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Finding more pulled fly balls would solve a lot of problems at the plate for the Cardinals next season.
The difference between the 2019 edition of the Cardinals and the 2020 version will hinge on quite a few factors. Continued excellence in the bullpen, on the bases, and in the field will obviously play a part. The health of the starting rotation and their ability to paper over any injuries is going to be a factor. More than any other facet, the easiest way to gain ground is with the offense. As we saw last month, the offense made some strides in subtle ways. For instance, they improved their league-wide standing in contact percentage, swinging strike percentage, and walk percentage. They were one of the best fastball hitting teams in baseball. Small steps were made. Unfortunately, they were undermined by too many strikeouts and power that ranked in the bottom ten in baseball. If they’re going to improve the offense in 2020 without any significant upgrades, the players in place must hit with more authority. How can they do that?
Allow me to introduce you to some data. Here are batted ball types by direction for the league in 2019: