Expect the Padres and Cardinals to retreat

As we approach the All-Star break, it’s time to take a look at some of the bettors on the trends they could step on in the second half of the season. One of those trends is crimes that are starting to heat up but are showing signs of slowing down in the next couple of months. I broke two of those teams: the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres.

The ball was just flying out of Bosch’s court this year, and at what point do we think the sample is big enough to mean something? I think the point is now.

The stadium doesn’t move from 29th in its home park factors in 2021 to 3rd in a season without a drastic change somewhere. However, the dimensions there have not changed at all. So something else, apart from the variance, must be the cause here. Bosch Stadium ranked sixth in the HR park factors in both 2018 and 2019 and was below average in the short 2020 season as well.

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Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt
USA Today Sports

Paul Goldschmidt got off to a strong home run, but even he appears to have benefited from the warmer months. Almost everything that walks his house in the house has come in the past month when temperatures and dew points have skyrocketed.

Whatever your expectations for the pre-season operating environment in St. Louis, it’s a mistake to adjust time up in a big way. Clearly, the market hasn’t done so until this point in the year.

While the St. Louis offense is clearly taking advantage of its batter-friendly home park now, there are still some troubling signs for this group as a whole in the long run. When you compare wOBA – weighted average on base (xwOBA) across the entire league to see which offenses increase base numbers’ performance, St. Louis ranks as the second luckiest in the league. The Cardinals put a lot of balls into play, but with one of the league’s least hard-hit modifiers, they wouldn’t be able to sustain the current level of running production.

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The difference between their xBA and their actual batting average is also the second luckiest player in the league. The same is true for xSLG numbers. The Cardinal ranks fifth in rounds per game in the entire sport, but the offense is only 23 in barrel rate and 26th in slam rate.

I was expecting some regression, and once Goldschmidt calmed down, the Cardinals still depended largely on newbies Juan Yepez and Nolan Gorman to produce high points in the lineup. St.Louis should continue to be effective against the leftists, but I will look for their fade against the better rightists in the coming months.

In San Diego, an injury to Mane Machado left a huge gaping hole amid the struggling Padres squad. San Diego was already overperforming at an unsustainable rate—second place in clutch hit, third luckiest attacking on a wOBA-xwOBA basis—and now Padres would not have an MVP hitter of the caliber.

Mane Machado
Mane Machado’s injury leaves a hole in the Padres squad.
Getty Images

Until Fernando Tates Jr. is back in the squad – and who knows when that will be – I will continue to look forward to playing against Padres. The offense is seventh in runs scored per game despite being 24 in xwOBA, 28 in barrel, and 23 in hard hit average.

Either those numbers improve, or San Diego’s offense will decline, and their production will drop dramatically.

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