Updated look at projections for the St. Louis Cardinals

After 17 games, several projection systems have changed their tune on the St. Louis Cardinals' season.
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

Many projection outlets placed the St. Louis Cardinals at the top of the National League Central to start the season. Some more bullish websites gave the Cardinals a great chance to see postseason success in 2024. Other more conservative outlets broke fans' hearts.

After a modest start to the season, those same outlets have changed their tunes on the Birds on the Bat. A multitude of injuries, an uninspired offense, and a duality of bullpen performances have all hampered the results of the Cardinals.

What are projection outlets saying about the Cardinals 10% of the way through the season?

The three major projection outlets, Baseball Prospectus (PECOTA), Fangraphs, and Baseball Reference, all calculate their projections differently. For example, Baseball-Reference includes performance over the last 100 games, so that will include players who are on the roster now but weren't in August and September.

Baseball Prospectus (PECOTA): 84.9-77.1 record; 36.5% chance to win the division, 57.1% chance to make the playoffs

The Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, and Reds are all lumped close to each other with near identical projected outcomes. However, the Redbirds come out on top in these PECOTA projections. They have the greatest chance of winning the division, and their 57.1% odds of making the playoffs are the third-highest in the National League.

According to PECOTA, the Cardinals will finish with the fourth-best record in the National League, trailing only the Braves, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks. PECOTA is the most bullish of these systems on the Cardinals.

Fangraphs: 71.6-90.4 record; 2.5% chance to win the division, 13.5% chance to make the playoffs

Fangraphs is bringing the Cardinal faithful back down to earth. They project the team to finish last in the division by a hefty margin of 12 games. Furthermore, only the Marlins and Rockies have lower odds to even make the playoffs. The Cardinals have the toughest schedule remaining according to Fangraphs, so perhaps that explains the dropoff.

Baseball Reference: 71.8-90.2 record; <0.1% chance to win the division, 1.5% chance to make the playoffs

Baseball Reference seems to agree with Fangraphs given their conservative projection. At least Fangraphs gives the Cardinals a fighting chance to see meaningful baseball in September and October. Baseball-Reference started the season off with a depleted projection, and they've continued that sentiment three weeks into the season.

The Cardinals once again finish in last place, and the 90th percentile projection gives them just a .500 record. The Pirates, Reds, Cubs, and Brewers are all projected to finish with records better than .500. Their chances of winning the division are virtually nonexistent.