Which St. Louis Cardinals season could win the MLB Dream Bracket?
By Matt Benson
MLB has set up its second dream bracket, looking at 64 historic seasons in MLB history. The St. Louis Cardinals have two teams competing, the 1967 World Series-winning side and the 2004 105-win team. Which roster will go further?
MLB has already run a dream bracket this spring, with the St. Louis Cardinals falling at the quarter final stage to the Cincinnati Reds – get the lowdown on that series run here. But as a reminder, the games are being simulated on Out Of The Park baseball 2021.
In this bracket, each of the 30 MLB teams have their best two seasons, post World War II, in the bracket plus four bonus teams have been included. Namely the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawford, 1942 Kansas City Monarchs, 1931 Homestead Grays and the 1994 Montreal Expos.
Each series is played as a best of seven games with the first series’ coming to you on Twitch and MLB.com on May 21 and May 22. The bracket has been pre-defined and the two Cardinals teams that have been selected to play are the 1967 and 2004 sides. Check out the full bracket to see the possible matchups for the Redbirds:
Now which of the two Cardinals teams will go further in the tournament? Let’s take a look through each of the rosters and how they could fare in this bracket.
Firstly the 1967 side: with a pitching roster spearheaded by Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton, plus a strong batting lineup containing 1967 National League Most Valuable Player Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock, and Tim McCarver.
This team walked over the National League in 1967, winning 101 games and finishing 10.5 games ahead of their closest rival (the San Francisco Giants). They then faced the Boston Red Sox in the World Series who won the American League with 92 wins. After a tight series, the Cardinals came through for the eighth franchise ring by winning 4-3 behind an unbelievable series by World Series MVP Bob Gibson.
From a player’s perspective, obviously Bob Gibson was the standout performer of the World Series with his MVP after winning three games with a 1.00 ERA and pitching a complete game in each of those starts allowing only three runs through those 27 pitches!
Gibson though was marginally outshone in the regular season by Steve Carlton who had 0.1 fWAR more (4.4 fWAR), the same ERA (2.98) and one more win (14), which gives the St. Louis Cardinals a formidable one, two in the rotation to take down their opposition.
On the hitting front, the Cards had the National League regular season MVP in Orlando Cepeda on the roster who had a league-leading 6.8 fWAR which was driven by his league-high 111 RBI and above-average OPS (.923) and doubles (37).
Tim McCarver also chipped in with a 136 OPS+ and Lou Brock added a league-high 52 stolen bases and league-high 113 runs. Brock then also was the standout offensive performer of the World Series with his 1.107 OPS which was exceeded only by Carl Yastrzemski and his ridiculous 1.340 OPS.
Now looking at the 2004 side: the rotation was lead by Chris Carpenter and had Jason Isringhausen to close out teams, plus a starting lineup of prime Albert Pujols, and career-best years from Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen.
This team went 105-57 in 2004 which is the franchise second-highest win total behind only 1942 and the Cards had a .639 record against NL Central opponents. The Redbirds powered through the National League playoffs taking down the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. Unfortunately, they were surmounted by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series who seemed destined to take that ring.
Running through the players in this team, Chris Carpenter and Jason Marquis were the standout performers of the pitching rotation with sub-4.00 ERAs and this was Carpenters build-up season into his monstrous run of 2005 where he won the Cy Young award. Jason Isringhausen was the closer and had a career and league-high 47 saves in 2004 which helps solidify this St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff.
Looking then at the batting lineup, Albert Pujols had another classic Albert season slashing .331/.415/.657 in the year prior to his first MVP. He led the team in homers (46), doubles (51), and hits (196). Additionally Jim Edmonds had a career year where he came fifth in the MVP voting, adding a career-best 42 homers and had a career-high 1.061 OPS over the whole season.
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It’s never easy comparing two seasons as times change regularly in MLB. Different metrics are important at different periods but we have two top-notch teams to see through this dream bracket. With the 1967 side starting off against the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers and the 2004 team taking on the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, it’s not an easy start for either team.
The 1982 Brewers topped the American League with 95 wins and made it all the way to the World Series, but were topped by none other than the St. Louis Cardinals which has to favor the Gibson lead 1967 side in this matchup.
The 2008 Phillies team had a really strong lineup, winning the NL East and losing only 3 games in the postseason on their run to a World Series ring. A string pitching lineup of Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, and Brad Lidge really was the driving force of that Phillies team that will be looking to keep Pujols & Co. at bay.
Based on these initial matchups, I can’t see the Brewers holding back our 1967 side, but the 2004 Cards have a real battle on their hands. If both teams can make it through to the round of 32, the bracket again looks more favorable for the 1967 side with the 2004 Cards having to take on the ’95 Braves.’
Although not quite live baseball, the MLB Dream Bracket keeps the excitement coming with games live-streamed on Twitch and it’ll be interesting to see how these St. Louis Cardinals teams can get on!