The St. Louis Cardinals did not have their strongest season in 2016 finishing 86-76. However, coming down to the last game of the season, they were still in the "Hunt for October". All they need was a win and a bit of luck that the San Francisco Giants would lose to play a tie-breaker, Game 163, for a Wild Card berth. Didn't happen for the St. Louis team. One game shy see postseason; and, the Giants went on to take on the New York Mets. Not since 2010, under manager Tony LaRussa, had the Cardinals finished with such a record. They did close the season second in the NL Central Division, 17.5 games, behind the first place Chicago Cubs. Even though, there were some great games, great player performances throughout the season for St. Louis.
Cardinals announce their 2016 Player of the Year: Carlos Martinez.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
CARDINALS 2016 PLAYER OF THE YEAR GOES TO ~ CARLOS MARTINEZ
Cardinals Player of the Year for 2016 goes to a strong defensive player. Starting pitcher, 24 year old, Carlos Martinez in his second full season being part of the rotation. Closing his season at 16-9, a 3.04 ERA and 1.224 WHIP. He pitched 195.1 innings, allowed 169 hits along with striking out 174 along the way. Per Cardinals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist (Mark Saxon, ESPN, August 2016) "He’s a No. 1 pitcher’s mindset away from being a No. 1,” Therefore, during the upcoming Spring training, will we see Martinez take over the #1 rotation spot moving Adam Wainwright from the role since 2013. Not only did Martinez do well from the hill; but, he also proved the NL does not need a DH. Here ~ he slams out a two out, two-run double.
CONGRATULATIONS TO CARLOS MARTINEZ ~ recognition very much deserved.
Carlos Martinez ~ Cardinals Spirit of things to come in 2017.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
SUPPORTING ROLES ~ CARDINALS PITCHING LEADERS
Even though Adam Wainwright may be challenged for #1. The 34-year old veteran realizing a down season, still had 13 game wins this past season. Returning from an Achilles injury, which resulted with necessary surgery in 2015 taking him out for most of the season, he made 33 game starts in 2016. He struck out 161 batters over 198.2 innings.
Left-hander Jaime Garcia struggled in the last part of the season, won 10 games, pitching 171.2 innings with 150 strikeouts. Another Cardinals rookie who debut in the Majors, August 9, 22-year old rookie Alex Reyes. He combined 12 games from the bullpen; and, as a starter in five of his dozen appearances. He logged 46 IP, allowing just 33 hits, with a 52/23 K:BB ratio and closed his rookie season with a 1.57 ERA. His rookie status is still intact for 2017.
The Cardinals signed 33-year old Korean native, from the Japanese Central League as a free agent, Seung Hwan Oh during the end of Spring training 2016. He proved very solid and was fantastic with his fastball delivery. He took over the closer role, retiring Trevor Rosenthal from duty. He registered 19 Saves with an impressive 1.92 ERA/0.916 WHIP. In his 79.2 IP he allowed 55 hits; however, produced an incredible 103/18 K:BB ratio.
NOTABLE OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCES:
Rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz, even though out a portion of the season with a fractured thumb (HBP), he closed his season with .300 BA/.369 OBP/.510 SLG with 17 HR/65 RBI and added 71 runs. He was Cardinals first rookie to make the NL All-Star team since Albert Pujols; and, finished 5th in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Yadier Molina, 34 year old veteran with thirteen seasons as a Cardinals, led the team with his .307 BA with 8 HR/58 RBI with 38 doubles. Matt Carpenter, three time All Star, led the team with his .380 OBP, slugged out 36 doubles, while adding 81 runs. During his first full season, 25 year old Stephen Piscotty connected for 35 doubles, with 86 runs and 85 RBI.
The latter two mentioned above were among six different Cardinals hitters who blazed out 20+ home runs this past season. Jedd Gyorko (30) topped the list. Followed by Brandon Moss (28), RandalGrichuk (24), Stephen Piscotty (22), Matt Carpenter (21) and Matt Holliday (20).