2015 ended with the St. Louis Cardinals posting a 100-win season despite a lackluster offense. Should fans worry about the group in 2016?
We have reached the end of the road as the saying goes. After reviewing the entire 2015 team position-by-position, and after examining what looks to be very solid projections for 2016, I feel very confident that fans should not worry. But is that putting the proverbial horse before the cart? In order for me to feel completely confident in this statement, let us review in rapid succession the previous reviews.
A quick note: all projections are thanks to Steamer.
2015 first base review:
2016 projected first base:
According to my review, I feel that 2016 should be a much better year at first in part due to the projected better health of Matt Adams and Brandon Moss. Adding in appearances by Stephen Piscotty and first base should be solid (if, IF all players perform and stay healthy).
2015 second base review:
2016 projected second base:
As I stated in my first review, the projected stats at second base exceed and better the MLB projections for players appearing at second. This is great reason to celebrate. Appearances by Kolton Wong, Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyorko, and Greg Garcia should spell an outstanding season at second. Will Carpenter appear at second? Very likely not in my opinion.
2015 short stop review:
2016 projected short stop:
Anyone else noticing the downgrade in offensive expectation projected for 2016? Is this a continuation of increased pitching abilities or the degradation of offensive overall?
Regarding the 2016 Cardinals, Jhonny Peralta and Greg Garcia are projected to post just above-average numbers but posting these numbers at the lower end of the lineup could be a positive recipe. And, as I notedin my first short stop post in this series, should Aledmys Diaz (1) make the team from spring, and/or (2) make his debut this season with outstanding numbers, these basically-average numbers could become much, much better.
2015 third base review:
2016 projected third base:
These numbers are for Matt Carpenter only, (as I noted in my offensive review of third base) but can we take a minute to bask in these numbers? Who wouldn’t take a player who will post a .269/.362/.426 all while posting a 3.7 WAR? I, on the other hand, feel these numbers are low for what Carpenter will post in 2016.
2015 catcher review:
2016 projected catcher:
The offensive number decrease continues again… Having said that, though, the projected numbers for Yadier Molina and Brayan Pena exceed the projected MLB average for players appearing at catcher in 2016 and what a wonderful bout of words those are! Pena replacing Tony Cruz might well be the acquisition of the offseason. Mark those words.
2015 left field review:
2016 projected left field:
Outside of health concerns, the 2016 left fielders- Matt Holliday, Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty (according to Steamer)- are projected to exceed the MLB average in all fields that matter to offense including eclipsing the average home runs by nearly 5 additional dingers. This will be welcome to a team that searched and searched for power in 2015.
2015 center field review:
2016 projected center field:
Like left field before, the 2016 center fielders- Pham and Grichuk– are projected to exceed offensive numbers. Like left field before, this additional power will be very welcomed in 2016. Like left field before, it should be noted that Grichuk and Pham are denoted as appearing at both positions. This might well be very likely as I predict that the 2016 outfield will be a rotating roster.
2015 right field review:
2016 projected right field:
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A massive point of discussion necessary here is the fact that the 2015 stats above are for Jason Heyward only. As I noted in my first write-up of this, I find this offensive as we know that Grichuk and Piscotty (and Moss- barely) appeared in right field in 2015. Noting that, however, the players who remain in 2016 are projected to exceed the numbers of Heyward. And, to be noted, the players who remain are young, Mr. Heyward.
Examining a team individually in a vacuum of that team only can easily make a person see the flaws and projected successes of the said team. That is precisely what I have learned and experienced from this journey. This examination has lead me to believe that the 2016 Cardinals project to exceed the numbers posted in 2015, exceed the MLB average, and should produce at a high level. All that is left to question is whether this “well enough” will be good enough to breach the postseason once again.
Having now reached the end of this journey, I feel confident in the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals. We have all heard how wonderful the Cubs will be this season and that might well be true but that- in itself- does not reflect negatively upon the Cardinals. Examining the Cardinals singularly, then, has shown that projections indicate a strong team and one that should be a blast to watch this season.
Follow me on Twitter and let’s have fun discussing the 2016 Cardinals. Oh, and one more thing, spring training games begin in earnest on Thursday for the Cardinals (sort of tomorrow with the exhibition game against Florida Atlantic University)! Go Cardinals!!