3 Keys to the St. Louis Cardinals Winning NL Central
The Cardinals ran away with the NL Central to end last season, outpacing the second-place Brewers by seven games.
Oddsmakers at BetMGM Sportsbook are predicting the Cardinals will have similar success this season, making them the favorite to win the division at -115 odds.
There are plenty of reasons to believe St. Louis is a rightful favorite. If you agree, you’ll want to take advantage of this limited-time offer from BetMGM: a risk-free bet worth up to $1,000 for new users!
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Why the Cardinals will win the NL Central
There are several keys to fielding a strong MLB team, but there are three focal points that stand out right away for St. Louis.
1. Starting pitching health – This list could really be a one-and-done for this team. It seems like the season hinges on the health of the rotation, especially the return of former ace Jack Flaherty from shoulder trouble.
Flaherty started just eight games last season and the Cardinals still won the division. However, when you consider that Steven Matz only started 10 games last year and Adam Wainwright is entering his age-41 season, pitching health could be a HUGE factor for St. Louis.
2. Offense aside from Goldy and Nado – Everyone knows that Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado can be compared to just about any 1-2 punch, but the rest of the lineup needs to support their production.
The Cardinals feature several players who still haven’t fully proven themselves, like Dylan Carlson, Brendan Donovan, Juan Yepez and Lars Nootbaar. They’ll need repeat performances from these guys at the least if they expect to compete with some of the better lineups in the league.
3. Minor league reinforcements – The Cardinals have a reputation for producing a strong farm system year-over-year no matter how good the MLB product is. That remains the case today, and some of these prospects could help as soon as this summer.
The most intriguing of the bunch is Jordan Walker. A 20-year-old 3B/OF who is ranked as the No. 6 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, Walker holds enormous offensive potential and could add his name alongside Goldschmidt and Arenado in the middle of the lineup.
Another name to watch is Matthew Liberatore. The 23-year-old lefty didn’t have a very impressive debut last summer, but adjusted as the season went on. He could prove to be essential if the team loses any of its starting pitchers for an extended period.
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