So far in 2013, the Cardinals have matched a winning percentage that is very similar to the 2004 Cardinals, the most winning Cardinal team in my lifetime. Beyond that, they are up there with just about any Cardinals team so far. At 41-22, they are just a win away from being 20 games over .500 and it isn’t even halfway through June. This is a team where a guy with a .310 batting average is a distant third in the BA dept. They are tied for fifth in wRC+ in all of MLB. But the main strength has been the pitching: third in fWAR (1st in the NL); second in xFIP; second in ERA to the Braves.
Leading the charge, Matt Carpenter is the best second baseman in the NL so far in ’13. Maybe it’s his number, but the move to the keystone looks like a stroke of genius. By fWAR, he is the 4th most valuable position player in all of baseball. He will be hard pressed to keep up this level of production, but even if he tanks soon he should still be an All Star this year, he’s been that good. His wRC+ is good for sixth in the NL, and he’s been surprisingly good at field the keystone.
Next up is Yadi and his .354 batting average, still top tier defense, and all around great play. He’s outplaying his main competition this year, Buster Posey. The slugger, Carlos Beltran, is tied for fifth in the NL in home runs. And with Holliday heating up, the offense should be pretty formidable. And if Allen Craig starts hitting home runs….
Shelby Miller has been having a Clayton Kershaw type of season thus far, and Adam Wainwright leads the majors in FIP. With this dual ace setup, it has made winning come relatively easy to the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals. Last but not least, Trevor Rosenthal has been an anchor in the bullpen, among the best pitchers in MLB. It is a very exciting year to be a Cardinals fan, and who knows, we may even see Carlos Martinez in the rotation before all is said and done.
To compare and contrast, here are some other Great Cardinal Teams throughout history: http://baseball.about.com/od/stlouiscardinals/tp/Top-10-St-Louis-Cardinals-Teams.htm.