Power Outage In St. Louis

The St. Louis Cardinals are underperforming on the field, where they’re 26-31, 4½ games out of first place in the NL Central and unexpectedly looking up at teams like Milwaukee and Cincinnati. But as tough as the opening months of the season have been for the Cardinals between the white lines, they’ve been even worse at the betting window.

St. Louis is hemorrhaging dollars, currently (-$763) on the moneyline for the season overall, the third-worst baseball. And the culprit is a notable lack of pop in the offense. The Cards are 12th in slugging percentage thanks to shortcomings from the following players…

*Matt Carpenter is slugging .409, nearly a hundred points lower than his pace of the last two seasons. Carpenter’s patience at the plate his kept him a respectable offensive player. But if St. Louis is going to contend this season Carpenter must be more than just a decent contributing part. He must be a leader and that means more than just taking walks.

* Aledmys Diaz made a big splash last year when he hit 17 home runs and slugged .510 as a rookie. The shortstop may match the home run total—he’s got five so far. But the slugging is down drastically, to a weak .393, thanks mainly to a sharp drop in batting average.

*Stephen Piscotty’s drop-off isn’t quite as sharp, but a player that’s slugged in the high .400s during his first two major league seasons is now drifting along at .418.

*Randall Grichuk was another corner outfielder showing promise as a power hitter in his first two big league years. Grichuk’s numbers are way down, with only four home runs after a combined 41 over 2015-16.

The focus has to fall on these four players because they’re the most likely candidates to improve. But they’re far from the only culprits. Father Time continues to take its toll on 34-year-old catcher Yadier Molina, who’s now slugging under .400. Jhonny Peralta is now 35, has lost his everyday role and is no longer a threat with the bat. And 28-year-old Matt Adams, once a promising power hitter at first base, has been cut loose and is rebuilding his career in Atlanta.

St. Louis’ power outage explains a gap in their offensive production. They’re 10th in on-base percentage, to go with the 12th-place National League standing in slugging, yet are 13th in runs scored. The baserunners they do get aren’t scoring enough because of the lack of real power to finish off innings. And in either case, the raw number of baserunners needs to increase.

Will the Cardinals eventually start providing value to baseball bettors, either through a change in production, a change in market prices or a combination of both? I handicap each baseball game on the card intentlyand I invite you to join me in finding the best moneymaking opportunities each and every day through the summer. Enroll in my Best Bets Baseball Service today.