Wednesday, February 27, 2008

St. Louis Cardinals Preview

2007 Record: 78-84, 3rd in NL Central

Key Losses: Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, David Eckstien

Key Acquisitions: Troy Glaus, Caesar Izturis, Matt Clement

Projected Lineup:
1. Skip Schumaker-RF
2. Rick Ankeil-CF
3. Albert Pujols-1B
4. Troy Glaus-3B
5. Chris Duncan-LF
6. Yadier Molina-C
7. Adam Kennedy-2B
8. Pitcher
9. Caesar Izturis-SS

Lineup Grade: C-....this lineup would be much worse if not for the Great Pujols, but his elbow must be watched closely this year. If it worsens, Albert may shut it down for the season, and STL may not win a game the rest of the season if that happens. However, this team set a record for fewest innings pitched by starters and they still managed to finish around .500, so give the O some cred. Glaus will need to play like he is truly 100% healthy, and Duncan and Ankiel must continue to develop into power-hitting threats. Also, Adam Kennedy must pretend like he is on an MLB roster and get a hit every once-in-a-while, or the Birds will be forced to either 1. start playing Aaron Miles and plan for '09, or 2. find a replacement through a trade.

Projected Rotation:
1. Adam Wainwright
2. Braden Looper
3. Joel Pinero
4. Kyle Lohse
5. Matt Clement
(Returning mid-season: Mark Mulder, Chris Carpenter)
CL: Jason Isringhausen
Setup: Ryan Franklin

Pitching Grade: C-...If Wainwright can continue his ascent to ace status, Pinero and Looper do their jobs, and Clement is actually healthy and lasts the season, this could become an A when Carp and Mulder get back, but only if they come back strong. The bullpen was great last year, only faltering down the stretch because they were so horribly overworked (blame Kip Wells). Ryan Franklin was a revelation as a setup man, and World Series standout Josh Kinney is back from Tommy Johns.

Key Stats from '07:
2.96 =Adam Wainwright's ERA from mid-May to the end of the season
17 = Combined innings pitched by Carpenter, Mulder, and Clement
.327, 32, 103, 99 = Pujols stat line. Very possibly his worst career season

2008 Outlook: So many question marks surround this team, it's anyone's guess how they finish up. If everyone is healthy, and the guys who aren't back return healthy and effective, they might be able to play well enough to stay around .500 long enough to convince new G.M. John Mozeliak to make a move to bring in help at the trade deadline. This scenario is somewhat possible because they play in the weakest division in the weaker league of MLB. But if any one of the key players is not healthy (Pujols, Glaus, Clement), or returns before they are fully ready(Carpenter, Mulder), this team could go south very quickly, and who knows how large a disaster it could turn into.


Young Knuckleballer said...

Giving that rotation a C- is very generous cicero

Young Por 'que said...

Will you stop ripping on EVERYONE's grades they give in their previews. If you wanted everything graded to your opinion, then you should have done all the previews.

Young Por 'que said...
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Young Cicero said...

Yeah Andy. Maybe your sportscasts deserve C minuses too....BOOYAH

Besides, I factored the Birds legit bullpen into the pitching grade.

Young Knuckleballer said...

Porque gets an F for posting and an A for Pizza eating.

young illiniwek said...

A 70-92 season for the Deadbirds would make me very happy. It is possible.

Cicero, are you doing the Cubs preview too? That will be interesting.

I see Tony is going to bat the pitcher 8th again.

Tough question. Who is the biggest douchebag? TLR or Belichick