2008 MLB Preview: St. Louis Cardinals

Explanation of ratings system and other team previews here

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Ranks
Overall – 69 points (25th MLB, 15th NL)
Starting Rotation – 22 points (28th MLB, 15th NL)
Line-Up – 28 points (27th MLB, 15th NL)
Bench/Bullpen/Defense – 17 points (T-3rd MLB, T-1st NL)

Offseason Additions – Troy Glaus, Kyle Lohse, Matt Clemenet
Offseason Subtractions – David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Troy Percival, Scott Rolen, Kip Wells

Biggest Strength– Championship Grace Period

The Cardinals are not going to be a very good team this year. But unlike many other teams who won’t be good (and many who will) Cardinals fans can still relish in the fact that they were, as recently as last year, defending World Series Champions. For those of us in Philly, we would certainly take a couple horrible years right after a championship if it meant getting a championship.

Biggest Weakness– Starting Rotation

Who knows when Chris Carpenter will be back, Mark Mulder has been a total bust since coming over from Oakland, Braden Looper was a bad reliever and not much better as a starter, Anthony Reyes had a 6.04 ERA last year and doesn’t know how to bend his brim correctly, Joel Pinero hasn’t pitched 200 inning since 2003 and Kyle Lohse is so good it took till mid-March for someone to sign him. Oh well, atleast they have…

Key Player in ’08– Adam Wainwright

Wainwright, who just got a 4-year extension, is the Cardinals best and only hope of a dominant starting pitcher. He has a nasty curveball, and was impressive last year with a 2.71 ERA after the all-star break (3rd best in the NL). At 26, he is right at the age where pitchers break out and could be a huge bright spot in the otherwise questionable Cardinals rotation.

Player to Keep an Eye On– Rick Ankiel

Everybody knows his story. One of the best left-handed pitching prospects of the decade. Tears through NL line-ups, helping lead the Cardinals to the playoffs in 2000. In the playoffs, he has a legitimate mental breakdown and can’t stop throwing wild pitches. Never recovers and quits pitching and decides to be a hitter. He then goes through the Cardinals farm system AGAIN, surprising with his hitting ability. Then, after a call-up last year hits 11 HR and drives in 39 RBI in just 47 games, during which he was accused of using HGH in the minors. This spring, he is tearing the cover off the ball, hitting .380 with a 1.026 OPS in 50 AB. The way his story has gone, I could see him hitting 40 HR this year, or I could see him hitting .050, losing his mind, and retiring into obscurity.

Outlook/Prediction– 6th Place, NL Central. It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals being as bad as I think they will be because they’ve been very good for awhile. However, they still have arguably the best hitter in the game in Albert Pujols, arguably the best uniforms in the game, and arguably the best fans in the game, so I really don’t feel too bad for them.

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5 Responses

  1. […] Pete placed an observative post today on 2008 MLB Preview: St. Louis Cardinals […]

  2. Ankiel never admitted to using HGH while in the minors, and he was very apologetic. He stated that he used while out of baseball. He was technically part of the farm system, but he didn’t use it to enhance his performance, he was perscribed by a legitimate doctor, and it was to recover from surgery. Is this true? Who knows, but if someone was to read this, and didn’t know the story, they would think that Ankiel said something like, “yeah, I used HGH to hit homeruns, so what?” When that wasn’t even close to teh case. Ankiel said something along the lines of “yeah, I used HGH to recover from an injury. A doctor perscribed it to me, and I my performance wasn’t enhanced because I wasn’t anywhere near a field while I was using it. I’m not sorry for this, because I used it exactly as it was perscribed to me.” You may want to edit that, because someone could be terribly misleaded.

  3. yeah – the story is that he has a 12 month supply of HGH. he claims it was prescribed, I claim that 12 months is a hell of a long prescription. like you said, he also said he was “not sorry” for using it. so technically i am correct. However, there is a big difference in using it for medical reasons and for other reasons, so I changed what I wrote since there is no proof. Thanks for the comment.

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