St.Louis Cardinals


The Cardinals built on a team with depth by adding Paul Goldschmidt and are looking to reward their fan base with their first postseason trip since 2015. They had a remarkable playoff run, appearing in 12 of 16 postseasons from 2000 to 2016. They are projected to finish 2019 in second place, just two games behind the Brewers and a solid five games ahead of the Cubs, good enough for a wild-card spot and a playoff run late into the season.
What’s New
The big offseason splash has been the addition of Paul Goldschmidt on Dec 5. The first baseman has been one of the most prolific and consistent offensive players over the past seven seasons, with a career .930 OPS and averaging over 4.9 WAR with his bat. Goldschmidt hits just about any pitch type well - he was one of the best against sliders, batting .362/.435/.560., and above average against four-seamers, two-seamers, sinkers, sliders, curveballs. He hit just average off of changeups.

Lefty reliever Andrew Miller came to the Cardinals from the Indians. Miller threw fastballs 92-95mph (45% of pitches) with command, slider 82-85 (52%), and mixes in 80-81 curve (3%). In addition, Drew Robinson, a young lefty utility player, from the Rangers, adds some depth to a solid infield and can be part of the Major League team out of Spring Training or in the middle of the season.
The main loss to the Cardinals was Tyson Ross, who only pitched 9 games before leaving to the Tigers in the off-season.
What Could Change
Several key players have come off DL in the off-season that can contribute to 2019 success:
  • Dexter Fowler is coming off the worst season of his career. At 32 years old, he batted just .180/.278/.298 in 334 PA before going on the 60-day DL, fracturing his left foot in August. Before that Dexter averaged 2.6 oWAR per season over nine years. If he can bounce back even part-way, that could be the edge to push the Cardinals to first in the division.
  • Michael Wacha recovered from 60-day DL after an oblique injury, and at 27 years old is entering peak years. His expected recovery season should further boost the Cardinals.
  • Luke Gregerson recovered from 60-day DL from a torn meniscus in his right knee. He was a solid part of the pen for the Astros successes of late, and at 34 years old is a question-mark how he will perform for the season.
The roster is likely to evolve in Spring Training, or near the start of the season with several Minor League impact players. Dakota Hudson is likely to start the season on the ML bullpen. Alex Reyes, starting pitcher at Triple-A, is their top-rated prospect from the Dominican Republic. Edmundo Sosa is their young 23-year old Triple-A utility player that can come out of Spring Training on the roster. Andrew Knizner is their Triple-A catcher and top-four overall prospect.
What’s Coming
The Cardinals are slated to have the 9th-highest payroll at $152.9MM and 9th in wins (86), making them the 22nd in dollars per win ($1.778MM). The Cardinals have good depth in offense, starters, relievers, and defense, and several legitimate prospects to come up as needed. Overall the age of the staff is upper-20's, with a mix of veterans and youth movement. With a payroll under $155MM, there could be flexibility from ownership if needed to augment due to an injury or late-season trade.
One area of possible challenge is starting pitching - Mikolas is strong, but it will be interesting to see if Flahery, Martinez, and Wacha can all repeat their sub-3.85 ERA seasons from 2018. The Brewers look to repeat as division leaders, but have traditionally been below the Cardinals in spend. Also the Cubs are forecast to regress several games this season, but have deep pockets and can adjust throughout the season. These are some of the big factors heading into Spring Training for the Cardinals.
Best-Case Scenario: Goldschmidt delivers, the starters remain healthy and repeat close to last season's level, and depth continues to contribute throughout the season - if so the Cardinals finish top in the NL Central.
Worst-Case Scenario: While the Cardinals are projected for the post-season, the margins are slim in a tough division, and a few injuries to elite players could be enough to derail the season, leaving fans thirsty for a fourth year without the post-season.


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