Rotation, rotation, rotation
No one, I repeat, no one should be surprised that starting pitching is at the top of the Cardinals’ needs heading into the trade deadline. if they choose to be buyers. The Cardinals rotation has consistently ranked in the bottom half in the league by most metrics and that is just not going to work over the course of a long season.
Some of this can be chalked up to some crummy luck as the BABIP against Cardinals’ pitchers is among the highest in the entire league. Combine that with the rotation with having the most innings pitched in the National League and having some talent deficiencies and you have a rotation that is unlucky, probably staying in games too long, and not particularly good.
One thing that is particularly troublesome for St. Louis is that the rotation as a whole doesn’t miss bats nearly enough as they have one of the worst strikeout rates in all of baseball. Miles Mikolas and Jordan Montgomery have been the Cardinals’ best pitchers this season and neither are big strikeout guys. As for Adam Wainwright, well…lets just say that he is pulling the Cardinals’ numbers down a good bit in the K department as well. In short, too many balls in play is a recipe for problems especially when you are a bit unlucky on balls in play.
Fortunately, there are some options that theoretically should be available at the trade deadline to help out. Shane Bieber is a guy that should be available as a guy with a bit of team control at the deadline. Getting him could be pricey, though, and his strikeout numbers have dropped significantly this year. He does at least have a previous track record of missing bats, though.
Michael Kopech is another option that has big time stuff, even more team control than Bieber, and is on a White Sox team that is also underperforming and who should be in the mood to sell at the deadline. Other options could include Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, and Eduardo Rodriguez as well as an assortment of rental types that could provide a boost.