Missouri Sports: St. Louis Cardinals

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Missouri Sports: St. Louis Cardinals

Taken from here.

 

Starting Pitching

No. 1- Adam Wainwright is our ace based on consistency and statistics. He hopefully will take next step and become an All-Star this year.

No. 2- Kyle Lohse is No. 2 purely from last year’s stats. He comes close to last year’s stats and the Cardinals have a good-not great- one-two punch.

No. 3- Chris Carpenter would be No. 1 except he is coming off two straight seasons of injuries. I don’t think he will be 2005 CY Young pitcher but maybe the good season he had when he first came.

No. 4- Todd Wellemeyer is a great fourth starter especially if you consider he got tired down the stretch. He should last longer this year and put up roughly the same stats as last year.

No. 5- Joel Pineiro is a decent No. 5 when his pitches hit the target, but he is very inconsistent. I see this starting spot changing later in the year.

 

Bullpen

Lot of question marks here, but I name all the possibilities, but not the long shots at winning the spot.

Middle Relief

Loser of Chris Perez/Jason Motte closer battle- Personally you can’t lose here, both have extremely fast fastballs and both are on the rise, but I might expect some slow starts. Predicted Spot- Jason Motte

Josh Kinney/Ryan Franklin- This goes to whoever doesn’t earn set-up man. Again you can’t go wrong here, because when he was setup man in 2007 Franklin was outstanding and when Kinney was in ‘06 he was as well. But would they succeed in middle relief? Predicted spot- Josh Kinney

Kyle McCllelan- This last middle relief spot is pretty much a given. He won’t start, close or become set-up man. Solid reliever who got tired down the stretch. Should become a reliable reliever in September this year.

Left-handed Specialist- Trever Miller was good with the Rays, but he succeeded most against lefties. Dennys Reyes is a solid second option to face, but I don’t like history of fat left-handed specialists with Cards(with all due respect) such as Ray King.

Set-up Man- Franklin/Kinney/Motte/Perez- Now I am eliminating Perez because he plays ONLY closer and Motte because of inexperience. Franklin and Kinney both have succeeded in role for Cards in years past. Predicted Winner- Ryan Franklin

Closer- Motte/Perez/Kinney- I eliminate Kinney because of his relative lack of playing time due to injuries, but he has a chance. Perez has played closer his whole life and is the Cards’ proclaimed closer of the future. Why not closer of the present? Predicted Winner- Perez

Catcher

Yadier Molina is starting catcher and is solid with his .300 average and low strikeout rate. Jason LaRue is a good backup. I am a fan of old back-ups for some reasons. I see LaRue having a much better season batting-wise.

 

First Baseman

Albert Pujols is possibly the best player in baseball much less the Cards. Most consistent player in baseball is Pujols.

 

Second Baseman

Skip Schumacher/Joe Thurston- Schumacher wins this one so Colby can go to the outfield later in the year. He brings a solid leadoff hitter with a .300 average and I see more homers than last year as well.

 

Shortstop

Khalil Greene- Pretty much guaranteed starting spot considering we traded for him.

 

Third Baseman

BREAKING NEWS!!! David Freese is injured long enough to where he can’t earn spot, but he will be uninjured by Opening Day. Congrats, Joe Mather for “earning” starting spot. Not sure what we’ll get here, but I want to find out.

 

Backup Infield

Tyler Greene/Brendan Ryan/Brian Barden/Joe Thurston
I personally think Thurston is a long shot, but that is one opinion. I would like to see Tyler Greene and Brian Barden come up, but Brendan Ryan will likely come up with Greene, who apparently has impressed some coaches.

 

Left-field

I’m sorry, but Colby Rasmus won’t start in left..yet. First...(gulp)...Chris Duncan will start. Then he will lose his job to Rasmus, eventually.

 

Center field

Rick Ankiel is a good hitter, but an overrated fielder. Say what you want, but he has to take better reads to run after the ball.

 

Right-field

Ryan Ludwig is great No. 4 hitter behind Pujols. He will do close to last year if not better. When you consider he didn’t officially start until May, then he could have a better season.

 

Backup OF

Brian Barton/Colby Rasmus/Nick Stavinhoa
This depends on what the Cardinals do and how the three perform. Will they be patient and bring Rasmus back down or bring the youth group up? I choose youth group. Come on down Rasmus. But the conservative Cards will likely not go that route so expect Barton.

 

That is the starter report for the St. Louis Cardinals. Next week I will update the player battles only and find good Spring Training articles.

See you on Saturday when I post my Rams offseason thoughts.

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