Final predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals' Opening Day Roster

Mar 23, 2023; Jupiter, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Tommy Edman (19) throws to first
Mar 23, 2023; Jupiter, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Tommy Edman (19) throws to first / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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(8) - Ryan Helsley, Giovanny Gallegos, Jordan Hicks, Zack Thompson, Drew VerHagen, Andre Pallante, Genesis Cabrera, and Chris Stratton

This is the group that has experienced the most change in the last two weeks, which makes a lot of sense in light of how fluid this competition was going to be and the injuries to names that seemed like locks for this staff.

With Wilking Rodriguez being a Rule 5 pick, he was going to make the roster, barring a major meltdown. This opened up one new spot, as well as Woodford moving into the rotation and Dakota Hudson faltering so much. The new names on my list now include Genesis Cabrera and Chris Stratton.

Stratton has struggled in camp (5.14 ERA) but should function as the lowest-leverage reliever in the bullpen. Since he has a guaranteed contract, it makes sense to let him pitch out of the bullpen to start the year, and if he falters, then they can turn to some of their intriguing young arms in Memphis or Springfield.

Cabrera has been pretty good during camp and still boasts electric stuff from the left side. Before the recent injuries, it seemed like the Cardinals were going to head into the season with Zack Thompson and Andre Pallante as their options against left-handed hitters late in games. Although Pallante is a right-handed pitcher, he has reverse splits. So Cabrera's presence on this roster, and more so, the void that Rodriguez left, will likely change a lot of things for this bullpen.

Helsley and Gallegos remain the club's go-to, high-leverage relievers. Hicks should be the next man up, but with Cabrera on the roster, one of Thompson or Pallante could factor in as the 7th-inning guy for St. Louis. I do think Pallante may end up having multiple roles in the pen, being relied on in big spots sometimes, and other times, eating innings as the "long man".

After a few weeks, I think this bullpen will have some changes again, but for now, this is how I see it shaping up for Opening Day.

Just missed - Andrew Suarez, JoJo Romero, and Wilking Rodriguez (start the year on IL)