Both the Cardinals and Brewers made major changes to their roster this off-season, let's see how they stack up
The St. Louis Cardinals are the resigning National League Central Champions, finishing a very comfortable 7 games above the Milwaukee Brewers. But after both teams made some aggressive changes to their roster this off-season, it's worth comparing the division foes once again.
Over at Reviewing the Brew, FanSided's Milwaukee Brewers coverage, they compared the two clubs position by position. In case you wondered, they seemed pretty optimistic about how their Brewers would fair in 2023.
Let's be honest, outside of the addition of Willson Contreras, the Cardinals are relying on a lot of internal progression in 2023. While that can lack the excitement of making splashy moves, it seems like the right route for the time being.
Let's compare the two clubs by position group, and see who comes out with the edge this coming season.
Reviewing the Brew made the argument that William Contreras is better than Willson Contreras, citing Willson's comments about his younger brother as the older brother admitting defeat in their matchup.
First, let's compare the brothers defensively. Although it's not a major advantage, I would still give the advantage to Contreras defensively.
Willson Contreras: 625 innings, -3 rSZ, -1 rCERA, 2 rSB, 0 rGFP, -1 DRS, -3.5 FRM, 3.8 Def
William Contreras: 518.2 innings, -3 rSZ, 1 rCERA, -1 rSB, 0 rGFP, -4 DRS, -2.8 FRM, 0.7 Def
It's hard to gauge how much William will improve defensively in future seasons, but it's also worth monitoring how much he'll actually catch. He caught about 40% of the Braves games last year while Travis d'Arnaud caught 60% or so. His bat is valuable regardless, but does it diminish in production if he is catching more consistently? And if he is not catching the number of games his older brother is, you have to give the edge to Willson.
When the Cardinals met with Willson this off-season, they wanted to know that he will be the primary catcher, ideally catching about 120 games for the club. Honestly, best case scenario for his younger brother is 100 games, which is a big difference.
Willson had a 132 wRC+ in 2022 and William put up a 138 wRC+. They were very similar offensively, and Willson has the track record to back up continued success. FanGraphs projections have Willison finishing with a 119 wRC+ in 2023, while William is projected at 115 wRC+.
It's close, but I think the clear answer here is Willson Contreras. Advantage Cardinals.