Predicting the St. Louis Cardinals playoff roster

It’s almost time for the St. Louis Cardinals to begin their series against the San Diego Padres. Which players are going to be on the active roster?

There have been a lot of players who logged innings and at-bats for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. The cumulative effort combined to nab the Cardinals the 5th seed going into the 2020 playoffs.

When the playoffs begin on Wednesday, only 28 of them will be in San Diego to take on the Padres for the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Which Cardinals are going to take the field against the Padres?

STARTING NINE

Kolten Wong

Tommy Edman

Paul Goldschmidt

Dylan Carlson

Yadier Molina

Paul DeJong

Matt Carpenter

Dexter Fowler

Harrison Bader

This is most likely the starting lineup for game one on Wednesday. If the Cardinals win, it’s because these nine players get on base consistently. I’m excited to see what the outfield brings to the table– they’ve been doubted all season, and now is the perfect chance to prove everyone wrong.

STARTING PITCHERS

Kwang-Hyun Kim

Adam Wainwright

Jack Flaherty

All season the Cardinals have depended on the starting pitching to go deep into games and limit opposing offenses. The Cardinals are counting on these three to anchor the playoff run. With KK’s incredible year so far, Wainwright’s postseason experience, and Flaherty’s ace potential, this has to be one of the best trios in the National League.

They will be thrown in this order for the first series, as announced by Mike Shildt.

BENCH BATS

Brad Miller

Tyler O’Neill

Matt Wieters

Wieters probably won’t get much playing time, but you need a backup catcher. Miller will get a few important looks as a left-handed pinch hitter and will be in the lineup immediately if Carpenter or others struggle to get on base. O’Neill is the X-factor; he can provide a lot of power and great defense, but he has also struggled to find any consistency. Look for O’Neill to be a late-game replacement that comes up in some big moments.

RELIEVERS

Andrew Miller

Alex Reyes

Genesis Cabrera

Ryan Helsley

Tyler Webb

Giovanny Gallegos

Austin Gomber

Daniel Ponce de Leon

Miller and Helsley will pitch the biggest innings. Reyes and Cabrera will continue to piggyback each other and dominate close games. Gallegos will be the first one out of the pen to lock down the 6th and maybe 7th. Our favorite player Tyler Webb will confused every national broadcaster when he proves how good he is. Gomber and Ponce will be called upon if a starter gets in trouble. No one jumps out when you evaluate the Cardinal bullpen, but I wouldn’t want to face any of them.

The Cardinals will be without one of their best relievers, John Gant, for at least this first series after he was placed on the 10-day IL on September 25 with a groin injury.

FIVE REMAINING SPOTS

Rangel Ravelo

Austin Dean

Lane Thomas

Seth Elledge

Kodi Whitley

Ravelo will provide some right-handed power and pop. Dean and Thomas give you speed off the bench in a pinch-runner scenario. Elledge and Whitley are wildcards here– if the starters are good then they probably won’t be needed too often.

The next two guys up are Andrew Knizner and John Gant. Knizner could make the roster if the Cardinals want to carry a third catcher, but Wieters hasn’t been good enough at the plate that I think this is necessary. If/when Gant is healthy, he will be another weapon out of the pen instead of Elledge or Whitley. I don’t think he’ll be back until later in the month, however, so he probably gets left off the roster for this series.

Next: MLB’s expanded Playoff experiment works this year, but not beyond

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No surprises here– it’s the same team we saw all season. The Cardinals aren’t too flashy, but they boast an experienced, well-rounded group that knows how to win close games.