Cardinal party! (Getty Images)
St. Louis will open 2013 with a lineup that looks scarcely matching to a organisation that forsaken Game 7 of a NLCS final Oct … and that seems ideally OK. Last year’s group was excellent.
The Cardinals won 88 games in 2012, posting a NL’s second-best run differential, afterwards circumference Atlanta in a furious label play-in diversion (thanks in partial to a ridiculous, rally-killing ruling that went opposite a Braves). There have been a few off-season crew losses, nonetheless zero devastating. Lance Berkman is gone, nonetheless he hardly played final year. Kyle Lohse is out of a picture, too, a giveaway representative related to several teams. The Cards will have small difficulty replacing Puma’s prolongation — Allen Craig takes over during initial bottom — nonetheless Lohse’s 200-plus innings are another matter. The maestro is entrance off a career year: 16-3, 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP. And it sounds like Chris Carpenter won’t representation this season, his career in danger due to determined arm issues.
Still, it’s not as if a Cards will be totally nonetheless pitching in 2013. Adam Wainwright is entering a agreement year, now dual seasons private from Tommy John surgery. Lance Lynn is entrance off an 18-win campaign, Jaime Garcia is presumably healthy, and Jake Westbrook is still lurking. Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal are in a mix, too.
And afterwards there’s this nugget: St. Louis has a best plantation complement in baseball, according to flattering many everybody who rates such things. Here’s Sickels, here’s Law, here’s BA. The Cardinals are well-positioned for success over mixed seasons.
This group might not have any top-of-draft anticipation resources on a roster, nonetheless Rounds 3-9 will be installed with Birds, substantially comparison in a following order: Matt Holliday, Craig, Yadier Molina, Wainwright, Jason Motte, Carlos Beltran, David Freese.
That’s an substantial collection of names, adequate to keep a Cards in row for another playoff berth. Most of those dudes are timeless anticipation line with few dire questions attached, nonetheless one deserves special courtesy in today’s PQs…
Q: Is this a year that Allen Craig finally gives us 500 at-bats? If so, what’s a projection?
A: As a Craig zealots already know, this actor has dealt with knee and hamstring injuries over a past dual seasons (the knee being a some-more critical issue), tying him to usually 194 games and 733 image appearances. He’s finished a many of his personification time during that stretch, however, attack .309/.357/.532 with 33 homers, 109 runs scored, 132 RBIs, and 7 steals in 8 attempts. He’s now entering his age-28 season, he’ll be a Cards’ bland initial baseman in 2013, and, as distant as we know, he’s ideally healthy.
Throughout his teenager joining career, Craig was a high-average hitter (.320 in 223 games during Triple-A) who typically delivered a homer sum in a mid-20s. So far, that’s accurately a arrange of actor he’s been in a large leagues, too. If we get 145 games from Craig this season, a reasonable projection would demeanour something like this: 82 R, 26 HR, 101 RBIs, 4 SB, .303 AVG.
Seem fair? Let’s remember that we’re not articulate about an rising immature hitter here, where a operation of outcomes is unusually far-reaching — this isn’t Rizzo or Freeman or Hosmer we’re discussing. we don’t indeed consider Craig’s roof is exceptional, during slightest not by a standards of his position. (Craig is not authorised during second bottom this season. He qualifies during OF and 1B, that’s it). In 2012, a normal top-20 anticipation initial basemen delivered these stats: 79.6 R, 28.0 HR, 95.1 RBIs, 4.0 SB, .288 AVG.
So we consider a healthy Craig can positively assistance you, nonetheless we don’t consider he’ll vanquish his position averages. Thus, we can’t validate his breeze position in early mocks (37.26 during MDC). I’ve got him during No. 71 in my altogether ranks right now, that substantially means I’ll never possess him.
I should also discuss that if/when Craig hits a DL, a group can cover his deficiency with 27-year-old Matt Carpenter (.828 OPS final season) or 24-year-old Matt Adams (.986 OPS during Triple-A Memphis) or million-year-old Ty Wigginton. It’s good to have register abyss and positional flexibility.
Q: So Carpenter is unequivocally cooked? That’s a shame. And what’s a latest on Garcia? Is he value considering, or is he on a do-not-draft list?
A: Yeah, a Carpenter news has been nothin’ nonetheless bad. Here’s a bummer of a content from Rick Hummel of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
General manager John Mozeliak, who had been called by Carpenter final Friday when a latter was experiencing substantial annoy after throwing some bullpen sessions, pronounced during a press discussion that he didn’t design Carpenter to be pitching for a Cardinals this season, or pitching any some-more during all, actually.
With a 95-44 regular-season record with a Cardinals and 10-4 in a postseason, Carpenter, in effect, is done.
Good fitness anticipating a ray of wish in that excerpt. You’re not drafting Carpenter in any format.
Garcia is a opposite story, and it’s not like he carries any good risk during a breeze list (ADP 312.27). Shoulder issues singular him to 20 starts final season, afterwards he exited an NLDS start opposite a Nats after pitching usually dual innings. It seemed he was headed for off-season surgery, nonetheless no reduction an management than Dr. Andrews suggested opposite it. After a few months of rest and rehab, Garcia hopes to be good to go in 2013. You’ll wish to keep a tighten eye on his open performance.
Again, St. Louis unequivocally has adequate pitching abyss to cover an damage or two. Miller, 22, is substantially a deputy choice with a biggest upside. He’s a former first-rounder who struck out 160 batters over 136.2 innings during Triple-A final season. He wasn’t anything special in a initial half for Memphis (6.17 ERA), nonetheless he was superb in 10 starts after a break: 7-2, 2.88 ERA, 59.1 IP, 70 Ks, 7 BB. Miller also delivered plain late-season numbers for a Cards in Sep and October, operative mostly in service (13.2 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 16 Ks, 4 BB). Kelly finished 16 starts for St. Louis final year, coaxed a garland of grounders (1.88 GB/FB), and finished with excusable numbers (3.53 ERA, 4.03 xFIP, 6.31 K/9). He’s not scarcely as engaging as Miller, nonetheless he’s spasmodic stream-worthy, depending on a match-up.
Rosenthal, 22, was glorious in a service purpose for a Cards final season, disposition mostly (but not exclusively) on a fastball that mostly reached triple digits (97.9 mph). The right-hander struck out 25 batters over 22.2 innings for St. Louis during a unchanging season, delivering a 0.93 WHIP, afterwards he piled adult another 15 Ks in 8.2 scoreless postseason frames. Rosenthal worked as a starter in a minors final year, going 8-6 with a 2.97 ERA opposite dual levels, distinguished out 104 hitters over 109.0 innings. He’s a pitcher of seductiveness for anticipation owners in 2013, regardless of his role.
Oscar Taveras (USAT Sports Images)Q: Any possibility we’ll see Oscar Taveras this season?
A: Sure. Yeah. Let’s hope.
Over a winter, Taveras serve solidified his station as one of a chosen prospects in ball by starring in a Dominican League. The 20-year-old outfielder strike .316/.379/.507 in 39 games with 12 doubles and 5 homers, scoring 27 runs, pushing in 17. Those numbers some-more or reduction matched his opening in a Double-A Texas League final season, where he strike .321/.380/.572 with 37 doubles, 23 bombs, 94 RBIs and 10 steals in 11 attempts. He struck out usually 56 times in 477 at-bats, too. This child has been immature for his turn during any teenager joining stop, nonetheless he’s never unequivocally struggled. He won a Midwest League batting pretension in 2011, attack .386/.444/.584. There’s small doubt that in Taveras’ prime, he has a intensity to be a anticipation first-rounder, one of a many dangerous hitters in baseball.
If we ask me, it’s [expletive] that a same fan bottom that just enjoyed Albert Pujols’ best years will shortly get to base for Oscar Taveras. But we can all possess a child in fantasy, so that’s somethin’.
Taveras will presumably open a 2013 deteriorate during Triple-A Memphis, nonetheless I’d design him to finish in St. Louis. He’s an impact bat, a actor to aim in all anticipation formats. Every time Carlos Beltran tweaks something, a Taveras warning complement will be activated. Oscar is a gem in a extensive awaiting mine.
Q: If this team’s teenager joining complement is so great, because is St. Louis’ starting center infield so icky?
A: Yeah, we can’t make many of a box to possess possibly Rafael Furcal or Daniel Descalso. Both players are entrance off low normal seasons, delivering really small energy and usually medium speed. There’s zero many to see here. Avoid these guys if we can. Shouldn’t be too tough.
Eventually, we might see a double-play combo from final year’s Springfield Cardinals allege to a large leagues. Second baseman Kolten Wong, 22, and shortstop Greg Garcia, 23, are any entrance off decent campaigns during Double-A. Wong strike .287/.348/.405 with 9 homers and 21 steals, while Garcia managed a .284/.408/.420 line with 10 dingers and 10 stolen bases. These dudes were indeed teammates during Hawaii for dual collegiate seasons, so it’s good to see them advancing by a minors together.
The St. Louis complement is so abounding in talent that we can simply finish adult unaware several peculiarity names, kids who would accept some-more courtesy if Taveras and Miller didn’t pull a spotlight. RHP Carlos Martinez, 21, has top-of-the-rotation ability, and he excelled during dual levels in 2012 (6-5, 2.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 92 Ks in 104.1 IP). Michael Wacha, another substantial 21-year-old, struck out 40 batters over 21.0 innings final year, arising usually 4 walks. RHP Tyrell Jenkins has a live fastball and a high ceiling, OF Anthony Garcia is entrance off a 34-double, 19-homer deteriorate in a Midwest League, and 18-year-old 3B Carson Kelly has transparent energy potential. There’s an awful lot to like in this system, over a obvious prospects.
Q: Anything else to add, guru?
A: Just this: If David Freese’s contingent cost is gonna be anything like what we’ve seen in new mocks (ADP 173.99), I’ll possess that man in all leagues, everywhere. He’s a practical close to strike .290-plus, and he usually gave us a 20-homer campaign. Freese is looking like a good value play during a low position. If we sniff on a top-tier during third, there’s no risk in waiting.
Funny sign, different Cards fan (Getty)