The St. Louis Cardinals have gone to four consecutive National League Championship Series, winning two of them, and ultimately winning the World Series in 2011.
While they are constantly winning, they have provided minimal Fantasy star power. The injury concern of Adam Wainwright and the decline of the middle of their lineup in Matt Holiday and Yadier Molina leaves little hope for Fantasy Baseball owners.
Taking risks on young players like Matt Adams and Kolten Wong, as well as rebound candidate Jason Heyward could pay dividends, if you are able to steal them in the middle rounds.
Projected lineup, rotation and bullpen comes from RosterResource.com:
St. Louis Cardinals Projected “Go-To” Lineup:
- 3B Matt Carpenter
- RF Jason Heyward
- LF Matt Holliday
- 1B Matt Adams
- C Yadier Molina
- SS Jhonny Peralta
- 2B Kolten Wong
- CF Jon Jay
Cardinals Starting Rotation:
- RHP Adam Wainwright
- RHP Lance Lynn
- RHP John Lackey
- RHP Michael Wacha
- RHP Carlos Martinez
- LHP Marco Gonzales
- LHP Jaime Garcia
- RHP Trevor Rosenthal (closer)
- RHP Jordan Walden (setup)
- RHP Matt Belisle (setup)
2015 St. Louis Cardinals Fantasy Studs
The Cardinals currently have one Fantasy stud and he is coming off elbow surgery, a scary thought for a starting pitcher. Wainwright had a fantastic year in 2014 finishing 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. If you look at his splits between the first and second half, you can see that the elbow could have been bothering him (ERA: 1.83/3.24, WHIP: 0.091/1.38).
Add in that Wainwright had his lowest K/9 rate of 7.10 since 2008, and is Wainwright still an elite pitcher? Yes, of course he is. He has a sub 3.00 ERA in four out of the last five seasons and has averaged 18 wins over that time. In early season rankings, I’ve seen him anywhere from seventh to 20th starting pitcher.
Player Profile: Adam Wainwright may not be as formidable a force in 2015 http://t.co/wNX4G34Geq
— Fantasy Baseball (@FBaseballNews) January 28, 2015
Breakout Candidates: Matt Adams
Adams was everybody’s sleeper in 2014 — and who could blame them? He hit 17 HR in only 319 PA in 2013. While Adams had a decent 2014, he most certainly didn’t live up to the lofty expectations. He finished with only 15 HR on the year and saw his HR rate drop from 21.8% to 8.7%.
Though he didn’t live up to high expectations, Adams is coming off a postseason where he hit three HR in nine games. He does struggle against lefties and may see fewer at bats against them, but it’s not like he can’t power up against a lefty every now and then as he shows here in the playoffs against the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. Look for 20-plus HR and 80-plus RBI in 2015.
Sleeper Candidates: Kolten Wong
Wong is the next breakout player from the great state of Hawaii. Wong was one of only two second basemen to hit 10-plus HR and have 20-plus SB, and he did this in only 400 at-bats in 2014. He showed his ability to hit for power in the 2014 postseason, as he hit three homers in only eight games.
If he can improve upon his career .236 batting average — closer to .260 — Wong will be a very good asset to have on your team. As long as there isn’t crazy build-up over the next month or so, he will be a great middle-rounds steal and get you 15-plus HR and 20-plus SB.
How great would it be if Matt Holliday, Jason Heyward, Kolten Wong, & Matt Adams each hit 20+ home runs next year. pic.twitter.com/NJvD1aqyuJ
— St. Louis Cardinals (@STL_Cards_nut) January 30, 2015
Bust Candidates: Matt Holliday
Holliday is coming off his worst season in a decade in home runs and batting average, putting up only 20 HR and hitting .272. His slugging percentage and ISO has been on a steady decline since career highs in 2007. He still is the No. 3 hitter for a good Cardinals team, but you can’t draft Holliday expecting the big numbers of his past. Holiday is 35 and he will push to hit 20 home runs again and he provides little speed. You’re better off taking another Missouri outfielder in Alex Gordon.
Top Rookies: Marco Gonzales
Gonzales is Keith Law’s No. 2 Cardinals prospect, but his best opportunity at playing time is coming in 2015. The left-handed pitcher will compete for the fifth spot in the Cardinals’ rotation this spring. Gonzales had five starts and finished 4-2 with a decent K/9 of 8.05. He relies on his great changeup to keep hitters off balance but needs to work on a third pitch and improve upon his fastball. The fifth spot is up in the air and even if Gonzales loses it, he will most likely see time in the big leagues with Wainwright and Michael Wacha’s health history.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@STL_Cards_nut) January 18, 2015
What Should We Know About the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals?
|2015 Team Previews: NL Central|
As a Cubs fan, I’m supposed to hate the Cardinals, but it’s tough to hate organizations that know how to win, winning an average of 90 games the last 11 years. They are doing this with little Fantasy relevance.
Wainwright is a stud and, hopefully, he can still be one after elbow surgery. But with the decline of Holiday, and Molina starting to show wear and tear from playing so much behind the plate, they offer little top-end Fantasy talent.
Maybe new surroundings help Heyward find his stroke again, or Adams and Wong breakout to provide you with the Fantasy numbers we are all searching for. Even if this doesn’t happen and they are Fantasy irrelevant in mixed leagues, they will most definitely be in the pennant race come this September.
Check out all of our “Fantasy 30 For 30 Team Previews,” as we post a new one every day.
Matt Holliday Photo Credit: Alex Lewis
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