After reopening fantasy baseball leagues last Friday, Yahoo Sports introduced their first pre-season rankings, giving all eligible Major League Baseball players a numerical value in regards to statistics and sabermetrics. While the rankings could change in upcoming weeks based on injuries, new player signings and other occurrences, the first go-around proved to be very kind to the Gateway City.
Eleven Cardinals eclipsed the top 200 player mark in the Yahoo Sports fantasy baseball rankings, which is the most of any Major League Baseball team other than the Washington Nationals (12). This specific core of Cardinals is represented by seven position players and four pitchers.
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Topping the hierarchy for the Cardinals is starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. After finishing third in NL Cy Young voting last year, Wainwright is ranked 47th overall, good for twelfth among all pitchers. His battery mate, Yadier Molina, is the fifth highest ranked catcher and 94th overall.
Matt Holliday is the Cardinals’ highest ranked position player, as his consistent offensive production has propelled him to 62nd overall. Newcomer Jason Heyward isn’t too far away from Holliday, as he currently sits at 77 in this year’s rankings.
All St. Louis infielders cracked the list. Corner infielders Matt Carpenter (105) and Matt Adams (108) are separated in Yahoo Sports’s ranks by a slim margin. Kolten Wong‘s second half breakout in 2014 padded his position at 111 overall, while shortstop Jhonny Peralta could make for a sleeper pick at spot 198.
After closely examining the current rankings, here are a few other side notes related to Cardinals.
– John Lackey was the first Cardinal to miss the Top 200 cutoff, starting the season at 207.
–Jon Jay is the Cardinals’ only starting position player left off the list, placing at 315.
As Spring Training progresses, Yahoo Sports could still potentially alter this year’s fantasy baseball rankings. These predictions aren’t fully indicative of the season that lies ahead for each player, but they could serve as one of several large expectations the Cardinals will look to live up to in 2015.