With one of the league\’s worst bullpens, the St. Louis Cardinals missed the playoffs in 2017 by finishing 3rd in the NL Central with an 83-79 record. With breakout star Tommy Pham and defined ace Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals still have a squad. Let\’s take a look at what they did in the offseason.
Notable additions: CF Marcell Ozuna, RHP Luke Gregerson, RHP Dominic Leone, RHP Bud Norris, RHP Miles Mikolas.
Notable subtractions: RHP Lance Lynn, RF Stephen Piscotty, LF Randal Grichuk, SS Aledmys Diaz, RHP Seung-Hwan Oh, RHP Trevor Rosenthal, LHP Zach Duke.
What they did well: The Ozuna trade was pretty good for them, as they didn\’t give up top prospects Tyler O\’Neill or Jack Flaherty. No top 100 prospects were lost as well.
What they did bad: They lost Lynn, Piscotty, Grichuk and Diaz for just Leone and some not great prospects.
Sneaky sleeper: The Grichuk trade was the best trade they made that they were sellers in. Why? They received Dominic Leone, who could start the season as closer if Gregerson\’s injury keeps him out. Leone had a 2.56 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 70.1 innings for Toronto last season, and St. Louis sees him with his full potential. He\’s only 26, by the way.
Incoming outbreak: In 2016, Alex Reyes came to the bigs hot, with a 1.57 ERA in 46 innings. Tommy John surgery kept him out of all of 2017, but he\’ll return in early May, where we will see him breakout.
Unsuspected slump: Last season, we saw some regression from Matt Carpenter, who yielded a weak .241 batting average. His OBP was still .384, but Carpenter isn\’t the same player he was in 2015.
Blue-chip Bopper: I guess Marcell Ozuna, but their one weakness is no one is really a star.
Astounding ace: Carlos Martinez took the realms as their ace with a 3.64 ERA, plus 217 strikeouts in 205 innings. Especially with Adam Wainwright\’s decline, Martinez is the new ace in town.
Here is their projected lineup.
CF Dexter Fowler (S)
RF Tommy Pham (R)
1B Matt Carpenter (L)
SS Paul De Jong (R)
LF Marcell Ozuna (R)
2B Kolten Wong (L)
C Yadier Molina (R)
3B Jedd Gyorko (R)
Here\’s their rotation.
RHP Carlos Martinez
RHP Adam Wainwright
RHP Michael Wacha
RHP Luke Weaver
RHP Miles Mikolas
Luke Gregerson (R) is their closer, with Dominic Leone (R), Tyler Lyons (L), Bud Norris (R), Matt Bowman (R), Brett Cecil (L) and John Brebbia (R) in the bullpen.
1B Jose Martinez (R), INF Greg Garcia (L) and INF Yairo Munez (R) are on the bench.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Cardinals, an aging team, will miss the playoffs in 2018.