I wonder how many people will comment on this without actually reading this… I guess we will soon find out. But oh yes, it’s time to go bold again and this might be one of my boldest picks yet.
The St. Louis Cardinals will win 100 games in 2019. And no, not including spring training games… Somebody will say it. Watch. No, the Cardinals will win 100 regular season games.
I don’t think people realize how good this team will be. Let’s take a look at what the potential of this lineup could be. I’m not going to go over every player, but these guys could be impact performers.
- Matt Carpenter – Carpenter really turned on the power in 2018. Will that continue? Who knows, but I’ve had this converstation with a number of people. Carpenter isn’t a power hitter. He’s a good hitter that gets the barrel on the ball. His average home run distance was 392 feet. League average is 398. He averaged 24 home runs during his previous three seasons before breaking out a 36 homer campaign. I do expect his “launch angle” to stay the same and he will probably hit around 30-32 home runs with a .260 average. Carpenter is well known for his ability to grind through at bats and get on base. He will be a very productive hitter in 2019.
- Paul Goldschmidt – It’s still incredible to think that we obtained Paul Goldschmidt. Wow. Anyway, Goldschmidt is a terrific player. He’s been an MVP candidate practically every year he’s been in the big leagues. He hits for average, hits for power, takes walks, steals bases, provides gold glove defense. He’s a genuine 5-tool player. With Carpenter and third and Goldschmidt at first, the corners look to be locked up for 2019. Re-sign him and we get to watch him produce for years to come.
- Marcell Ozuna – I expect a bounceback from Ozuna. You got a glimpse of what he could do in the final part of the 2018 season once he recieved treatment for his shoulder. He had a .306 average along with a .906 OPS in the month of September and hit 7 of his 23 home runs. I’m not expecting him to play at this clip for the majority of 2019, but with the proper rehab in his shoulder, he can be a dangerous bat for the Cardinals.
- Paul DeJong – Before his hand injury, DeJong was having a pretty nice start. After he returned, it took him a while for him to find his stride. You saw his full potential back in 2017 where he hit 38 home runs between AAA and MLB. He’s also becoming a solid glove at shortstop ranking 4th in all of baseball in Defensive Runs Saved. I already predicted that DeJong would finish in the top five of the NL MVP voting, and I stick by that. I truly think this is going to be a monster year for DeJong.
I’d put these four guys up against any four in the NL. I think 2019 is going to be a ridiculous season for the Cardinals. If all these guys played at their highest level, you have MVP candiates all over the diamond. I’m excited to see what happens.
The rotation seems to be in good shape for 2019. The Cardinals have Mikolas, Flaherty, Martinez, and Wacha that seem to be solid locks in the rotation going into the season. The question is who gets the fifth spot? Many fans will say Wainwright will get the first crack at it and I can’t say I disagree, but Reyes, Gant, Gomber, and Hudson could also make a strong case for the final spot.
The 2018 rotation ranked 5th in all of baseball last season in ERA at 3.52. They were led by Mikolas who was easily the best signing of the 2017-2018 free agent class. Mikolas was a relative unknown and he ended up finishing 6th in the NL Cy Young vote. Flaherty looks to have a full season to really show what he can do, and ideally Carlos Martinez will return to form and give us a full season. I am still of the mindset that Carlos needs to be a starter, however the argument for him being the closer is certainly intriguing.
This rotation is easily the best in the NL Central and I see Mikolas, Flaherty, and C.Mart having spectacular seasons. Wacha when healthy should be a solid number four, and whoever ends up with the fifth spot should feel good about the guys around him.
Where the Cardinals look to improve the most in the bullpen. The last few signings haven’t gone the way the Cardinals have planned (Cecil, Holland, Gregerson). I will stand by the Holland deal because if you look at who was available, Holland was the obvious choice. For whatever reason it just didn’t work out, but if you look at what he did with Washington, you know he is still a good pitcher.
Once again the Cardinals have lots of internal options, but there are plenty of players out there that could help the Cardinals in 2019. If the Cards manage to pick up Britton, Miller, or Kimbrel, the bullpen suddenly looks even better. There are also plenty of options via trade including Jose Alvarado from TB and Will Smith from SF. It seems as though the Cardinals are shopping Jose Martinez to both teams in order to pick up the solid left handed reliever. If the Cardinals add to the bullpen, the Cardinals can win 100 games. Many games this past season were lost because of poor bullpen performance.
The addition of Paul Goldschmidt seems to give the Cardinals a lineup that at the very least is on par with both Chicago and Milwaukee, but I’d argue that the Cardinals lineup is stronger. The edge for the rotation should also go to the Cardinals, and I think the young guns in the bullpen last season showed enough promise for me to be optimistic for 2019.
100 wins is bold. But I’ll stick by it. This team can be dangerous. I have faith in this team and this organization. If I’m wrong… Oh well, it wouldn’t be the first time.
What are your thoughts?
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