Closer — Trevor Rosenthal: This is a pretty straightforward choice for the St. Louis Cardinals and Mike Matheny: Trevor Rosenthal will be the closer. After two straight seasons of 45 or more saves, a deadly arsenal of pitches, and an ever improving walk rate, there’s no doubt that he and the ninth inning will be good friends in 2016. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Set-Up — Seung-Hwan Oh: For the rest of the bullpen, I’m leaving out set roles (some things are just too hard to predict), but I figured I had to take a hack at the set-up man. It’s true that Siegrist handled this role well last year, and Jordan Walden may be healthy enough to take it back as well, but I’m betting on The Final Boss. I just have a good feeling about Seung-Hwan Oh, and while I don’t think he will be as elite as he was in South Korea and Japan, I think he will acquit himself well and nail down the 8th inning for the Cards.
Jordan Walden: After pitching just over ten innings last year, Jordan Walden has kind of been forgotten by a fair number of fans and analysts, but I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. Still just 28, Walden has been a very solid reliever in his career, and at times has looked like he might be even better than that. While I don’t think he’ll be able to take the set-up role in 2016, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lock down the seventh, or perhaps even occasionally close a game if Rosenthal needs some rest. I’m looking for a big comeback from our favorite hopping pitcher.
Kevin Siegrist: As I said above, Kevin Siegrist may wind up being the set-up man, but I think that his high walk rate will lead to some regression and we’ll see a slightly less impressive pitcher in 2016. I might have pegged him for a spot as a left handed specialist, but he sports strong reverse splits (2.68 FIP against righties and a 3.85 FIP against lefties in his career, and it was even more disparate last year), so I imagine that he will be used as just another bullpen arm to fill in when the others need rest or when the bullpen needs to cover four innings.
Seth Maness: After a fairly rough season last year, much of Seth Maness‘ shine has worn off, but he’s still a perfectly serviceable arm if used correctly. While he doesn’t have a phenomenal strikeout rate, a consistent ground ball rate helps him keep his ERA down and serves the team well in the right situations. If he’s going to be anything more than a mediocre bullpen piece, however, he’ll need to keep the home runs down.
Jonathan Broxton: After being signed to a $7.5 million dollar contract this off-season, I imagine that Jonathan Broxton will get a fair amount of work. Is that a good thing? Debatable. Ultimately, I think his 4.62 ERA in 2015 was misleading and wouldn’t be surprised to see it drop into the mid-to-low threes across a solid full season. There’s still a cromulent pitcher in there somewhere, and it would be great to see him show up for the Cardinals in 2016.
Matt Bowman: As a Rule 5 draft pick, Matt Bowman has to stay on the 25-man roster for the entire season in order for the Cardinals to keep him. Will that happen? I’d bet not, as long as St. Louis is competitive. Does that mean they’ll give up before they’ve even started? Not a chance. So the final edition to the 25-man roster will be the Rule 5 draft pick Bowman. What can we expect from him? Hopefully a decent swing-man or spot starter, but don’t be too surprised if he doesn’t pitch often and doesn’t impress much when he does.
Well, there we have it! All 25 roster spots predicted. What do you think? Where did I jump the tracks? Let me know in the comments below!