Redbird Rants 2021 St. Louis Cardinals Predictions

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 22: Yadier Molina #4 and Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals walk from the bullpen to the home dugout prior to the start of the game against the San Francisco Giants on September 22, 2018 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Taka Yanagimoto/St. Louis Cardinals/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 22: Yadier Molina #4 and Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals walk from the bullpen to the home dugout prior to the start of the game against the San Francisco Giants on September 22, 2018 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Taka Yanagimoto/St. Louis Cardinals/Getty Images) /

The Redbird Rants staff is expecting big things out of the St. Louis Cardinals this season– here are our expectations for the 2021 season.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ season begins today! Jack Flaherty is set to take the mound at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Once Luis Castillo delivers the first pitch to leadoff man Tommy Edman, the division race will be on.

Opening Day is my favorite day of the year, so I hope everyone out there is able to take some time to enjoy a little baseball.

With all that being said, it wouldn’t be Opening Day without a few predictions for the season to come. The Redbird Rants staff is expecting big things out of the Cardinals this season– here’s our expectations (and bold predictions) for the 2021 season.

Ben Remis (@BenRemis on Twitter)

MVP: Nolan Arenado

It’s an obvious choice, but I can’t pick against a superstar this passionate about making it to the postseason.

Cy Young: Jordan Hicks

I’ve said before how exciting it is to have Hicks back on the mound, but I think it is worth saying again. With respect to Jack Flaherty, the bullpen is the Cardinals’ biggest strength. It’s only right for our most talented reliever to lead the way.

X-Factor: Paul DeJong

You could pick any outfielder at this spot, but I’m leaning towards the forgotten star of the infield. A three-headed monster is a lot more dangerous than two, which is why consistent production from DeJong would go a long way towards establishing the Cardinals as contenders.

Bold Prediction: Eight Gold Gloves

Arenado, Yadi, Goldschmidt, O’Neill, and Bader will have to stay healthy, but all five are premier defensive talents. Their ability and range will only make it easier on Paul DeJong to win some hardware with his glove at shortstop. And that just leaves Tommy Edman, one of the starting pitchers, and Dylan Carlson to win two more– maybe this wasn’t as bold of a prediction as I originally thought.

Taylor Streiff (@jtstreiff)

MVP: Paul Goldschmidt

Goldy was the 2020 Cardinals MVP, and with Arenado behind him in the lineup as protection, we should see Goldy’s numbers return to normalcy. Not knocking Arenado by any means, but this is still Goldy’s time to shine.

Cy Young: Alex Reyes

Reyes seems to have returned to form after battling numerous injuries throughout the beginning of his young career. Reyes will primarily be used out of the bullpen with his 100 innings cap, but he’ll undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with whenever he’s called upon. He’s the bullpen’s Swiss Army knife, and we should expect Mike Shildt to use him in many different situations.

X-Factor: Dylan Carlson

Cardinals fans around the country will be looking for him to break out and live up to his lofty potential. If Carlson’s plate discipline and pitch selection continue to improve, he could be a 20 homer guy, and that is something that will be very welcome in the middle of a lineup that’s been incredibly anemic for far too long.

Bold Prediction: Four Cardinals will have 30+ homers

We all know Goldy and Arenado have 30 homer potential, as they’ve both hit the mark multiple times in their careers. Shortstop Paul DeJong hit 30 in 2019, and Tyler O’Neill has that power potential as well. If both players can stay healthy and consistently stay in the lineup on a day to day basis, they could easily hit the 30 homer mark.

St. Louis Cardinals
JUPITER, FL – MARCH 07: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals is congratulated after scoring on a double by Matt Wieters #32 during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astro sat Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 7, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 5-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

J.T. Buchheit (@jbuc4)

MVP: Paul Goldschmidt

I love Arenado, but I think he’s going to have to adjust to St. Louis the way Goldschmidt did in 2019. Goldschmidt has had two years here and showed he can still be an excellent player. He might not crack 30 home runs again, but he should still be a dominant thumper.

Cy Young: Adam Wainwright

It looked like he was out of gas a couple years ago, but Wainwright has reinvented himself. As long as that curveball continues to loop, Wainwright will keep getting hitters out. Flaherty is great, but I’m a little more nervous about how consistent he can be. I think Wainwright will also be motivated to go out on top if this is the last season for him and Yadier Molina.

X-Factor: Tyler O’Neill

Can O’Neill carry his torrid spring into the regular season? If he can, he’s going to be a huge difference-maker with that power, speed and defense he possesses. It appeared that he made some real changes during Spring Training, and the Cardinals could go far if those gains stay intact.

Bold Prediction: John Nogowski will remain on the roster the entire season

As I mentioned in an article, Nogowski is a truly unique player, and the Cardinals would do well to have Nogowski contribute off the bench. He’s been around a while and deserves his chance, and I think the Cardinals will be happy with the results he gives and keep him on the roster.

Dan Campbell (@d_raycam)

MVP: Nolan Arenado

He better be the right answer. If he’s not the right answer, this club is in trouble. Goldy may be a popular alternative vote here, but he has not put up the earth shattering numbers that Arenado is capable offensively. For this to happen, you need another forty homerun campaign from Arenado. I believe he will hit forty homeruns (with a majority of those coming on the road) and be the first St. Louis Cardinal to exceed 100 RBIs since Matt Holliday in 2012.

Cy Young: Adam Wainwright

Wainwright was the best starter the Cardinals had last season and he looked great in spring training. Wainwright looks as good as he has, physically, since 2014. He will be an innings eater and team leader – expect him to go seven innings and get the win in the home opener as well. The easy pick is Jack Flaherty, but the cagey veteran ticks all of the boxes this season.

X-Factor: Tyler O’Neill

O’Neill has incredible upside. In fact, prognosticators on this site have explained exactly why he is trending for a breakout. I think that is a dubious claim unless he can make more consistent contact and get his launch angle groove going. That said, if he taps into his prodigious power and puts it all together, the middle of this lineup looks terrifying.

Bold Prediction: Tommy Edman leads the team in WAR

The combination of positional flexibility, hard contact skills, decent on base percentage, great baserunning and surprising slug makes Tommy Edman the Ben Zobrist of this team. He can and should have a great year. Moreover, his WAR should be boosted by playing second base, third base, and center at above-average levels. Expect Tommy to see a lot of fastballs at the top of the lineup hitting in front of Goldschmidt and Arenado. He is a dark horse candidate for team leader in WAR.

Brett Ramsey (@brttrmsy)

MVP: Nolan Arenado

Baseball fans know how good this guy is and in his first season with the Cardinals I expect a huge season from him. He’s the complete package at third base. His impact will be dramatic and he will be a boost to the team in so many ways.

Cy Young: Jack Flaherty

While his 2020 season was not the follow up to his remarkable second half of 2019 that some might have wanted, he’s still the best pitcher on the staff. The Cardinals rotation is being held together with duct tape right now until Kim and Mikolas return from injuries, so if the team is going to be a contender they will need Flaherty to eat innings and be the ace. I think he meets that challenge and has a huge season.

X-Factor: Jack Flaherty

Yeah, him again. If the Cardinals are going to make the playoffs Flaherty will be a big reason why. With Arenado and Goldschmidt, the offense has two anchors. The starting rotation needs Flaherty to be the ace that he’s shown he can be. I think the season goes as Jack Flaherty goes. If he pitches like a top of the rotation starter, the Cardinals could sleepwalk through the NL Central. If he struggles…

Bold Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals No-Hitter

Someone on the team throws a no hitter in 2021. The team has had some pitchers get close recently, but this is the season it happens. Maybe Adam Wainwright? Add one more thing to his already impressive resume.

St. Louis Cardinals
Feb 25, 2021; St. Louis Cardinals pitchers stretch during spring training workouts at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports /

Miranda Remaklus (@missmiranda)

MVP: Yadier Molina

I believe Molina’s leadership on the field and in the clubhouse will be very important this season. The place where he will be most valued will be, as always, with the pitching staff. The season is starting kind of questionably with the staff. Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright lead the staff. Molina knows them and they will be solid. Carlos Martinez is one that Molina knows but he also knows that in the past he has to be on him to concentrate.

Will concentration remain an issue for Martinez? John Gant is good but what can we expect from him as a starter? And you have Daniel Ponce de Leon starting probably until Miles Mikolas or Kwang Hyun Kim are back. Molina will be charged with working with the staff and making sure things go smoothly. Yadier Molina’s impact is always huge. This year is no different.

Cy Young: Jack Flaherty

I feel Flaherty will focus in and make a huge impact this season. I think by mid season we will see him log more innings and become masterful every fifth day. While Flaherty is passionate about many things, I think those who worry about him being too distracted will be forced to quiet down. I expect the Captain Jack we are all so hopeful to see.

X-Factor: Tommy Edman

He has big shoes to fill this season as he takes over second base duties from two-time Gold Glover Kolten Wong. If he can make that transition seamless and exceed expectations, he will become an important piece to this 2021 team. I also hope to see him continue being the clutch hitter and base runner we’ve come to expect. If he can exceed those expectations and keep Matt Carpenter from stealing the position, it will be huge for the Cardinals.

Bold Prediction: Matthew Liberatore arrives in July and never leaves

Listen, I know Nolan Arenado is going to exceed our already high expectations of him this summer. He will be amazing, hit a ton of homers, be clutch when needed and make spectacular plays at third. There is nothing bold here. But Matthew Liberatore. I can’t wait to see all the stuff Liberatore and Waino have been working on together, and I think we see that this summer!

Matt Benson (@STLAnalyticsUK)

MVP: Jack Flaherty

With so many questions around the Cards rotation going into 2021 following the plethora of injuries, if Jack Flaherty can nail down that front of the rotation role and rekindle his end of 2019 form then not only will he lead the Cards to the postseason, but could well be the teams most valuable player!

Cy Young: Alex Reyes

I absolutely see Flaherty leading the rotation with a Cy Young performance, but the standout performer of the bullpen for me has to be Alex Reyes! He stood out last year in his full return, pitching in 15 games (his most ever in a season) with a 134 ERA+ and I could see Reyes anchoring the bullpen!

X-Factor: Yadier Molina

In what could well be Yadi’s final season with the Cards and with a number of younger pitchers potentially needing to help with innings in what could be a challenging season for pitchers – Yadi would be the number one guy on almost any team to ease young pitching in. Plus offensively he’ll be gunning for 1,000 RBI, a tenth ASG appearance & a tenth Gold Glove – so all to play for offensively!

Bold Prediction: The Cards & Cubs make a surprise trade

If the Cards are in contention come trade deadline they’ll be looking to add. Whereas the Cubs could go into full rebuild if they’re struggling in 3rd / 4th in the Central. This will lead to a big trade of the Cards getting the outfield bat they’re still needing and trading for Chicago Cubs outfielder, Ian Happ who has a career 1.196 OPS.

JUPITER, FLORIDA – MARCH 02: Paul Goldschmidt #46 and Nolan Arenado #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals wait for their hat and gloves in between the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 02, 2021 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA – MARCH 02: Paul Goldschmidt #46 and Nolan Arenado #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals wait for their hat and gloves in between the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 02, 2021 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Russ Robinson (@frrobinson1957)

MVP: Nolan Arenado

If Nolan Arenado just comes close to being Nolan Arenado in 2021, then it has to be him. He should make the whole lineup better, by taking some of the pressure off players like Paul DeJong, Tyler O’Neill, and Dylan Carlson The Cardinals haven’t had a tag team like Goldschmidt/Arenado in the lineup since the heady days of the MV3.

Cy Young: Jack Flaherty

It has to be Jack Flaherty. No one else in the rotation is really in the running. Adam Wainwright is steady and reliable, but his Cy Young Days are behind him. Carlos Martinez is certainly capable. But all we hope from him in 2021 is an ERA around 3.50 and double digits in wins. After CMart, there is really no one else. Flaherty’s last half of 2019 shows he can realistically do it, and 2020 wasn’t a long enough season to give anyone a reason to dismiss him as a candidate.

X-Factor: The Young Outfield

I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to say, ‘the Cardinals will only go as far as the young outfield will take them;’ Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson, Austin Dean, Justin Williams, and Harrison Bader will have to find a way to significantly improve from one of the worst offensive outfields in baseball. If MIke Shildt can find a productive combo with this group, the Cardinals could become a NL Pennant contender. If not, winning the division will be the ceiling for this team.

Bold Prediction: Paul DeJong Silver Slugger Award

As long as we are talking bold predictions, Paul DeJong could be a contender for the Silver Slugger Award. Why? With DeJong batting behind the Goldschmidt/Arenado combo, should give him better looks at the plate. If he can get his batting average close to .300 and his OPS around .900, the Silver Slugger Award will be in his sight.

Next. Why I predicted the Cardinals to finish second in the NL Central. dark

And there you have it! Lots of different storylines to follow this season. A division battle, a new superstar, and the return of fans at Busch Stadium. How will the pitching staff hold up? Who is going to step up and be the third big bat in the lineup? Will the Redbirds return to October? Get ready everyone, here comes another year of Cardinal baseball!