10 bold predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2024

As we turn the page on 2023, I made 10 bold predictions for the Cardinals organization in 2024.

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Prediction #7 - Sonny Gray has the best individual Cardinals' pitching season since Jack Flaherty in 2019

There seems to be a gap between how Cardinals fans feel about Sonny Gray and his actual performance throughout his career. Gray just finished second in American League Cy Young voting in 2023 and was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Some like to say this was a one-off performance, but Gray has finished top-10 in Cy Young voting two other times in his career, and six of his eleven big league seasons have had a sub-3.10 ERA.

Do I agree the Cardinals need another guy to pair with him at the top of the rotation? Yes. Is there concern that he may start regressing here soon due to his age? Somewhat. But overall, Gray is someone fans can truly rely on at the front of the rotation and can easily pitch Game 1 or Game 2 in a postseason series.

I'm going to be bold and say that Gray puts up another incredible season this year, posting the best individual season for the Cardinals since Jack Flaherty in 2019. Remember how good Flaherty was that year? Let's take a moment to compare Gray's 2023 numbers to Flaherty's and the other two best Cardinals pitching seasons since that performance.

Pitcher

ERA-

ERA

FIP

K%

IP

Sonny Gray (2023)

66

2.79

2.83

24.3

184.0

Jack Flaherty (2019)

66

2.75

3.46

29.9

196.1

Adam Wainwright (2021)

75

3.05

3.66

21.0

206.1

Miles Mikolas (2022)

83

3.29

3.87

19.0

202.1

If you're not familiar with ERA-, it's very similar to ERA+ and takes a pitcher's ERA and compares it to the league average, with the center score being 100. Both Gray and Flaherty were 34% better than the league average in their respective seasons, but they did so in pretty different ways. Gray was consistently good all year long and struck out a bit fewer batters than Flaherty did. Flaherty relied a bit more on strikeouts, but his best production came during a historic second-half run.

I'm not necessarily predicting Gray to be that good again in 2024, but I am predicting he'll put up a season somewhere between Flaherty's 2019 season and Adam Wainwright's resurgence in 2021. Wainwright was 25% better than the league average in that season and was a top-10 Cy Young finalist. If Gray can be somewhere between 25%-34% above league average from an ERA perspective in 2024, that would be an incredible year for the new Cardinal ace.