The Cardinals Switch Things Up (Carlos Beltran)

Just when you think the Cardinals are out of it, they go ahead and TOTALLY redeem themselves. Not only did they score the best outfielder on the market in Carlos Beltran, but they also teamed up two of the best switch hitters of all-time.

Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran have always been great players, but due to injuries and a couple less than productive seasons, they became more of an after thought. That is until last season when Lance Berkman proved to the world that he can still play. Beltran also had a bounce back season, but it was shadowed due to his trade to the Giants and their inability to make it to the playoffs. Now, these two comeback kids have the same logo across their chests, and I'm positive that they'll help ease the blow of the Albert Pujols departure. I'm actually here to tell you that if all three players (Beltran, Berkman, and Pujols) repeat their 2011 production in 2012, then the Cardinals will be right back where they were in 2011.

Here are a couple graphs to compare Beltran and Berkman's WAR (Wins Above Replacement)throughout their careers. They've been eerily similar throughout their entire MLB existence.

Source: FanGraphs -- Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran

Source: FanGraphs -- Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran

If you notice, both Beltran and Berkman were on the decline until last season when they both ended up with a WAR close to 5. Hopefully for the Cardinals the two of them continue to trend upward. 

This last graph is so you can see Berkman and Beltran compared to Albert Pujols. It looks like King Albert has been declining significantly over the past few seasons. That's if you consider a WAR of over 5 declining...

Source: FanGraphs -- Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, Albert Pujols

All three players had roughly the same WAR in 2011. Of course, Berkman and Beltran are older and they're most likely not going to trend upward, whereas Pujols has more time to turn things around. If these trends do continue, then the Cardinals actually improved their team with Beltran over Pujols. I'm sure the Angels would love to see Albert's graph shift towards the sky like Berkman and Beltan's did last season.

I know that the WAR stat isn't the only factor, but it is the best way to determine the impact a player has for a team statistically. I know that Pujols brought a lot more to the Cardinals than just statistics, and that's not something Carlos Beltran will be able to replace right away. Beltran has yet to win a World Series, and when it's all said and done, that's the only thing that truly matters. We'll just see how this 2012 season plays out, and hopefully everyone is left feeling satisfied.


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