Re: Looking at our division
The differences between the projected St. Louis and Cincinnati lineups are health, age, 2B, starting rotation upside, and the pen.
In short, the Cardinals are banking on oft-injured players at multiple positions. Freese, Furcal, Beltran, Jay-- all missed chunks of season last year and half of their offensive starters have significant injury histories. In the age of PED testing, counting on so many oft-injured players seems to be a very large gamble only a few teams take. Some years, everything comes together. Most years, however, the players are indeed what they say they are on the back of their bubble gum cards.
Quick quiz: how many St. Louis regulars are over the age of 30? 35? Their lineup has three guys looking at AARP subscriptions and two more on the backside of 30. Only Jon Jay, Allen Craig, and David Freese (perhaps David Descalo) are in their prime seasons.
In analyzing the teams, it pretty much all comes down to Brandon Phillips.
Joey Votto >> Allen Craig
Brandon Phillips >>>>> Danield Descalo
Todd Frazier < David Freese
Zack Cozart > Rafael Furcal
Yadier Molina >>> Ryan Hanigan
Matt Holiday > Ryan Ludwick
Choo >> Jon Jay
Jay Bruce = Carlos Beltran
Yadier Molina < Choo
The Cardinals can come close to matching the Cincinnati lineup when both teams are healthy. However, neither Descalo nor Wiggington are close to Phillips.
Even if you add Oscar Taveras to the St. Louis lineup, who's he going to replace? Beltran? Likely. Jay? Perhaps. But, because both players are already very productive, the Cardinals gain little even if Taveras is the real deal (and, by almost all accounts, he's a year away and entirely for real).
Starting Rotation Upside
Carpenter is old. 37. He's been ridden hard and needs good stuff. There are huge question marks surrounding him. Adam Wainwright had a very good year coming back from TJ surgery, but I think we all agree he wasn't the Wainwright of old. Jaime Garcia struggled (and apparently ticked off teammates). Jake Westbrook is hurt, old, and largely a meh starter.
Wainwright = Cueto
Carpenter < Latos
Garcia > Bailey
Chapman > Miller
Westbrook < Arroyo
St. Louis really struggled with their pen for about three months last season. The Alphabet Brigade couldn't duplicate its post-season success from two years ago, and there just aren't that many high leverage arms for help on the St. Louis farm. In fact, depending on what's done with Leake/ Chapman, the Reds could dominate the pen rankings fairly easily.
J. Motte = Broxton
M. Boggs < Sean Marshall
E. Mujica < Hoover
M. Rzepczynski < LeCure
T. Rosenthal = Arredondo
R. Choate = Simon
F. Salas < Ondrusek/ Simon/ Leake
"You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
-- Christy Matthewson
"Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
-- Leo Durocher
Last edited by Scrap Irony; 12-15-2012 at 09:10 AM.