St. Louis Cardinals' ZiPS projections are out, and they are pretty favorable

Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs releases his analyses of ZiPS projections for each MLB team annually. He recently broke down the Cardinals' projections.

Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals
Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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Dan Szymborski is the developer of the ZiPS projection system that FanGraphs uses. Each year, ZiPS generates player projections in the 20th percentile (worst-case scenario), middle-of-the-road projection (most likely outcome), and 80th percentile (best-case scenario) for each player who is likely to play in the majors next year. ZiPS analyzes past performances of players, weighing recent seasons more heavily, and then estimates future performance by identifying similar players of the past and present.

Dan goes into much greater detail about each particular player, so go read his piece about the St. Louis Cardinals here; he is excellent at breaking down projections. You can find a bird's eye view of the projections in Szymborski's post on Twitter/X below. So far, the only other team in the National League Central with projections is the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Szymborski posited that they look like a 75-win team.

Keep in mind, the WAR totals listed are for each position, not each player. For example, Lars Nootbaar may be shown as the top left fielder for the team, but his WAR total projection deviates slightly from the position's WAR total. The 2.4 number shows the total value for all players who will have plate appearances in left field next year. In order to see the value for each player, you must read Dan's article that is linked above.

I took a deep dive into last season's projections earlier this year. ZiPS was more optimistic about the Cardinals' 2023 season than it is for the 2024 season. Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt are inching closer to an age where things usually don't get better. Also, the bullpen for next year isn't as strong as it was last year, and last year was tough to watch.

There's plenty of reason for optimism after looking at the ZiPS projections for the Cardinals next year. Outside of the bullpen, there is a glut of depth, talent, and players with high floors. Szymborski predicts the team to win between 85-90 wins this year, and that should be enough to win the division. Assuming the Cardinals are in a better position next year at the Trade Deadline than they were this year, they could make the necessary improvements to make a run in the playoffs.