PECOTA projects St. Louis Cardinals to miss playoffs in 2022

Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after making an out against the Cleveland Indians during the fifth inning at Progressive Field on July 28, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after making an out against the Cleveland Indians during the fifth inning at Progressive Field on July 28, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA standings were recently released. Once again, they are down on your St. Louis Cardinals.

Analytics and projections are supposed to be neutral, but the last couple years of PECOTA projections have not been kind to the St. Louis Cardinals. In his recent post on Scoops with Danny Mac, Bernie Miklasz showed the rounded NL Central projections. They are, shall we say, interesting:

Milwaukee, 97-65

Cincinnati, 81-81

St. Louis, 77-85

Pittsburgh, 70-92

Chicago, 68-94

That’s right, PECOTA has the Cardinals finishing under .500 for the first time since 2007.

PECOTA doesn’t like the Cardinals offense and specifically mentions the projected contributions of Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong. Using the metric Deserved Runs Created Plus (DRC+), Molina is projected to hit 18% below league average at 82 DRC+ and DeJong will hit 9% worse than league average at 91 DRC+.

This is a fair criticism, especially given how the Cardinals finished 15th overall in wRC+ and 19th in on-base percentage. That said, we saw what this offense was capable of last year, especially during the seventeen-game win streak and how outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader improved at the plate.

With new manager Oliver Marmol more receptive to analytics and data than his predecessor, it’s fair game to say we might see improvement from Jeff Albert’s much-maligned offense.

According to Miklasz, PECOTA has the Cardinals’ pitching staff giving up more than 100 runs than they did during the 2021 season, and Adam Wainwright, at age 40, will be a league-average pitcher.

However, Jack Flaherty is coming back from injury, and the Cardinals signed Steven Matz to bolster the rotation. Alex Reyes is rumored to be interested in starting, and that would be a huge plus if Reyes can improve on command and control.

Next. Assigning ‘Simpsons’ characters to 12 St. Louis Cardinals. dark

My advise to Cardinals fans: Don’t worry about what PECOTA says. As my colleague Matt Graves pointed out, St. Louis has outperformed the last few years of the PECOTA projections. With the new additions (and perhaps more activity when the lockout ends), the Cardinals will be in good shape to take back the NL Central title in 2022.

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