The St. Louis Cardinals did the impossible last season. They lost Albert Pujols to the Angels and their longtime manager Tony LaRussa retired. Most people wrote them off, but they scratched and clawed their way into a Wild Card spot.
The Cardinals didn’t do much this offseason. Was standing pat a poor decision? Can they catch lightning in a bottle for a second year in a row?
Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the St. Louis Cardinals.
(Yes, that is Nelly wearing some Cardinals gear….excuse me while I go listen to “Air Force Ones”.)
2012 Win/Loss Record: 88-74
Key Additions: P Randy Choate, SS Ronny Cedeno, 1B Ty Wiggington, P Randy Choate, C J.R. Towles
Key Losses: OF Skip Schumaker, P Kyle Lohse, 1B/OF Lance Berkman, P Brian Fuentes, P Kyle McClellan
Interleague Schedule: AL West + Kansas City Royals
Projected Starters: Yadier Molina, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, David Freese, Rafael Furcal, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran
Projected Starting Rotation: Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller
Closer: Jason Motte
Fantasy Sleepers: OF Oscar Tavares – Everyone is trying to find this season’s Mike Trout. Tavares is a name often in the discussion. The 20-year old had a power surge last year at Double-A. He hit 23 homers and has the ability to get low double-digit steals. He has yet to hit under .300 in the limited amount of minor league action he’s faced. The Cardinals brass believe he’s almost ready for Major League action. If Carlos Beltran’s foot injury becomes a bigger issue, you could see Tavares called up sooner than expected. He’s worth drafting a stashing, even if you have limited bench spots.
Team Analysis: The NL Central appears to be the Cincinnati Reds and then everybody else. The Cardinals and Brewers have lost a step over the last couple seasons. The Cardinals are getting older, but there are some guys like Allen Craig and David Freese that keep the fans hopeful. If Shelby Miller and Oscar Tavares produce at a high level, the Cardinals could steal another Wild Card spot. Another factor is how Adam Wainwright pitches. Unfortunately, it appears Chris Carpenter could have thrown his last pitch. Lance Lynn looked like a future ace at the beginning of the year, but struggled with control in the second half. There’s a lot of “what ifs” with this team. If all the chips fall into place, you could either see them in the World Series or being sellers at the trade deadline.
Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 86.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 84-78 (3rd in NL Central)