Jump to content

A Couple of Articles on Rick Ankiel

Migrant Redbird

Recommended Posts

Currently leading his team in at bats, BA, and total bases in spring training, but trailing Pujols by 1 in home runs and 2 in RBIs. Cards Spring Training Stats

Palm Beach Post: After turbulent times, Ankiel changing course

Before they reached their Fort Pierce home that night, Rick told his father he was done trading his time with friends for baseball. [At age 14]

"Oh, no, you're not!" Richard exploded.

If his son resented him, resented the game, so be it. Richard Ankiel figured the sacrifices were worth it if Rick reached the majors.

"He was tired of the grind. Tired of the game," Richard says one recent afternoon from his home in Fort Pierce. "Maybe I was hard on him, but I just didn't want him to quit before he knew whether he could do it. ...

.... Richard's relentless training regimen eventually paid off. As a junior at Port St. Lucie High School, Rick's physique caught up with his skills.

.... "I don't think he really wanted it until he started seeing the ball go for 370-foot homers and throwing 90 mph," Richard says of his son's own determination to make it to the bigs.

.... he and his father agreed that pitching was his ticket to the majors, even if Rick wasn't necessarily content with putting down his bat for good.

"I don't think he was ever happy being a pitcher," Richard says. "He was so dominant a pitcher that pitching seemed the way to go. But was he really happy doing it? No. Anybody that knows him knows that."

.... Rick has goals beyond the baseball field this year, and that's another new approach for him. He and Lory are trying to start a family.

"I hope I have a boy," he says, smiling while sitting at a picnic table one morning outside the Cardinals' spring training clubhouse.

Post Dispatch: Ankiel ready to provide protection?

Spring training's final two weeks are all about timing, in this instance whether a 28-year-old converted pitcher with fewer than 300 career major-league at-bats is ready to provide protection for one of the game's most prolific hitters, first baseman and No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols.

Of Ankiel's 259 major-league at-bats, 172 followed last season's Aug. 9 promotion from Class AAA Memphis. Twenty extra-base hits included 11 home runs, and 49 hits produced 39 RBIs. Ankiel's final .285 average included a two-for-29 fade after a revelation in September of past HGH use and 41 strikeouts.

.... "I don't want even to go there right now," Ankiel said about hitting behind Pujols. "Let's keep it: 'See ball, hit ball.' Whatever lineup is picked, that's what happens.

.... Ankiel struck out 131 times between Class AAA Memphis and St. Louis last season. Plate discipline has been one of the themes to his camp. He has as many walks (four) as strikeouts in 47 at-bats so far.

"There's the cliché: It's hard to put a good swing on a bad pitch," said Ankiel. "Looking back at last year, the thing I could improve on was pitch selection. I feel like that's one thing that's evolving for me as a hitter. I like where I'm at."

I'm pulling for Ankiel to demonstrate this season that he's really the best athlete on the team and that last year was no fluke. Barring injuries, I believe he will do it. Injuries are always the wild card.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Posts

    • “Blocking All? Im going off what Elias is saying, 2 Bats. Right now we have a lot of mediocre MLB players. The only guys really locked in are Gunnar, Adley, Mullins, and Santander if you or planning to keep him. That means that you have 2 OF slots or 1 OF and 1 DH. Then 3 IF slots.    If you add one IF bat and 1 OF/DH bat that leaves 2 INF and 1 OF. Stowers so far was a .300 OBP guy. Cowser (.219 avg at AAA) and Norby need another season at that level. Westburg could start at 2B if they think he’s ready now. Wagner/Hernaiz, and Ortiz all need another season at least. And no matter how much you want them to they aren’t all going to make it. It was great to get Adley and Gunnar this season. Hoping for 2 more next season is lofty at least.
    • I think going "all in" on any one aspect of the game is a recipe for failure. You want to build a roster without regards to power or defense?  You don't care about pitching? Teams can afford to have some players that bring tools other than OBP to the party.
    • Kevin Kiermaier is coming off season-ending hip surgery.  There’s no guarantee he’ll be the same player defensively when he returns.   
    • For every year of the Elias Era, I've written up a yearly Trade Bait thread in the offseason. This year is unique that I think we could be buyers, but overall, I believe Elias is going to try to mimic the Rays and Indians a bit in where they are always trying to be competitive while balancing the payroll.  I think Elias will continue to trade MLB pieces if he believes they have reached a peak value in terms of talent/salary, especially if he has his pipeline providing MLB ready talent to immediately replace a player. Just because a player is on here, doesn't mean I believe he will or should be traded. I'm just trying to think in terms of Elias. I went with Hot/Mild/Low in terms of likelihood of being traded Hot Anthony Santander - He's 28, hit a career high in HR last season, and he's probably at peak value. With two years left of control and arbitration pushing the salary up, Elias might be looking to deal.  Santander's potential production and salary numbers will still be more affordable and as productive than many of the Free Agent OFs.  If he stays with the O's, I believe his value is best as a DH as the O's were below league avg in corner OF value overall. Santander is one of the more likely 40 man pieces to be traded before the season starts in my opinion Mild Cedric Mullins - The CF Market could be active, but the options in Free Agency aren't awfully deep. Mullins didn't nearly match his 2021 output last year, but a 3.8 WAR is still very good. His defensive metrics were still good, as were his SB numbers. The problem is, I feel our overall OF depth is not that great and that Mullins still has a lot of value to the O's even if his salary takes a jump this year. However, Elias may be forced to consider the option of trading Mullins if it can bring back pieces that he places more value on in the long run. I think Elias also knows how valuable Mullins is to the foundation of the current starting 9, especially without an immediate replacement. Ramon Urias - 3.6 WAR this year is pretty solid. He's versatile, and I believe he's got 20 HR pop. I struggle with deciding if he's at peak value though. If its not now, it would probably be at the trade deadline this year. However, he's turning 29 this season and there's not a lot of room for error with judging his peak value at this point. The GG helps give him an extra boost in value heading into the offseason. I think he's traded to clear up the infield log jam that could be coming. If he stays, he will probably move to 2B where the O's were 2nd to last in the league in position value. If he can maintain his dWAR and improve upon his offensive production, he could have even more value heading into the trade deadline. Jorge Mateo - 3.4 WAR is pretty solid considering the lack of offensive production. I feel like Elias isn't pushing this as Mateo does have value as the starting SS, or he could be the replacement we need at 2B if we bring in a better SS like Correa or move Gunnar to SS. Elias probably only considers this trade if he is approached by another team that wants him as a low cost, controllable option. I feel the return could actually be solid; but I wonder if Elias is gambling a bit since he has so many solid MIF prospects on the cusp but not quite ready. He will begin the season at only age 27, so if Mateo can put up GG defensive numbers again, get his OPS up over .700, and continue to be among the league leaders in SBs, his value could sky rocket leading to a deadline trade, or event one in next year's offseason. Dillon Tate - Depending on how Elias adds to the Rotation, I could see Voth, Hall, and Wells all being additions to an already solid Bullpen. I think Tate is also approaching that peak value point as he will be 29 on May 1st, is coming off his best year, and he's entering into arbitration. He could be a very low cost add for a team needing a RH bullpen piece, especially if Elias thinks he can get something he likes in return or add Tate as part of a bigger trade. He could be an offseason trade or even a trade deadline deal. Low Austin Hays - I don't think Elias likes trading a player when he believes there is more peak value potential. If you look at Austin Hays' 2nd Half in 2021 and his 1st Half in 2022, he's an above average corner OF with 25 HRs and close to a .790 OPS. I feel Hays was injured in much of the 2nd half last season. Currently, I don't see a lot of value or other teams being interested unless they felt they could buy low. However, he's an OF which we need as the moment, but if he can get hot in the 1st Half, could be a trade candidate leading up to the trade deadline if Cowser is ready. Ryan Mountcastle - As far as WAR, he's averaged about 1.0 WAR per season in his 3 years. As much as it seemed that Ryan had a down year, he was actually more valuable in terms of WAR this season than in 2021 when he hit 33 HRs. He's still affordable, but with a career high 1.3 WAR, Jose Abreu and his 4.2 WAR shows how big a jump we could take offensively with a top tier 1B; even a mid tier 1B like Josh Bell was 3.0 WAR last year. However, the depth in FA 1B dive bombs after that. I don't see Elias trading below peak, but perhaps Elias thinks this is Mountcastle's peak and he adds him to part of a bigger trade before the season starts. If he does begin the season at 1B, much like Hays, he could be moved if he can put together a decent 1st half, much like Mancini did. Austin Voth - Also entering arbitration and turns 31 this season. I think we need him now for SP depth, and he could become a good BP piece if Elias acquires more SP. Voth could end up not only being pushed out of the rotation, but also expendable based on Bullpen depth. He might be a good target for a team looking for affordable back of the rotation options or a bullpen piece. Prospect Pool Connor Norby, Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westburg, Sam Basallo, Coby Mayo, Cesar Prieto, Darrell Hernaiz, Frederick Bencosme This is the 1st year of looking into potential trades where I feel our prospects are on the table for acquiring MLB ready talent. I don't see Elias trading Pitching or OF prospects as we need to build our depth there. However, Hall, Cowser, Kjerstad, and others could be possibilities.
    • Take Roughned Odor’s 472 PA at .275 OBP and give them to Gunnar Henderson (.348). Take Tyler Nevin’s 184 PA at .299 OBP and give them to Terrin Vavra (.340). Take 90 of Robinson Chirinos’ 220 PA at .265 OBP and give them to Adley Rutschman (.362).   Assume a new backup C will be just as inept as Chirinos, but won’t be starting for the first 1/4 of the season like Chirinos was. Those three relatively simple moves add about 8 points to the team OBP, moving them from slightly below average to slightly above average.   Anything we do from there is gravy.   Of course, you do have to replace Trey Mancini’s 401 PA at .347 OBP.     
    • Trade Mullins for a starter and sign Kevin Kiermaier to platoon with McKenna for a year or two until a better option comes along. Bada bing, bada boom.
    • Frobby!  The excitement comes from the athleticism and the incredible plays they are able to pull off.  I find it somewhat similar to baseball in that respect.  The same beauty and athletic art it takes from Brooks, Manny, Omar, Ozzie to make all those incredible defensive plays is on full display throughout a soccer match.  That plus the level of fitness it takes to compete and how the fitness levels expose themselves in the last 15 minutes of each game is thrilling (to me at least :).  It took me a while to get into it as well, but once you get the bug there is no going back.  It truly is a beautiful game to watch unfold.    The Iran game is massive.  One of biggest games ever for our Country.  It is going to be extremely exciting.  Iran is a very good team so we cannot take them lightly.  With that said, I like our chances.  I think the boys will have a little swagger in their step after the draw against England. 
  • Popular Contributors

  • Create New...