The Cardinals have done some stuff to try and bolster their rotation for 2017. The Cubs on the other hand, have not done all that much, as they are pretty set in stone with their current guys. Who has the overall pitching advantage?
The St. Louis Cardinals rotation will be similar to last season’s, except they will have Lance Lynn back and Jaime Garcia will be in Atlanta. The Cardinals ace is Carlos Martinez, while the Cubs have three guys who are capable of being aces, but the best would have to be Jake Arrieta, who has been consistent in the last two seasons.
Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said that they will likely add Mike Montgomery to the rotation, to join forces with Arrieta, Lester, Hendricks, and Lackey. They also just signed Brett Anderson, another starter, so him and Montgomery will battle for the 5th spot.
This changes from last season, as they had Hammel in the rotation for an extended period of time. The Cubs rotation in 2016 had 3 pitchers with WARs (Wins Above Replacement) over 4.0, those of course being Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, and Kyle Hendricks.
For St. Louis as a whole, they appear to have their 5 most likely guys, barring injury, to be set in stone. They appear to be Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Mike Leake, and Michael Wacha. The thing for St. Louis is that they no longer have a lefty in the rotation, which could hurt at some points, while the Cubs have an elite lefty in Lester.
Statistically speaking, in 2016, the Cubs had three elite starters, two of which finished in top 3 for Cy Young. Hendricks had a breakout year for the Cubs, winning 16 games with an ERA of 2.13. Arrieta won 18 for them and Lester won 19. Three of their best totaled 53 wins which is slightly more than half of the team’s total wins (103). Pitching was a huge part of the Cubs success.
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On the Cardinals side when it comes to stats, they struggled overall as a rotation in comparison to their 2015 season, where they had a team ERA under 3.00. All starters other than Carlos Martinez (3.04 ERA) had an ERA of 4.60 or higher. Some say the pitching is what ultimately killed the club last season.
Looking forward to 2017, the Cubs will most likely have one of the best rotations in the league again. I truly think that the Cardinals could bounce back with their rotation and challenge the Cubs. Having Lance Lynn back could help a lot for them. Overall, each of these rotations will have 1 new guy to add to 4 of their pitchers who were there last season.
This is much closer than I would have thought while watching Cardinal baseball last year. I expect Waino and Lynn to have bounce back years. Lynn because of his injury, and Waino because he is Waino. So if you take the bullpen out of the equation, the advantage goes to…..
The Cubs, but Cardinal fans, it is closer than you may expect. Martinez won’t have to completely carry the rotation in 2017, he will have help around him. I also don’t expect Hendricks and Lester to do as well as they did in 2016. Baseball season is right around the corner, folks!