St. Louis Cardinals: Replacing the lost WAR in 2016

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Oct 10, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Randal Grichuk (15) is congratulated by right fielder Stephen Piscotty (55) for hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning in game two of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Improving Rookies

Currently the Cardinals’ rotation stands to be Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, and Tim Cooney/Marco Gonzales. Currently Steamer gives the edge to Marco Gonzales, giving him credit for 22 starts as opposed to Tim Cooney making 11 starts.

The two of them combine for a 1.7 fWAR according to Steamer, which is woefully unimpressive and only brings the Cardinals to a 7.5 fWAR amongst three of the in house replacements for our two free agent departures and Lynn, according to Steamer projections.

This seems to be a fair and conservative assessment for the two players,. I could see one of them take hold of the rotation and earn 2-3 fWAR on their own. Putting us closer to the 12.7 fWAR number we are trying to get to.

However, the Cardinals will hopefully have a full season of Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. The two of them will likely improve and a full season will ultimately make them better. Steamer projects the two of them to be worth a total of 2.8 fWAR, which is largely based off of them normalizing the two of their BABIP rates.

That is a bit unfair, because when you go and look at another high BABIP NL rookie (Kris Bryant), they populate him still having an abnormally high BABIP and being worth 5.6 fWAR to the Cubs next season. While Piscotty and Grichuk are not at the level of talent of Kris Bryant, you can’t normalize BABIP for one player and not the other, it kind of ruins your point.

So, based on this I would expect a healthy full season Piscotty/Grichuk combo to probably combine for at least 5 fWAR for the Cardinals next season, if not more. Which puts us over the 12.7 fWAR of the missing pieces for next season. This is considering a healthy full season of Randal Grichuk, which at this moment is at least worth considering.

These are the known fixes to the Cardinals’ WAR problem. However, there are some “Wild Cards” that could play a key factor in getting the Cardinals above the hump next season. Let’s get into these.

Next: Wild Cards