With the updated season schedule out, Baseball Prospectus released their updated 2020 PECOTA projections.
We are now less than three weeks away from the beginning of the St. Louis Cardinals 2020 regular season beginning. The path to baseball won’t be an easy one, but we are now nearing a week of practices finishing and it hasn’t been derailed yet, so at least that’s something.
Every spring, all the publications in the world release their projections for how the MLB will go that year. Normally, they are wrong by at least some margin, but it’s always a signal that baseball is right around the corner.
This spring, one of those projections, PECOTA, continued its long-standing tradition of disliking the Cardinals’ chances in the NL Central. Before the word was turned upside down, PECOTA projected the Cards to go just 80-82, finishing third in the NL Central behind the Reds and Cubs.
At that time, I disagreed big time with the notion that the Reds could win the NL Central with just 86 wins. I also was very surprised to see them projecting the Cardinals to go below .500 for the first time since 2007 and just the second time since the turn of the century.
Now though, PECOTA is looking at a whole new set of variables for the 2020 season. With the DH coming to the National League and there being just 60 games, PECOTA has changed its tune ever-so-slightly when it comes to the hometown favorites.
According to PECOTA, the Cardinals are projected to win between 30 and 31 wins (30.7 which would be above .500), still finishing third in the NL Central behind the Reds and the Cubs. For those wondering, the Reds are projected to win the division at 32.8 wins, which is more or less the number I came to when trying to guess how many wins it would take to win the division.
In these projections, the Nationals and Dodgers would win the other two divisions and the Wild Card game would be between the Mets and the Cubs.
While I don’t personally believe the Cardinals will finish the 60-game schedule with just a .500 record, I really have no clue what this year may hold. The Cardinals won’t win more than the 39 wins the Dodgers are projected but hitting anywhere between the 25-35 win mark is a possibility to me.
I’d guess that the ability to have the DH helped PECOTA’s view of the Cardinals to a certain extent. It isn’t really all that surprising either. With the DH on the team, the offense will improve. It’s as simple as that. For the Cardinals, an offensive improvement and a repeat from their pitching staff make them very dangerous.
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The homer in me wants to yell that this projection is idiotic and the Cardinals will have no trouble beating 30-31 wins, but I could see them being a middling team over just 60 games. I could also see them getting hot or being cold. That’s the crazy thing about what this 2020 season will entail. Nobody knows who’s going to get hot and stun everyone.