St. Louis Cardinals: Predicting the 26-man roster two months out

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 5: The Budweiser clydesdales make their way around Busch Stadium prior to the St. Louis Cardinals home opening game against the San Diego Padres on April 5, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 5: The Budweiser clydesdales make their way around Busch Stadium prior to the St. Louis Cardinals home opening game against the San Diego Padres on April 5, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 11: Dakota Hudson #43 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 11, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Cardinals 2-1. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 11: Dakota Hudson #43 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 11, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Cardinals 2-1. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Starters

Barring any injuries, the starting rotation has the chance to be top-five in the league once again in 2020. Led by the 24-year-old Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson will look to improve on their consistency. Adam Wainwright is looking to show he can still pitch at age 38 and then the biggest wild card of all is Carlos Martinez.

If Martinez is healthy and strong, he can join Flaherty at the top of the rotation and be a 1B to Flaherty’s ace status. If he can’t stay healthy, another disappointing year could spell trouble for his longterm future with the club. Again, if healthy, this is a great five. If hurt, the rotation could be a weak point in 2020.

Bullpen

The bullpen is the place where the Cardinals have so many arms that some players are going to have to be disappointed when they break camp. With Jordan Hicks still injured, the Cardinals are going to have to figure out who is going to close between Giovanny Gallegos, John Gant, and Andrew Miller. Behind those three, newly acquired Kwang-Hyun Kim will be fun to see translate his skills to the MLB.

John Brebbia and his lion’s mane will be back as well. With these five names being more or less locks, that leaves a lot of names for only three more spots. Ryan Helsley has proven that he needs to be in the MLB and I think he will earn one of those spots. Alex Reyes is returning from injury and it may be time he finally produces regularly in the MLB. Tyler Webb was a very underrated arm last year who got much-undeserved hate.

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Daniel Ponce de Leon is 28 and should be in the MLB. Brett Cecil is returning from an injured year and could either make the team or be a guy to be cut. That list leaves out Austin Gomber, Genesis Cabrera, and Junior Fernandez as well who have all spent time in the MLB.

Of all those names, I would expect Webb, Reyes, and Helsley to get the final three spots although I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cecil take the spot of one of those guys.

So there it is. 13 position players, 13 pitchers, a lot of question marks and a lot of potential. Any further trades or signings could change this list too. This isn’t necessarily the roster I would choose, but based off of how the Cardinals have started the year for the past decade, this is my best guess for what the team will look like.

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Barring any number of combinations of injuries, all of these players could be switched in or out, but for now, I believe that the Cardinals will take a roster very similar to this into Great American Ballpark on Opening Day.