The St. Louis Cardinals are having a disappointing 2021 season.
Despite having a talented roster, the club is just 47-47 with the end of July approaching.
Reaching the playoffs is an afterthought at this point, and the Cardinals will probably end up selling at the trade deadline.
A lot has gone wrong, and today, we’re going to talk about two players who have had underwhelming campaigns so far for St. Louis.
Let’s get started.
2. Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt has had a phenomenal MLB career, so he has himself to thank for the lofty expectations that are often put on his shoulders.
Goldschmidt is a six-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger, and a three-time Gold Glover.
On top of that, he has received MVP votes in seven different seasons.
He’s a career .291 hitter with a .907 OPS.
But this season, he has been slightly disappointing.
Not bad by any means, but not great, either.
He currently has a slash line of .273/.443/.457, giving him an OPS of .800.
For context, an .800 OPS would be the lowest of his career.
The most notable drop-off for Goldschmidt this season has been with his ability to reach base.
He has a .343 on-base clip in 2021, and that’s good by league standards, but for his career, he reaches base at a .389 clip.
The reason for the dip?
His walk rate is way down.
This season, 9.2 percent of his plate appearances result in walks.
That’s a far cry from his career rate of 13.4 percent.
He’s still hitting for power (he has 16 homers and 15 doubles so far), but the plate discipline is evidently down.
Paul Goldschmidt was pretty candid on his struggles to date this season. He's turning it around a bit this month but felt like he hasn't pulled his weight.
"I feel like, personally, I've cost us a few games." pic.twitter.com/PkOgXPkxEK
— Zachary Silver (@zachsilver) June 16, 2021
We’ll see if he can turn it around in the second half.
1. Carlos Martinez
Cardinals fans hoped that Carlos Martinez’s struggles during his abbreviated 2020 campaign were not a sign of things to come, but the righty has been horrible this season.
Prior to 2020, Martinez had a career 3.36 ERA, 119 ERA+, 3.48 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP over seven seasons.
But from the start of the 2020 season and on, he has posted a 6.95 ERA, 56 ERA+, 5.18 FIP, and 1.52 WHIP.
His command has arguably been the biggest issue lately, as he has walked 20 batters in his last 29 innings pitched.
He has also allowed four or more walks on four separate occasions this season, including one start in which he issued seven free passes.
To make matters worse, he just hit the injured list with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
It’s a 60-day DL stint for the 29-year-old, and he could very well miss the remainder of the season.
Carlos Martínez underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb on July 16, leaving the rest of his season is in jeopardy. #STLCards
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) July 19, 2021
If the year is done for Martinez, it’s a tough one to swallow.
He’s at risk of finishing the season with a -1.4 WAR—his second straight season with a negative WAR—and even worse, his contract situation beyond 2021 was largely dependent on his performance this season.
The Cardinals have club options on Martinez for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, and it’s hard to imagine that St. Louis will even entertain the idea of picking up those options at this point.
Martinez will probably have to look for a new deal in free agency, and the market for him could be poor.