St. Louis Cardinals: Cards’ rotation absent from MLB top-10

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CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Carlos Martinez
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Carlos Martinez /
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MLB.com released their top-10 rankings for starting rotations last week, but the St. Louis Cardinals did not make the cut.

MLB.com continued their march towards Opening Day by releasing another top-10 ranking for teams. Last week I commented on the top-10 rankings regarding the lineups. Today, I take a look at the top-10 rankings for starting rotations. To my surprise, and maybe yours, the St. Louis Cardinals did not make the cut.

The complete rankings is as follows:

  1. Houston Astros
  2. Cleveland Indians
  3. Chicago Cubs
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks
  6. Boston Red Sox
  7. New York Yankees
  8. Los Angeles Dodgers
  9. New York Mets
  10. Toronto Blue Jays

I don’t believe anyone would argue the top four teams, except for maybe the order of them. Personally, I would probably go with Houston, Chicago, Washington, and then Cleveland. However, I’m splitting hairs if I’m really that worried about that top four teams. But from five through ten, there are some serious question marks about why they are there and not the St. Louis Cardinals.

Before I go too much further, I do want to give Anthony Castrovince, author of the top-10 article, credit for at least recognizing the Cardinals towards then end. But I’m honestly just not sure how he could put teams like the Diamondbacks, Mets, and Blue Jays ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals.

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When I look at the projected rotations for each of those teams I listed, I’m just not convinced they have a better staff than the Cardinals.

Let’s take the Diamondbacks for example.

Yes, they had a great 2017 season. But Zach Greinke is showing some serious warnings that something is not right with him. Robbie Ray, while a strike out machine, has just as much consistency issues as Michael Wacha.

Taijuan Wailker, Zach Godley, and Patrick Corbin do not match up well against Luke Weaver, Miles Mikolas, and Jack Flaherty.

I’m not surprised to see the Mets on this list, but even Castrovince acknowledges himself health is the big factor here.

The Mets’ pitchers have had so many injuries it’s hard to tell who is right at any given time. It seems like Noah Syndergaard is the only pitcher in that rotation that can stay healthy. Outside of Thor and Jacob DeGrom, I’m just not convinced with Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Seth Lugo taking the Mets to the promise land. The play on potential here is too strong to ignore.

The Blue Jays are the real surprise for me on this ranking. I do like their experience all around. Veteran guys like Marcus Stroman, J.A. Haap, and Jamie Garcia could be crucial to their success. But Aaron Sanchez will have to regain his old form and avoid blister issue. Marco Estrada isn’t exactly a great pitcher either.

The more I look at those team, I still wonder how the Cardinals didn’t crack the top ten. The only thing it comes down to is just uncertainty. The St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation is riddled with consistency issues and other questions.

Related Story: Top-10 lineup rankings

While Carlos Martinez may be the ace of the staff, he has his own problems in the first couple of innings to overcome. I believe he will figure it out this season, but not going deeper into games is what is keeping the doubters around. Michael Wacha’s health is his uncertainty. Like the Mets’ pitchers, if Wacha is healthy there is no telling what he could do.

Three through five, like all the teams I listed before, all have question marks here. The Cardinals in particular have some critical ones though. All three pitchers slated to start three through five have never thrown more than 100 innings in the big leagues. They have never started a full season either. One of them hasn’t even pitched in the majors since 2015.

So what can you really say about Luke Weaver, Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty besides, “I just don’t know?”

Well truthfully, I think they are all poised to have great years. Spring training has given us glimpses of what all three pitchers are able to do when in the zone. Weaver had the lowest ERA among Cardinals pitchers this spring. Flaherty had the most strikeouts. While Mikolas spring was rocky, he made his presence felt in the last couple of weeks and will only get more comfortable as time goes on with Mike Maddux next to him.

I guess my point is if you are going to play the hype train with all the rotations, then at the very least the St. Louis Cardinals should be in the 6-10 range. Well, at least ahead of the Blue Jays.

Next: Ten bold predictions for 2018

I don’t think the Cardinals crack the top five rotations, but they belong in the top ten. Let me know if you think differently.

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