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A Look at the Cardinals’ Hitters: Who Has Improved the Most Since the Manager Change?

Updating the numbers from the exciting new world of baseball that the Cardinals and their fans are living in:

After sweeping the Dodgers the Cardinals are 71-57, suddenly soaring at 14 games above .500 after having won their last eight series including a three-game road sweep of the LA Dodgers.

That’s notable because the Cardinals never got higher than nine games above .500 in 2017, and peaked at 10 games over .500 in 2016.

The Cardinals are 24-11 under manager Mike Shildt, the best record in the NL since July 15.

Since resetting the bullpen on July 27, the Cardinals are 20-6 and have the  best winning percentage (.769) in the majors.

The Redbirds have the best MLB record in August (17-4, .810),  and have won eight consecutive road games.

How profound is the difference in the Cardinals since an intelligent, emotionally developed, genuine  and more tolerant manager took over the leadership of a troubled, unhappy and underachieving team?

In 93 games this season under the former manager, the Cardinals were one game over. 500, and had a run differential of +9.

In only 35 games under Shildt the Cardinals are 14 games over .500 and have a run differential of + 54.

In the former manager’s final 35 games, the Cardinals had a .428 winning percentage.

In his first 35 games, Shildt has a .686 winning percentage.

This season the former manager won 11 series, lost 13 and tied seven.

Shildt the current manager has been in charge for 10 series, and has won 8 of 10.

Former manager was 23-24 at Busch Stadium this season. New manager is 11-4 at Busch.

Former manager was 24-22 on the road. New manager is 13-7 on the road.

Runs scored per game this season, former manager: 4.37.  New manager: 5.0

Runs allowed this year, former manager: 4.27 per game. New manager 3.45.


I’ve written on this before, but the offensive upgrade has made a difference. Not only are the Cardinals averaging 5 runs per game since the changes that installed Shildt and batting coaches Mark Budaska and George Greer, the Cardinals have done better across the board.

Their batting average since July 15  .273 — or 27 points higher than the .245 under the former manager and batting coaches.

Onbase percentage: .340,  an improvement on the .315 before. The slugging percentage was only .399 before the changes; it’s .443 since the changes. The OPS before was .714; since the changes the OPS is .783. In park adjusted runs created (wRC+) the Cardinals were six percent below league average offensively. Since the changes, they’re 11 percent above the league average offensively.  And the team’s performance has improved in two-strike hitting, two-out hitting, and hitting with runners in scoring position.


But what about individual batters? Which hitters have improved after Shildt began leading the Cardinals in a new direction. So here’s a look at the “Before” and “After,” … or to put it another way: Before Buddha (Budaska) and after Buddha. And I’ll use wRC+ as the quick measure; remember 100 is average. So a 90 would be 10 percent below the league average offensively, and a 110 would be 10 percent above the league average offensively.

Matt Carpenter … 140 … 183 …  Change: +43

Jose Martinez … 129 … 121  ….   Change:  minus 8

*Paul DeJong … 118 … 81 …  Change:  minus 37 (* affected by a fractured left hand.)

Yadier Molina … 112 … 104 … Change:  minus 8.

Yairo Munoz … 104 … 114 … Change:  +10

Harrison Bader … 103 … 138 … Change:  +35

Jedd Gyorko …. 100 … 136 …. Change:  +36

Marcell Ozuna … 89 … 118 … Change:  +29

Dexter Fowler … 56 … 85 … Change:  +29

Tyler O’Neill … 87 … 154 … Change:  + 67

Greg Garcia … 92 … 49 … Change:  minus 43

Kolten Wong … 83 … 120 … Change:  +37

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie

More: Shildt for Manager of the Year? USA Today’s Nightengale Doesn’t See Why Not