team, plus it’s no guarantee that he will re-sign with the club. So that begs the question, is there another option?
Not long after Josh Donaldson was taken off the market, my twitter account became flooded with fans asking “What about Mike Moustakas?” And if you’ve seen any of my recent tweets, you’d know how I feel on the topic.
Now, instead of just telling you that I don’t think he is an upgrade, I’ll do my best to give you my understanding as to why that is. Mike Moustakas isn’t an upgrade over Jedd Gyorko, who he would essentially be replacing. Many fans would like to argue that point, but the numbers prove it.
If you take a look at their 162 game averages, you will find that the numbers are strikingly similar.
Gyorko – | 542 AB | 24 HR | 75 RBI | .247 AVG | .738 OPS | 103 OPS+ |
Moustakas – | 592 AB | 24 HR | 78 RBI | .251 AVG | .737 OPS | 98 OPS + |
So, over a 162 games span they are essentially the same player, with OPS+ siding slightly with Gyorko. If Gyorko kept with that pace for the same number of at bats as Moustakas, you’d see a little more of a difference. Now, I will say that Moustakas has certainly improved over his career, but even so, the two players have almost identical production. Take a look at their OPS+ compared over the last three seasons.
2016 – 111 OPS+ in 400 AB
2017 – 112 OPS+ in 426 AB
2018 – 108 OPS+ in 351 AB
2016 – 110 OPS+ in 104 AB
2017 – 117 OPS+ in 555 AB
2018 – 108 OPS+ in 573 AB
The only real difference you start to see in the two players is when you begin to compare defensive metrics. While Gyorko doesn’t get as much playing time as Moustakas does in order to build up offensive statistics, Gyorko is still more effective than Moustakas is in the field. Take a look at their metrics from 2016-2018. Visit Fangraphs for an in depth look on what these metrics mean.
Gyorko – 24 DRS | .733 RZR | 4.9 UZR | 8.1 DEF |
Moustakas- -5 DRS | .711 RZR | -0.8 UZR | 3.3 DEF |
Basically… Gyorko is better defensively by a pretty fair margin. I truly believe Gyorko is an underrated player in the Cardinals organization that doesn’t get the credit he deserves. So please, stop with the Moustakas rumors. He’s not an upgrade.
What are your thoughts?
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Thanks for reading