Friday, March 29, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: St. Louis Cardinals

Felipe M

We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections. 

Our preview of the Chicago White Sox can be read here

Let's see what the St. Louis Cardinals have in store for the upcoming season.

2013 Pitching Projections
Player
Team
K/BB
K/9
BB/9
H/9
WHIP
HR/9
Adam Wainwright
St. Louis
3.65
8.17
2.24
8.29
1.17
0.71
Jaime Garcia
St. Louis
2.95
7.01
2.37
9.16
1.28
0.59
Lance Lynn
St. Louis
2.92
8.75
3.00
8.16
1.24
0.89
Shelby Miller
St. Louis
2.48
8.57
3.46
8.31
1.31
1.04
Jake Westbrook
St. Louis
1.77
5.24
2.95
9.43
1.38
0.67












As you can see, this list doesn't include Chris Carpenter, their closers, Joe Kelly or #3 Baseball Prospectus Cardinals' prospect, Carlos Martinez.  In a word, the Cards are LOADED at this position.  

Adam Wainwright is so good, he just received a 5-year contract extension.  If the Cards have faith in him and the numbers suggest a top-of-the-line pitcher, then you, the reader, should have faith in him.  I listed Wainwright as a top 10 pitcher for 2013.

I'm always down on Jaime Garcia because I've always viewed him as a typical, finesse, Cardinals pitcher.  But based on his decent K/9 and close to 3/1 K/BB ratio, he is a very useful pitcher in fantasy circles.  A 1.28 WHIP is elevated due to his pitching style, which ultimately gives up a lot of base-hits, but judging by his successful spring, he should be on every fantasy team right now.  Nonetheless, he's at least available in 15% of CBS leagues.  

Lance Lynn got off to a rocking start last season, but eventually malfunctioned as a starter and was demoted to the bullpen.  Based on his numbers, he should dominate hitters, but once I was comfortable enough to place him as a 2nd-tier pitcher, reports out of spring training show that he's been terrible.  Furthermore, he's lost weight and has changed his mechanics.  So when considering that transformation, it is skeptical that he can attain those projections, but even if his strikeouts drop to Jaime Garcia-levels, Lynn is still a good option to have on your pitching staff, just not good enough for owners to reach early for him.

I've never like Jake Westbrook, but he's found success on a Cardinals' team that embraces his pitching style.  I still would never consider drafting him or having him on my team, but he can eat up innings, control his walks and homeruns, and can get plenty of wins on a really good team.  

Finally! Shelby Miller wins the 5th rotation spot after a tough battle with Joe Kelly.  He did struggle in Triple-A last season, but he's been dominating the Minors beforehand.  Plus, immaturity was an issue last season in the Minors as well, but did enough to impress the Cards late in 2012 and definitely showed enough improvements this spring to have the Cardinals give him the job.  He is available in 28% of CBS leagues so if you need pitching help, Miller is definitely worth the roster spot.  

I've shared my thoughts about Jason Motte and thought he was an elite closer before he went down with an injury.  Obviously, Mitchell Boggs will replace him until Motte comes back.  I believe in the Cardinals' ability to develop pitchers and give them opportunities to succeed so Boggs should be a fine replacement.  He's already notched three saves this spring after manager Mike Matheny named him the closer on March 23rd.  In the meantime, you should handcuff these two together like I did.  

As mentioned, the Cardinals are loaded at this position and if one of these guys fall, I strongly urge to immediately check out the replacement pitchers because they always find a way to find guys who succeed when their number is called.

More MLB content is available here.  

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