St. Louis Cardinals 2016 Player of the Year: Carlos Martinez
The St. Louis Cardinals finished in second place in the NL Central, narrowly missed a Wildcard berth, and one of their pitchers is their Player of the Year.
The St. Louis Cardinals are historically the most successful team in the National League. Unfortunately the 2016 season was not a great one for the history books for the team and their fans.
The Cards finished in second place in the NL Central Division. But they were a distant 17.5 games behind the arch-rival and eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
Though they were never in the division race, the Cardinals were in the NL Wildcard conversation right down to the final day of the season.
Saint Louis ultimately finished 86-76, just one game behind the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants in that playoff race. It was the lowest wins total for the club since the 2010 campaign.
Mike Matheny did a good job keeping his injury-riddled club in contention. The Cardinals could, with just a couple of tweaks and some breaks with health, be right back in contention in 2017.
CARDINALS 2016 OFFENSIVE STATS LEADERS
A half-dozen different Cardinals hitters mashed 20+ home runs this past season. Jedd Gyorko (30) led the way. Brandon Moss (28), Randal Grichuk (24), Stephen Piscotty (22), Matt Carpenter (21) and Matt Holliday (20) were the others.
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Rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz slashed .300/.369/.510 with 17 homers, 65 RBI and 71 runs. He made the NL All-Star team, and finished 5th in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Their veteran leader, 33-year old catcher Yadier Molina, led the club with a .307 average and 38 doubles. But he missed the All-Star Game for the first time after seven straight seasons, and was not awarded a Gold Glove after taking the last eight straight.
Carpenter was an NL All-Star for the third time, and led the club regulars with a .380 on-base percentage. He also produced 36 doubles and scored 81 runs.
Piscotty led the team with 86 runs scored and 85 RBI, and clubbed 35 doubles in what was his first true full season at age 25.
2016 CARDINALS PITCHING LEADERS
34-year old veteran Adam Wainwright had a down season, but still won 13 games. He struck out 161 batters over 198.2 innings in 33 starts.
Left-hander Jaime Garcia won 10 games and struck out 150 in 171.2 innings. 22-year old rookie Alex Reyes made his big league debut with 12 games, five of them starts. He allowed just 33 hits over 46 innings with a 52/23 K:BB ratio.
Coming over from the Japanese Central League, 33-year old Korean rookie Seung-hwan Oh was fantastic and took over the closer role. He registered 19 Saves with a 1.92 ERA and 0.916 WHIP, allowing 55 hits over 79.2 innings. He produced an outstanding 103/18 K:BB ratio.
MARTINEZ THE PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN ST. LOUIS
The Cardinals top performer this season was 24-year old right-handed pitcher Carlos Martinez. In just his second full season in the rotation, Martinez went 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA and 1.224 WHIP. He allowed 169 hits in 195.1 innings over 31 starts, with 174 strikeouts.
“He’s got everything to go with being that guy. It’s just going to be up to him being able, mentally, to stay in that place every time.”
He might not be considered a true “ace’ – yet – but for the 2016 season, Carlos Martinez was indeed the top starting pitcher on the team, and the Saint Louis Cardinals Player of the Year.