The Cardinals didn’t pout and lick their wounds from losing John Lackey and Jason Heyward to the Cubs. They signed one of the top starting pitchers in free agency, Mike Leake. Also, let’s not forget that they get ace Adam Wainwright back this year.
The NL Central race will be cutthroat this season. Do the Cardinals veterans like Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday have enough left in the tank for another run?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the St Louis Cardinals.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 100-62
Key Additions: SP Mike Leake, C Brayan Pena, SS Ruben Tejada & RP Seung Hwan Oh
Key Losses: SP John Lackey, OF Jason Heyward, 3B Mark Reynolds, OF Jon Jay, OF Peter Bourjos, RP Carlos Villanueva, RP Steve Cishek, RP Matt Belisle, C Tony Cruz & SS Pete Kozma
Interleague Schedule: AL West
Projected Starters: Yadier Molina, Matt Adams, Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyorko, Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk & Stephen Piscotty
Projected Starting Rotation: Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake, Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia & Carlos Martinez
Closer: Trevor Rosenthal
Fantasy Sleeper: SS Jedd Gyorko – Jhonny Peralta underwent surgery on his thumb and won’t be back until around the All-Star break. Gyroko has some pop for the middle infield and will now get some at-bats. They signed Ruben Tejada to backup Gyorko, but I don’t see him being a threat.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Tim Cooney – Cooney had a cup of coffee at the end of the year with the Cardinals. He will start the season at Triple-A where he dominated the last two seasons. He pitches to contact, so his strikeout numbers are crazy, but he barely allows baserunners. His WHIP has been near or under 1.00 during his time in the minors. He’s ready to be in the Majors, but there’s not a spot open in the rotation right now.
Team Analysis: The Cardinals won the NL Central last season and won 100 games. It’s crazy to think that they ‘barely’ won it with the Pirates and Cubs breathing down their necks at the end of the season.
Not only did the Cardinals lose to the Cubs in the postseason, but the Cubs swiped two of their best players in free agency (John Lackey & Jason Heyward). The rivalry will have something a little extra on it this year.
The Cardinals will once again have a tough NL Central race with the Cubs and Pirates expected to be contenders. St. Louis signed free agent starter Mike Leake this offseason to go with the returning Adam Wainwright…so their starting rotation should be even better than their rotation last season.
The Cardinals didn’t sign any big bats this offseason, instead they are promoting some young players like Stephen Piscotty to an everyday roles. He will play beside a young player that I really like, Randal Grichuk. Their outfield is stacked with them alongside veteran Matt Holliday.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 87.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 90-72 (2nd-tied in NL Central)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.