Prediction #7 - The Cardinals will win the World Series
Remember, this was my bold predictions list. In my '"realistic predictions" for the Cardinals season, I still thought their offense was good enough to make them a playoff team, but said they needed to settle their pitching questions to become a true contender.
Still, I need to own this one. I believed the offense would be elite and the rotation was solid enough to make it to the deadline, and neither of those things came true.
The offense did have the tools to be elite, but injuries and this frankly weird year derailed them from becoming that. They graded out as a top-7 offense all the way up until the time when Brendan Donovan was ruled out for the season, and so if they even just had a bit more from some of the guys they expected more from, the offense would have graded out as a top-5 unit in the game, and that is elite in my books.
I was clearly wrong about the rotation. Every single starter except for Montgomery performed below expectations. Jack Flaherty was about as inconsistent as you could possibly get, Miles Mikolas ate innings but fell off in a major way when it came to run prevention, Steven Matz was terrible to start the year, and after figuring things out and pitching like an elite starter in his return to the rotation, he got injured and missed the rest of the year. And the hardest part of all was watching Adam Wainwright have a historically bad year.
Reinforcements like Matthew Liberatore, Jake Woodford, and Dakota Hudson did not help matters, and so by the time the trade deadline came, there was no point in adding to the rotation to try and fix things.
I do feel a lot better about this team going into 2024 than most do, but barring some major moves in the next few months, I don't think I'll be this bold with their season result prediction this coming season.