Predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals 2022 season
By Ben Remis
Andy Heckroth (@AHeckroth16)
MVP: Nolan Arenado
Now that Arenado got a full season under his belt in St. Louis (and hitting in Busch Stadium III), I expect his numbers to improve from 2021, especially at home. Even by his own admission, he wants to get better at reaching base and slugging percentage. This bodes well with how the Cardinals’ players re-committed to Jeff Albert’s analytical approach and emphasis on hard-hit contact.
Cy Young: Adam Wainwright
Jack Flaherty would occupy this spot, but we don’t know for sure when he will be back. Until then, Wainwright takes this spot. At age 39, Wainwright went 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA and had his most strikeouts since 2014. It’s understandable why the analytics and data don’t see a repeat performance, but I bet the baseball analysts haven’t faced an Uncle Charlie curveball before.
X-Factor: Albert Pujols I never in a million years thought Albert Pujols would be “an X factor” for the Cardinals, but here we are in 2022. Placing Pujols at the DH role is asking a lot for him given his age and past production in his last few years with the Angels. Pujols’ Spring Training performance has been encouraging though, and if he can get going, this won’t be just a “nostalgia” signing.
Two Sentence Team Evaluation: At best, this is a team that can get hot and compete with the Dodgers and Braves for the NL pennant. At worst, the rotation falters, the offense goes back to June 2021, and they finish with 80-83 wins.
Bold Prediction: A very specific postseason scenario
The Cardinals win the NL Central and force a Game 7 at Dodger Stadium in the NLCS. Oliver Marmol wins NL Manager of the Year.