Slumps are a big part of baseball. They can last days. They can last weeks. In some instances, slumps can last an entire season.
The performance of any player will vary from year-to-year and in a roundtable discussion with the United Cardinals Bloggers back in February, we asked the bloggers which St. Louis Cardinals' player would be most likely to have a drop-off in 2013? Here are their responses. (Note: this conversation took place a couple of weeks ago, well before today's news of Jason Motte's injury.)
Bill Ivie of i70baseball.com
I don't know that I see a "big drop off" for anyone, but I think it is unfair to expect Carlos Beltran to perform at his clip last year. His age will catch up to him and start opening the door for the younger talent.
Wes Keene of Keene on MLB
I won't predict a big drop off for anyone, but I have a hard time seeing Yadier Molina continue what he did last season, especially that run at the end. That was quite spectacular, and I'd expect it won't last. I hope I'm wrong.
Daniel Shoptaw of cardinal70.com
I can't shake the idea that this time last year, we were talking about Lance Berkman and "well, he'll drop off some but he'll still be effective." While there's no real reason to think Beltran will follow that same route, if I were to put money on a dropoff, I think that'd be the spot.
Bob Netherton of On the Outside Corner
I also agree with Bill on Carlos Beltran. This reminds me so much of the Roger Maris scenario in 1967 and 1968. It has probably been forgotten, but Maris was hitting .291 with 8 home runs, 39 RBIs (and 5 triples - yikes!!!) entering August 1967. Went .207 the rest of the way and struggled through a lot of the following season.
But man, he set up Orlando Cepeda like Adam Oates set up Brett Hull - goodness, he could move a runner up a base like nobody else. His body just gave out, but like Beltran so far, gave us Cardinals fans everything he had.
J.D. Norton of Bleed Cardinal Red With Me
Mitchell Boggs might drop off a bit.
Christine Coleman of Aaron Miles' Fastball
I unfortunately have to agree with what those who've said Carlos Beltran have said. Though I won't be mad if I'm wrong.
Dathan Brooks of Cards Tied for First
This really could be any number of folks. After virtually posting up back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back career years, I'd agree that Yadi won't likely do it again, but not sure that truly fits the description of "dropping off". If not setting new offensive career highs is "dropping off", I can think of roughly 25 guys who could be in danger of it. Beltran, along with those knees and that age, is another good candidate. I'm hopeful that it isn't Motte--not that spring training tells you much, but he's given up his share of bombs lately. Stay with me here for a sec. If guys are taking him out of the yard, then he's around the plate, a good thing. (We definitely don't want to see walks from him!) But, if guys are squaring up a ball that's around the plate, then maybe his work on developing that cutter hasn't come along as much as we'd all hoped it had. It's either not deceptive enough, or he's throwing it, rather than pitching it. Or maybe not, again, it's spring training, and guys are working on stuff, which often produces very different results than had these games actually counted. (Ssshhh! Don't give Unlce Bud any ideas!)
Matt Whitener of Cheap Seats Please
One guy in particular I think has a bit of a return to mortality is Edward Mujica. I don't think it's given enough credit just how amazing of a run he had in his two months in St. Louis. After coming over, he posted a ridiculous 1.03 ERA in 29 innings, giving up only 3 runs.
However, that offsets against a 3.92 number in his career, and two seasons of surrending double digit home runs. To judge him over a full season just by what he once he reached St. Louis would be a mistake. A mistake that was just made with Marc Rzepczynski leading into last year.
Mark Tomasik of RetroSimba.com
Unfortunately, might come from Jason Motte. Only one Cardinals closer ever has had back-to-back seasons of 40 saves or more. History indicates Motte will fall short of the 42-save mark he established in 2012.
Mark Sherrard of Cardinals Fan in Cubs Land
Beltran, given his age and Oscar Taveras looming over his shoulder will be the guy most likely to drop off.
The United Cardinal Bloggers is an organization of quality, active bloggers who interact regularly and respectfully as they report and opine about the St. Louis Cardinals.