One outlet recently had the St. Louis Cardinals finishing in third place in the NL Central. Now, another outlet has them winning it in a landslide.
Recently, the annual PECOTA projections were released and had the St. Louis Cardinals finishing in third place in the National League Central behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. It was met with criticism, as expected, as the Nolan Arenado trade made them the clear-cut favorites to win the division, especially after re-signing Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina.
USA Today released their projections Monday, with the Cardinals finishing in first place (90-72) and seven games ahead of the Brewers and eight games ahead of the Cubs. Here is what Gabe Lacques, the writer who made the predictions, said about their chances:
“What a time to be the Cardinals — finding a franchise player at virtually no prospect cost at the same time four division rivals aren’t exactly breaking the bank.”
He later went on to say that the Cardinals, even after acquiring Arenado, are vulnerable — specifically in the rotation. It is something that we have covered and it is a legitimate concern, though the team and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak continue to say that they are happy with their organizational depth behind Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Kwang-hyun Kim. They believe, specifically, that their young starters, along with Carlos Martinez and potentially Matthew Liberatore, will be enough depth to cover them through the 162-game season.
How that rotation ultimately holds up will be a big determining factor in how this season goes for the Cardinals. Even then, it is highly likely they win the division considering that none of the Brewers, Cubs, Pirates or Reds got better this winter. But if the Cardinals want any chance of dethroning the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Diego Padres in the National League this season.