PECOTA has stunning projection for St. Louis Cardinals in 2022: under .500 record and missing the playoffs altogether. Yikes.
By all accounts, the St. Louis Cardinals are a playoff team that has World Series upside if everything goes right. Nolan Arenado, Tyler O’Neill and Paul Goldschmidt are a dynamic trio in the lineup. Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty (if healthy) and Steven Matz are a strong trio in the rotation. And the team is higher on the bullpen than most outside observers.
Yet, PECOTA projects the Cardinals to miss the playoffs … and to finish the season with a losing record (80-82).
I’m not one to get too worked up over projections. After all, that’s all they are: projections. They mean nothing. But if the Cardinals finish the season under .500, something has gone horribly wrong, and would put president of baseball operations John Mozeliak’s job in serious jeopardy. Oli Marmol would be safe as manager, considering this is his first season. But he would enter his second season on the hot seat.
Elsewhere in the division, they have the Milwaukee Brewers as the significant favorite to win the National League Central (87.7 percent chance). They project the Cincinnati Reds to win 78(!) games, which, well, wow. These projections are as of March 10, which is 17 days, and it’s not accounting for the Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez trades. But the Reds are not winning 78 games.
The NL Central will come down to the Cardinals and Brewers. Yes, the Brewers enter the season as the favorite to once again win the division, but if the Cardinals stay healthy (big if) they have a very real chance to overtake them.
Whether they have enough to overtake the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants is another story. For now, we focus on the NL Central, and it appears the Cardinals are being slept on a couple weeks before the regular season.