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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Pitchers

The Cardinals appear to have their ace. Sonny Gray's projection for a 3.6-WAR season is significant. Even though he finished second in the American League Cy Young last year, fans still don't see him as an ace; Gray, however, stands with or surpasses other "aces" across the league like George Kirby (3.9 WAR), Kodai Senga (3.9 WAR), Logan Gilbert (3.8 WAR), Shane Bieber (3.8 WAR), Joe Musgrove (3.5 WAR), and Tarik Skubal (3.4 WAR), and even Jesus Luzardo (3.1 WAR).

Behind Sonny Gray rests a collection of starting pitchers hovering between 1.5 and 2.1 WAR. Miles Mikolas will assume the role as the team's #2 starter followed by Kyle Gibson, Lance Lynn, and lastly Steven Matz. Matz is projected for only 1.5 WAR in approximately 104 innings. I spoke in depth about Matz when looking at Steamer projections. If he plays a full season (150+ innings), Matz is a very solid #2 or #3 starting pitcher.

One noteworthy exemption from the lineup is Matthew Liberatore; I most recently stated that he may not even make the roster out of Spring Training, and while ZiPS doesn't have him listed, Dan Szymborski stated on Twitter that he isn't on the graphic due to a projection for fewer than 30 innings pitched. I think Libby needs to hone his skills at AAA and be ready to start in St. Louis should an injury arise.

Ryan Helsley will spearhead the bullpen with a projection of 0.8 WAR, comparable to other All-Star closers across the league. Giovanny Gallegos, JoJo Romero, and Andre Pallante round out the remaining "top-tier" bullpen pitchers for the Cardinals. This tier is actually quite strong.

ZiPS isn't as bullish on the team's bullpen next year as it was in 2023. The second tier of pitchers (John King, Nick Robertson, and Ryan Fernandez) don't have as high of a ceiling as last year's players such as Chris Stratton, Genesis Cabrera, and Andre Pallante had. The depth is there, especially if players like Matthew Liberatore, Zack Thompson, Gordon Graceffo, or Michael McGreevy make an appearance, but the high-end talent is lacking out of the 'pen.

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