The defending NL champs are even better than before, with the most balanced lineup in baseball. Whether it’s the dominant pitching staff, or the consistent batting lineup, the Redbirds are full of talent. No fantasy baseball roster is complete without some help from the Redbirds lineup and/or rotation. Some are must grabs, while others are sleepers that are bound to have a strong 2014 season. Here are six players that will boost your fantasy baseball roster for sure:
1. Adam Wainwright: A top notch pitcher, arguably in the top 10 in baseball, Wainwright is the ace of the Cardinals’ staff. In 2013, Wainwright was tied for the NL lead with 19 wins, and also won his second Gold Glove Award. His health issues are mostly behind him, so expect another season in which he flirts with 20 wins and an ERA under 3.00. With other pitchers likely to be drafted first, he is a top late-first rounder, early second round pick.
2. Yadier Molina: One of the faces of the Cardinals’ franchise, Molina is by far the best defensive catcher in baseball, but as the years have gone on, his offensive skills have improved big time as well. He won’t be a league leader in home runs, and his slow speed does warrant a risk for those requesting more extra base hits than singles, but when he hits the ball hard, it travels. He is very consistent at the plate, with an above .300 average. If you want the best catcher in baseball, it’s safe to snag up Molina in the 2nd or 3rd rounds, possibly even the 4th.
3. Allen Craig: Not only is Craig a valuable hitter, but he also allows roster flexibility since he has eligibility at first base and the outfield. That comes in handy for any fantasy baseball owners considering him in 2014. He hit .315 with 13 home runs and 97 RBI last season, and he has been hot all spring. If you want a player who knows how to hit the ball consistently and well, rarely strikes out, and has healed from lingering injuries, than Allen Craig is worth a mid-draft pick-up for fantasy.
4. Matt Adams: Adams is the powerhouse of the Cardinals roster. He hit nearly as many home runs as Carlos Beltran did last season, while only playing in less than 80 games. He has improved on his awareness at the plate, something he struggled with during the postseason last year, and is more patient. No player on the Cardinals is more built for power than Adams is. Adams is one of many players considered a good mid-to-late draft sleeper to provide a spark of power.
5. Michael Wacha: Wacha is one of the best rising stars in baseball, and the 2nd best pitcher on the Cardinals behind Wainwright. He outdueled the NL Cy Young winner twice in the NLCS, was one out away from a no-hitter, and shut down Pittsburgh while the Redbirds were on the brink of elimination. Safe to say, he was a stud on the mound. Look for his success to continue this year. With most fantasy owners going to pick up more experienced and well-known pitchers, Wacha will most likely be available through the first 6-7 rounds, at which point he should be strongly considered as a good add to your fantasy team.
6. Trevor Rosenthal: Pitching a 100mph fastball is one thing. Pitching it in the strike zone frequently is another story. But it’s something the Cardinals’ new closer is able to do on a regular basis. Another player groomed in the Redbird’s deep farm system, Rosenthal emerged as a very reliable closer in 2013. He is in the top 10 of closers because of his strength and arm durability. He is another good sleeper addition to anyone’s fantasy roster.
Obviously, there are other players, such as Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, and Shelby Miller, all of whom could also warrant mid-to-late round pickups, but the six players listed above are the top choices on the Cardinals for your fantasy baseball roster. Best of luck to your fantasy baseball teams!