1. Colby Rasmus
The sophomore sensation is, as of Thursday night, third in the National League in OPS (behind Andre Either and Albert Pujols' "bad" season) and proving that he can, in fact, hit lefties at a decent rate. He's crushing home runs, walking a ton, and, while getting a little lucky (.368 BABIP) his LD%, GB%, and FB% are all in line with last years numbers. His defensive slump has been aggravating, especially after his really, really stellar defensive season last year was roundly ignored by countless Cardinal fans, because he was not Rick Ankiel, but he seems to be getting some better jumps since he got those fancy seeing eye glass thingys -- he can see for miles, now! -- and Wednesday night actually didn't roll the ball into the infield during a play at the plate.*
*Why the organization sees fit to instruct someone clocked in the 90's to bounce throws home is beyond me. I can seeing teaching a noodle arm to do it, but someone with a cannon? Did they instruct Ankiel or Ludwick to do it that way when they were in Memphis? Infuriating.
In conclusion, the kid is absolutely mashing and showing off his tools. It's great to see and fun for the future. And he should probably be in consideration for the All Star game, in this blog's personal opinion.
(stats via fangraphs)
2. Dave McKay
Nobody rubs a man's shoulders like this guy. Nobody whispers into another man's ear like this guy. Nobody coaches first base like this guy. The Canadian Hall of Famer, everyone!
(stats via awesomefirstbasecoaches.com)
3. Adam Wainwright
His transformation from "guy in the bullpen" to "World Series closer" was something to enjoy, as is his growth from "starter?" to "one of the best pitchers in the game." Much like in 2009, Wainwright is a horse, eating innings and pooping strikeouts. His K/9 and BB/9 are better than last years, but still in line with last season (8.19/2.55 in 2009, 8.64/2.50 in 2010), and his BA Against is down thanks to a lucky BABIP (he's getting more groundballs and less line drives) but Adam is not doing anything that can't be kept up all season. And he likes Pappy's Smokehouse, so I like him.
(stats via fangraphs.)
4. Mike Shannon
Night after night (unless he'd rather be at the horse track) nobody makes a baseball game on the radio as entertaining and downright confusing as the Moon Man. He's also probably the only guy on radio that can say something, make you think for a second "was that racist?" then you just shrug your shoulders, because, hell, it's Mike. The drunk old uncle of Cardinals Nation, everyone!
That the most frustrating team to follow in my lifetime is also the only team I am a fan of to win the World Series in my adult lifetime still perplexes me. But it also gives me hope that if that crappy of a team can win the Series, so can any average team. Hope! Also, Sunday will mark the four year anniversary of the Cardinals launching their first of three seven game losing streaks that season (two of those streaks reached eight losses, of course).
(I love/hate/love that 2006 team so very, very much.)
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Ludwick, Albert Pujols, Brendan Ryan's swagger, Jaime Garcia, Chris Carpenter, David Freese (and all cold related puns), Jason Motte, Ryan Franklin, the improved Busch Stadium nachos, Jon Jay
And now, If Larry King Blogged About the Cardinals:
I've noticed a lot of children in that Build A Bear thing and if there is one thing we learned in the Spanish-American war: Bears and kids don't mix... Jon Jay makes a hell of a lasagna... Tony La Russa: I bet he wears a pair of slacks like a gentleman... I would murder someone for a Royal Crown cola on a hot Saint Louis day, and have done so in the past... As a student of history, I find it odd that I just learned Ty Cobb was gay... Ozzie Smith would have made that play!... Dennys Reyes is the non-union, Mexican equivalent of Ray King... If Ed Delahanty played ball today, he still would have found a way to die by getting kicked off of a train for being too drunk and subsequently falling over Niagara Falls. The man knew how to make an exit... Scott Cooper was nice enough to autograph my ticket stub Wednesday. I traded it in for a free Big Mac Thursday afternoon at the McDonald's in Fairview Heights, where the second shift assistant manager is -- you guessed it! -- Scott Cooper... Have a great weekend, Saint Louis. Join us next week when our guests will include, from television's "Who's the Boss?", Judith Light and rapping sensation Master P!