Deep dive into Steamer projections: What to expect from Cardinals pitchers in 2024

Steamer publishes its projections each season on Fangraphs. The St. Louis Cardinals' pitching projections are better than last year's, but they still aren't strong.
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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Each year, Steamer generates player and team projections for the upcoming season. These statistics are published on Fangraphs. While ZiPS provides 80th percentile and 20th percentile projections, Steamer just gives one projection. Steamer uses past performance and aging curves to predict the most probable projection for a player. For pitchers, pitch-tracking data is utilized to estimate future performance.

According to Fangraphs, the Cardinals' five main starting pitchers are projected to be Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, Miles Mikolas, and Steven Matz next year. Matthew Liberatore, Michael McGreevy, Gordon Graceffo, and Sem Robberse are projected to be the "next men up" should injuries or underperformance arise in the rotation. I would also expect to see Drew Rom and Zack Thompson in the rotation next year at times.

Those nine starters are estimated to accumulate 12.9 fWAR in 2024. Sonny Gray is projected to be the team's best-starting pitcher next year, and he should be responsible for one-fourth of that WAR total. Last year, the Cardinals' first nine starting pitchers were Miles Mikolas, Jordan Montgomery, Steven Matz, Zack Thompson, Matthew Liberatore, Dakota Hudson, Drew Rom, Adam Wainwright, and Jake Woodford. They had a total of 10.3 fWAR as a group.

Next year's rotation already figures to be an improvement on 2023 but not by an eye-popping margin. Mozeliak's goal this offseason was to improve the rotation for 2024; he raised the floor by a decent amount, but a top 3 of Gray, Lynn, and Gibson will not be able to contend in a playoff series against the rotations for the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota Twins, and Seattle Mariners.

The addition of another high-end starting pitcher such as Tyler Glasnow (projected for 3.8 fWAR in 2024, ninth highest according to Fangraphs) or Blake Snell (3.3 fWAR projection, twentieth overall) would significantly raise the ceiling of this rotation. While next year's rotation figures to be improved compared to last year's, Steamer still projects the Cardinals to be a middle-of-the-pack pitching team.

Let's take a deep dive into Steamer projections for the Cardinals' pitchers in 2024.