MLB Team News & Rumors: St. Louis

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St. Louis Cardinals

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

St. Louis Cardinals Team Projection

To get you ready for your fantasy baseball draft, here are my player profiles of the St. Louis Cardinals starting pitchers and bullpen.

1. SP Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright fantasy baseball

Wainwright returned to his prior Tommy John surgery form in 2013, leading the NL in wins (19), starts (34), shutouts (2) and innings pitched (241.7). He also had the best walk rate (1.3) of his career and his K rate (8.2) was in line with his best seasons. Adam only walked 10 RH batters in 457 at bats, while pitching his best ball over the first 3 months of the year (2.22 ERA with only 12 walks in 124.7 innings). Wainwright started to fade in July (3.77 ERA) before getting drilled in back to back starts against the Reds in late August and early September (15 runs and 21 base runners in 8 innings). Adam was able to right the ship over his last 5 starts of the year (4-0 with a 1.80 ERA), plus he pitched well in the playoffs (1.56 ERA) before fading in the World Series (0-2 with a 4.50 ERA). All in all, he pitched 276.7 innings. His AFB (91.1) was in line with his 2009 and 2010 season. He now throws a cutter as his #2 pitch, followed closely by a plus curveball and occasional changeup. Wainwright continues to be a GB pitcher (49.1%). He is coming off of a huge innings season, but he has elite talent with improving command. He is one of the best bets in the game to win close to 20 games. With a little better 2nd half, he would have been even better. Solid fantasy ace who makes up for his less than elite K rate by volume of innings.

2. SP Michael Wacha

Michael Wacha fantasy baseball

Wacha made the jump from the minors to the majors after just 106 innings where he had a 2.29 ERA with 113 K's in 106 innings. His success with St. Louis was even better than his AAA results. He had solid command (2.6) with a very good K rate (9.0). Michael allowed no runs in 3 of his 5 starts in September (1.91 ERA). Furthermore, Wacha was almost unhittable in his first 4 playoff starts (4-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 0.703 WHIP and 28 K's in 27 innings) before blowing up in the 6th game of the World Series (6 runs in 3.7 innings). His AFB was 93.5. His #2 pitch is a plus changeup, but he really doesn't have a breaking pitch of value (threw a low level curveball and a weak cutter). Wacha had more success against lefties (.197), but wasn't a great pitcher on the road (4.34 ERA - 2.15 at home). Overall, Michael gives St. Louis a 3rd possible ace. His command is better than Miller and his changeup is a plus, plus pitch. He should pitch 200 innings this year, which gives him 200 K upside and plus wins.

3. SP Shelby Miller

Shelby Miller fantasy baseball

Miller was just plain ugly at AAA over the first half of 2012. He had a 6.17 ERA and 1.720 WHIP after his first 17 starts. His K rate (10.5) was strong, but he had poor command (5.0) which led to a huge HR rate (2.0). The Cardinals skipped a start in late June to work on his mechanics and they told him he could no longer shake off the catcher. His last 10 starts at AAA were electric, compiling a 2.88 ERA and 0.927 WHIP with 70 K's in 59.1 innings. Most importantly, he only walked 7 batters (1.0). Shelby followed up his growth in the 2nd half of 2012 with a very good rookie season. Miller was electric in April and May (2.02 ERA) and had plus command (2.1) over the first 3 months. He had success in July (2.78 ERA), but walk rate (3.9) regressed over the last 3 months of the year. Miller was very good against RH batters (.205), but he still has work to do against lefties (.266). His AFB (93.7) was solid. Shelby really has only one other pitch he can lean on (curveball). He does also throw a changeup and low level cutter. The key to his development will be his changeup and command. Miller should win 15+ games again with a solid ERA and upside in K's.

4. SP Lance Lynn

Lance Lynn fantasy baseball

Lynn has gone 33-17 over the last 2 seasons, but his command (3.4) isn't improving and his K rate (8.8) is declining. He allowed 2 runs or less in 16 of his 32 starts. His downside is that he allowed 4 runs or more in 14 starts. His lack of command to LH batters (49 walks and 71 K's in 317 at bats) continues to be the reason he hasn't made another step forward. He had success against both RH (.247) and LH (.259), but didn't dominate either side of the plate. Lance had a 5.19 ERA in June, July, and August. Lynn was able to right the ship in September (2.12 ERA with 36 K's in 29.7 innings), but his AFB (92.4) declined from 2012. However, his slider gained value at the expense of his curveball (also throws a weak changeup). Batters have a tough time with his four seam fastball (.211) and his curveball (.192), but they crushed his sinker (.332) and changeup (.320). His velocity did improve in September and October. Lynn has upside in K's and wins, but his lack of a 3rd pitch really hurts his value against lefties, which in turn hurt his ERA and WHIP.

5. SP Jaime Garcia

Jaime Garcia fantasy baseball

Garcia pitched well over his first 7 starts (2.25 ERA) before fading in his last 2 starts due a shoulder injury that required surgery in May (had a small tear in his labrum). He is expected to be ready for spring training. Jamie is 39-25 during his career with a 3.45 ERA with 437 K's in 551 innings. His command (2.4) has been solid over the last 3 seasons. Furthermore, his K rate (7.0) is a drop down from the top pitchers in the game. Last year, he struggled with LH batters (.333 with a .537 SLG %), while his AFB (88.7) has declined in the past 3 seasons. His best pitch is a cutter, followed by a changeup and a show me curveball. Garcia has been hurt in back to back seasons and had Tommy John surgery earlier in his career. He has proven he can win games at the major league level. If healthy, Jaime is the favorite to win the 5th starting job as I'm sure the Cardinals would like to have a lefty in the rotation.

6. SP Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly fantasy baseball

Kelly went 9-2 after the All Star break with a 1.91 ERA. His command (3.2) still needs a lot of work, but he has an elite fastball (94.9). However, his K rate (5.7) remains short. His #2 pitch is a changeup, followed by a slider and curveball. Overall, Joe is a GB pitcher (51.1%) who struggles with RH batters (.270), evidenced by his high walk rate (25 walks in 263 at bats). Batters struggled to hit his slider (.212), changeup (.182), and curveball (.212), but they had success against his sinker (.295). Kelly has a career 3.89 ERA in the minors with 280 K's in 338 innings. His first pitch strike % (55%) is very low, which will hold him back over the short term. Basically, Joe just needs better command within the strike zone. His fastball is high enough where his K's should rise naturally. Any starter in the Cardinals rotation has upside in wins, but Kelly will have to beat out Garcia to have any upside in 2014.

7. SP Tyler Lyons

Tyler Lyons fantasy baseball

Lyons pitched well over his first 2 starts in the majors (2 runs in 14 innings), but he had no value in his next 5 starts (7.77 ERA). Tyler had a career 3.99 ERA in the minors with 308 K's in 347 innings. He has had elite command (1.7) in back to back seasons at AAA. His walk rate (2.7) and K rate (7.3) were a step down from his minor league resume, and his AFB (89.9) is short. He throws a slider as his #2 pitch, followed by a changeup and a low level curveball. Lyons will have value short term as a spot starter, but he needs more experience to have value in the majors.

8. CL Trevor Rosenthal

Trevor Rosenthal fantasy baseball

Rosenthal just missed having an elite save season. He caught the perfect break when Motte when down with an injury, but he blew his first 2 save chances and struggled in 3 other outings in April. His missed opportunity allowed Edward Mujica to surprisingly steal the job for 5 months. Over the last 5 months of the year, Trevor had a 2.37 ERA with 89 K's in 60.7 innings. He took over the closer job in late September and was lights out in the playoffs (4 SV's with no runs allowed in 11.7 innings with 18 K's). Rosenthal had elite command (2.4) and a plus, plus K rate (12.9). His AFB (97.3) is electric, but he throws it 78.6% of the time. His #2 pitch is a changeup, followed by an occasional curveball and weak cutter. Overall, Trevor is a top 5 option to close and has 40+ save upside with 100+ K ability.

9. RP Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez fantasy baseball

Martinez gives St. Louis another elite arm in the bullpen. He has an elite fastball (96.7), and his #2 pitch is a curveball (followed by a show me changeup that may have upside down the road). His future is probably as a starter, but he'll have more value to the Cardinals in the bullpen in 2014. He has a 2.69 ERA with 340 K's in 327.7 innings. His command (3.2) still needs work, but it was better in the majors (2.9). Overall, his K rate (7.6) was stronger during his minor league career. His lack of a 3rd pitch hurts him as starter and against LH batters (.326). Carlos will give St. Louis a deadly combo late in games, and he could always re-emerge as a starter down the road.

10. RP Kevin Siegrist

Kevin Siegrist fantasy baseball

After having success as a starter in the minors in 2011 (2.26 ERA) and 2012 (2.77 ERA), the Cardinals decided to move Siegrist to the bullpen in 2013. His command (3.5) has always been short (4.1 in the majors) with an unimpressive K rate (7.7). After the switch, his K rate (14.3) became elite in the minors and majors (11.3). He brings an elite fastball (95.2) from the left side, which he threw 85.2% of the time. Kevin used a slider as his 2nd pitch, followed by a low level changeup. He probably has no chance at saves, but will be the 3rd piece of an electric St. Louis bullpen.


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