Coming in at #4 the St. Louis Cardinals.
Projected Record: 97-65 2nd in the NL Central (First NL Wild Card)
Potential Lineup: 3B Carpenter #13, 2B Wong #16, LF Holliday #7, 1B Adams #32, SS Peralta #27, C Molina #4, CF Grichuk #15, RF Piscotty #55, Pitcher
Potential Rotation: 1.Wainwright #50, 2.Leake #8, 3.Martinez #18, 4.Wacha #52, 5.Garcia #54
Potential Bullpen: CL Rosenthal #26, 8th Siegrist #46, 7th Walden #53 Mid Relief: Broxton #30, Oh #26 ,Manes #61, Lyons #70
Potential Bench: C Pena #33, IF/OF Moss #21, IF Gyorko #3, IF Garcia #35, OF Pahm #28
Injuries: P Lynn #31
The Cardinals are coming off yet another excellent season winning 100 games. However their October was cut short as for the first time since 2011 the team failed to reach the NLCS losing to the rival Cubs in the NLDS. The rival Cubs beating of the Cardinals carried into the offseason when the Cubs stole away perhaps the Cardinals best bat and certainly best fielder in Jayson Heyward. Despite winning 100 games the Cards offense finished just 24th in runs scored. In order to score runs in 2016 the team will need to rely on veterans like Jose Peralta Matt Holliday, Matt Carpenter, and Matt Adams and youngsters such as Kolten Wong, and Randal Grichuk to stay healthy and produce solid seasons. If this does not happen the Cards offense could struggle a bit in 2016. As for the starting pitching staff the Cardinals were simply phenomenal in 2015. Finishing with the best rotation ERA in the Majors at .2.99. The Red Birds posted that mark without Ace Adam Wainwright for the whole season making that top rotation finish even more impressive. The Cards rotation has talented youngsters in Carlos Martinez who posted a 3.01 ERA and Michael Wacha who won 17 games with an ERA of 3.38. However the team did lose yet another arm and of course that arm is also heading to Chicago and the rival Cubs in John Lackey. The team did find a solid replacement however inking Mike Leake who between the Reds and Giants last season posted a 3.70 ERA, and pitched two complete games. With Adam Wainwright back to lead a talented rotation the Redbirds pitching staff should exell yet again in 2016. As for the bullpen the Cards bullpen ranked third in bullpen ERA in great thanks to their young core of great relievers. Starting with 25 year old Closer Trevor Rosenthal who converted on 48/51 save opportunities and pitched to an outstanding 2.10 ERA. 26 year old Kevin Siegrist emerged as a reliable setup man pitching to a 2.17 ERA and striking out 90 batters. The team also added to their young talented bullpen with the addition of 33 year old Korean pitcher Seung Hwan Oh who earned the nicknamed the “Final Boss” for his dominance in closing game. He will bring great depth to an already deep Cards bullpen. The Cardinals despite not always having the best run producing offense always find ways to win games, and epically because of great pitching both in the rotation and bullpen. The Cardinals should be very successful again in 2016.