Predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals 2022 season
By Ben Remis
J.T. Buchheit (@jbuc14)
MVP: Tyler O’Neill
I’m seeing fans and stats say O’Neill won’t be able to replicate his 2021 numbers. And while I don’t necessarily disagree, I still think he will be the Cardinals’ most impactful player. He really does it all: He hits, he runs and he plays stellar defense. He’s also in the prime years of his career. No disrespect to Paul Goldschmidt or Nolan Arenado — I’m sure they’ll be great — but we’ve probably seen the best they have to offer. O’Neill provides more tools and more excitement for the Cardinals these days.
Cy Young: Adam Wainwright
Can Wainwright’s looping curveball continue to baffle hitters? I’m hoping so, because with the injury to Jack Flaherty, the rest of the rotation doesn’t inspire too much confidence. Wainwright, like O’Neill, might have overperformed his peripherals last season, but there’s just no reason to doubt a guy who’s cracked the code on this game and had a career renaissance in his late 30s.
X-Factor: Paul DeJong
I considered putting him in my “bold prediction” column, and DeJong’s spring training so far is making my article that mentioned giving him another chance look pretty prescient right now. DeJong needs to have a bounce-back season. Edmundo Sosa is serviceable, but I have my doubts on his ability to continue to provide production in the same way he did last year. But if Sosa can prove me wrong, he and DeJong could push Tommy Edman into a utility role. If DeJong can provide solid power and strong defense, he will once again be a pillar for the Cardinals.
Two-sentence evaluation: This is a team focused on getting butts in seats with nostalgia, but in a weak NL Central and with expanded playoffs, the Cardinals have a chance. Anything can happen in the postseason, so the Cardinals will likely hope for the pixie dust to swirl in their favor this year.
Bold prediction: Fans will tire of Albert Pujols’ presence by midseason.
The Pujols reunion will be awesome…for maybe a week. When he proves himself to be a hindrance to the team’s chances of winning as Oliver Marmol is forced to keep penciling him in the lineup, the fans who cheered his signing will start to murmur their dissatisfaction.