Blue Jays rotation provides a blueprint for success for the Cardinals

The Toronto Blue Jays' 2023 rotation was among the best in the league. St. Louis can mirror their success.

Toronto Blue Jays v St. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue Jays v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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The Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation was the only collection of pitchers to have four guys make at least 30 starts last year. After the additions of Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn plus the return of Miles Mikolas, the St. Louis Cardinals are hoping to have the same success out of their starters.

Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Christ Bassitt, and Yusei Kikuchi all exceeded 30 starts last year, and all but one of them pitched more than 170 innings. Christ Bassitt reached the illustrious 200-inning mark. The four pitchers all had ERAs below 3.90, and they racked up a total of 13.5 fWAR on the season. The Blue Jays had a top-3 rotation last year in all of baseball regardless of the metric you use.

The Cardinals are making an attempt to replicate this success in 2024. While Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn are a far cry from the talent of Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi, their abilities to pitch every 5 days and throw around 5 innings is admirable. Sonny Gray has the ability to pitch like an ace, similar to Gausman, and Miles Mikolas can throw a plethora of innings with relative success, similar to Chris Bassitt.

The chart below details the Cardinals' likely top-4 starting pitchers and their stats from last year. Don't be fooled; these figures are noticeably worse than the Blue Jays' staff from last year, Sonny Gray excluded.

Pitcher

Games Started

Innings pitched

ERA

fWAR

Sonny Gray

32

184

2.79

5.3

Miles Mikolas

35

201.1

4.78

3.1

Kyle Gibson

33

192

4.73

2.6

Lance Lynn

32

183.2

5.73

0.5

This assortment of starting pitchers will not be able to reach the heights that the Blue Jays did in 2023; the Cardinals' pitchers are significantly older and mildly less talented. However, due to the sheer number of innings pitched, perhaps the Cardinals' starters can duplicate the success the Blue Jays had last year to a certain extent.

Mikolas will have to repeat his success from 2018 and 2022, and Lynn will have to revert back to his old days for the 2024 rotation to even get close to resembling the Blue Jays staff from last year. Sonny Gray will likely experience similar amounts of success that he had last year.

The Toronto Blue Jays' starting pitching success last year hinged on their top four pitchers being healthy, available, and going deep into games. John Mozeliak spent this offseason acquiring pitchers with similar abilities. Hopefully, the success follows the depth that Sonny Gray, Miles Mikolas, Lance Lynn, and Kyle Gibson all provide.

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