Cardinals 2017 Season Preview
Ready to check out our 2017 St. Louis Cardinals predictions? In a NL Central Division that was dominated by the Cubs last year and is looking to be dominated by the World Series Champs again this year, the St. Louis Cardinals are in a good position to surely retain that 2nd spot, but have added some pieces to make the NL Central race interesting in 2017.
MLB Cardinals Predictions & Handicapping Insight
Under manager Mike Matheny, the Cardinals finished with a respectable, yet slightly disappointing 86-76 record – 15 games behind the eventual World Series winning Chicago Cubs.
Matheny returns this year, hoping to find a way to win a second NL pennant, and improve on last year’s average pitching and find ways to beat those tough Cubbies throughout the season.
2017 MLB Team Previews – St. Louis Cardinals
- National League Central +500
- National League +800
- World Series +2200
- Dexter Fowler
- Brett Cecil
- John Gant
Speaking of those Cubs, center fielder Dexter Fowler is the biggest acquisition for the Cardinals. Signed in the offseason from Chicago for $82.5 million, Fowler brings solid leadoff hitting along with intelligent baserunning, plus he’s no slouch in the outfield.
It remains to be seen what he’ll bring during a 162-game season at the age of 31, but there’s no doubt that his veteran presence and high baseball IQ will be a boon for this St. Louis squad.
- Matt Holliday
- Brandon Moss
- Jaime Garcia
- Seth Maness
After spending eight seasons in St. Louis, 37-year old left fielder Matt Holiday was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees.
With that, the Cardinals lose a 20-plus home run hitter (he did so in each of his seasons except for his injury-plagued 2015) and a smart outfielder.
However, the money would have been too much to re-sign a guy on the back half of 30 who’s numbers were down last season. He recorded just 62 RBIs and his batting average was a paltry .246 – by far the lowest in his St. Louis tenure.
Cardinals Predictions: Projected Lineup:
- CF Dexter Fowler
- SS Aledmys Diaz
- 1B Matt Carpenter
- RF Stephen Piscotty
- C Yadier Molina
- 3B Jhonny Peralta
- LF Randal Grichuk
- 2B Kolten Wong
As stated before, the addition of Dexter Fowler brings some great leadoff hitting, one that should help jumpstart the batting order that includes big hitters like Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty.
Shortstop Aledmys Diaz will be poised for a big season after a very respectable rookie campaign. Last year, Diaz hit .300 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs. He’ll be expected to improve those numbers and all the signs point to him doing so.
First baseman Matt Carpenter will be expected to perform extremely well at the plate.
Last season, the 30-year old posted his lowest batting average of his career with .271 and 108 strikeouts in 129 games.
Carpenter, making the shift from 3rd to 1st base, will be expected to perform both in the infield and at the plate.
Cardinals Predictions: Projected Rotation:
- RH Carlos Martinez
- RH Adam Wainwright
- RH Lance Lynn
- RH Mike Leake
- RH Michael Wacha
To improve on 2016 and have a shot at keeping pace with the Cubbies, the rotation has to be much better than average. Right-hander Adam Wainwright has to have a better season than his 2016 and remind the baseball world that he is one of the best in the game right now.
Last season, Wainwright was 13-9 with a very mediocre 4.62 ERA. In 33 games, Wainwright recorded just one complete game, while giving up 22 home runs and throwing 59 walks.
Without a better year from him, the Cardinals will have a very tough time making a run at the pennant in 2017.
The team will also need a great year from Carlos Martinez. He had a better year last year than Wainwright actually did, posting a 16-9 record with a 3.04 ERA. He struck out 174 batters in 195.3 innings and gave up just 15 home runs all year.
Cardinals Predictions: Projected Closer:
- RH Seung-hwan Oh
Oh should be the Cardinals closer this season. The 34-year old righty had a very respectable 2016 campaign, one that saw him post a 6-3 record with a 1.92 ERA. He recorded 19 saves on 23 attempts last season, while also throwing 103 strikeouts in 79.7 innings.
The guy can really throw and is a tough pitcher to hit. His K/9 rate was 11.64 and he gave up just five home runs all year.
He did a solid job taking over for long-time closer Trevor Rosenthal last season, who lost his job to Oh during the year, and Oh will need to perform even better this season to solidify that the move was the right decision.
2017 St. Louis Cardinals Prediction: 89-73 (2nd in Central)
With the addition of Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter’s move across the diamond, and a better year from the team’s rotation, I believe the Cardinals will improve on their 2016 record by three or four games.
However, this won’t be enough to catch the Cubs who will take the top spot in the division once again.
It will be interesting to see what Oh does as the closer for a full season, but he’ll definitely be an X-factor in just his second-year in the Major Leagues.
Pitching all around will be key for St. Louis this year and grabbing some wins against the Cubs throughout the year could make things very interesting come September. But if the rotation is as average as last season, the Cardinals have little chance to overtake Chicago in the Central.
What do you think of our 2017 St. Louis Cardinals predictions? Comments are welcome below.
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