Coming into the 2013 seasons the Cardinals were expected to be quite well. They lived up to those expectations winning 97 games, winning the division and making it all the way to the World Series before falling to the Boston Red Sox. Coming into the 2014 season the Cardinals will once again be expected to do well, this time however the expecatations are even higher with some people starting to say the Cardinals could be World Series favorites entering Spring Training next month? Are they the favorites though? Let’s take a look.
Coming into this offseason the Cardinals had a few issues to address but nothing as big as finding a shortstop for the club. The Cardinals shortstop position has seen many different faces over the last few years with no one ever being able to really grab a stranglehold on the position and become the club’s option for SS long term. The Cardinals at least solved that problem for the next few years when they signed free agent Johnny Peralta. Peralta should be able to thrive at the position and will be a big boost to an already loaded Cardinals team.
The Cardinals pitching staff is quite loaded as well. The Rotation is led by Ace Adam Wainwright who finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting last year and will most likely be a Cy Young candidate again in 2014. Wainwright has become in my opinion one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and is the perfect man to lead the Cardinals rotation. You also have guys like Jaime Garcia who will be back after missing most of last year due to injury, Shelby Miller who had a very solid rookie campaign despite hardly being used in the postseason, Lance Lynn who is a solid pitcher in his own right. You also have young guys like Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez and of course who can forget Mr.Wacha. The Cardinals have probably one of the top 10 maybe even top 5 rotations in the big leagues right now and they will probably be a big factor in the Cardinals being either decent, or great in 2014.
Last, on the offensive side of the ball, you’ve got guys like Matt Holliday, Peralta who is a solid hitter as well, Yadier Molina, Allen Craig and a lineup that might just be the best in baseball at coming up with clutch hits with RISP. The Cardinals are a loaded team and should do quite well in 2014, are they world series favorites? I’ll leave that up to you, but I personally think that entering Spring Training they will be the team to beat in the National League.