Things To Look Forward To: 2012 StL Cardinals

The Hot Stove was yelling, drink some coffee and write! So that's what I am doing, heh. With the option of showing many fanposts (rather than the default amount), it should open up the possibilities of fanposts more. Of course, there is still the Fanshot chat/discussion starter, but that is rarely used. Anyway, my main goal was to look at the current roster thus far into the hot stove season... and to have a completely arbitrary excited moment about it.

Clicking on this link will direct you to the wikipedia version of this, from where I copied this info:

St. Louis Cardinals 2012 Spring Training roster
40-man roster Spring Training
non-roster invitees









60-day disabled list

  • None

What follows is basically my gut thinking, but I will compare it to projections as well... so that my wild guesses will be tempered with a little data.


Adam Wainwright: Projection systems are predicting a very good Waino for 2012. It would be amazing to see a sub 3.25 FIP from ADAM. My gut reaction however, is that they are going a little crazy about the innings pitched (200?) and that Wainwright will have to do a little "finding himself" next year, coming back from a whole season off and beginning the season without a regular spring training, etc. I'd be more than happy with anything below 3.4 FIP.

Chris Carpenter: Bill James thinks Carp will see little dropoff in his effectiveness next season... Fans is not as bullish, predicting 3.38. Personally, I'm not sure what to think. Last year he was quite unlucky, but was still plenty effective, adopting the role of staff ace again. I'm a little worried though, after the ton of innings pitched he experienced between the season and the playoffs. My gut says that might have been the last of his peak years and that next year will be the end of the plateau... FIP will be more like last season than what the projections see (imo).

Jaime Garcia: Projections are not as good as what he did last year. 3.4 to 3.47.... seems a little high. I don't think he'll be quite as good as last season, but a FIP below 3.4 after a 3.23 doesn't seem that out of the question as he enters what are perhaps his prime years.

Kyle Lohse: both systems available right now (James, Fans) think Kyle will be at 4.09 FIP next season. While that certainly could happen, I think he will still be under 4.0 contract year and all. Granted I detest the idea of seeing the guy pitch in the playoffs, he just might pitch another 200 innings like he did in 2008.

Jake Westbrook: this is where VEB and many Cardinals fans in general get a little grossed out. 4.38 is the average of the two FIP projections, and worse for the ERA. That said, he is quite clearly a 5th starter at this point. If he were below 4.20 FIP I'd be fine with him, but I just don't see it happening. Or was that the gut. Anyway, Westy did pitch over 200 innings in 2010, for 2.3 WAR. I guess that's not too bad.

Mitchell Boggs: Mitchell will probably be on relatively thin ice this spring... if he can't get his BB rate down, Duncan may have lost patience by mid spring training (so, so far away). He is, however, still a very high upside pitcher. I'm fine with 60 innings out of the bullpen @ 3.44 FIP. With a career 4.21 BB/9 though, he has an image to shake. Dave Duncan's mental construct for Mitchell Boggs will not be too rosy if he keeps up the walking of batters.

Maikel Cleto: No idea what to expect from this guy, but since he's pitched on the MLB team I guess I have some opinion. From what happened in his debuts, everyone can tell he wasn't ready. I can't say I have any confidence in Cleto, he has had a lot of fluctuation in his statistics during his ascent. Definitely some potential, but beyond that I wouldn't expect too much Cleto pitching for the Cardinals in 2012.

Lance Lynn: Bill James is thinking 3.59 FIP next season; since last year his FIP was 2.88 and his xFIP was even lower, I am expecting, perhaps optimisitically, another sub 3.0 FIP season from LL. Hope he doesn't get hurt again, he could be a key part of a great bullpen for '12.

Kyle McClellan: my gut reaction is, I don't even want to go there. A 4.26 FIP projection seems to me to be a little too optimistic. Sadly enough, I'm thinking closer to 4.5 :(

Jason Motte: from sad face to happy face, Sauce is my favorite bullpen pitcher (maybe ever). Projections systems are warm on the thought of Motte as well: just a tad over 2.9 FIP. Fans thinks his ERA will be a staunch 2.36 next year. Since Jason probably got a little lucky last year, I can't be overly optimistic about Motte for 2012. But then again, he's another young player who could be hitting his prime years.

Marc Rzepczynski:Another player I am excited to see develop, Marc is about 3 years younger than Motte. After last year's LOOGYpocalypse, it will be very nice having a whole season with Rzep locking down the left side of the bullpen. I'm hoping he is very durable as well and gets a lot of use out of the 'pen. This could perhaps keep him more stretched out in case he would have the opportunity to step in as a starter, but more importantly, limit the appearances of JC Romero. Projection thinks around 3.58 FIP, but he will probably be better than that.

Fernando Salas: due for a major come down after last season, I agree with the projections so far: 3.36 & 3.58 FIP. It's nice to have a bullpen this good though.

Eduardo Sanchez: last season, Eduardo pitched 30 innings for the team at 1.80 ERA and 3.03 FIP. No projections yet for Sanchez, but I am excited to see what he can do with more playing time (and it will be nice to figure out how effective he will be with more playing time!).


Yadi: last year was the real emergence of Yadier the hitter. At .349 wOBA, he was surprisingly one of the best hitters at the MLB level. Projections expect him to be down in the .320s next year, but Molina born in 1982 might have thoughts otherwise.

Puma: Booyaa, .402 wOBA in 2011! Projections say .380, I say they're crazy. Lance has one more big year left in the tank, according to the gut. Plus he might be healthier at first than he was in the outfield...

Dirty Dan: projected for .300 wOBA, .296 last year. Not all that exciting of a hitter (especially if the clutchiness goes away which it probably will), but the defense showed signs of being rather Boogian, even. Bill James thinks he'll play just over half a season in '12.

David "The Chosen One" Freese: Holy crap, am I excited to see what he does next year. The postseason showed him moving towards the Rolen Lite mantle I bestowed upon him a while ago which spawned many comments. James and Fans average out to a .354 wOBA projection next year. Sounds good to me! If they continue to handle his playing time as if he is a vase, he won't be in that many games though...

Matt Carpenter: including Carp Jr. because he has been super awesome the last two years in the minor leagues (fueled by a nearly Freesian BABIP). If Freese goes down on shattered ankles, I would be just as excited as anyone to see what he can do in the major leagues. I just hope they would use him in that situation, and not install Descalso at third as Larussa would do.

Rafael Furcal: I'm perhaps irrationally excited at the prospect of having Furcal bat a whole season at SS. Projections expect him to be around .320 wOBA, but I am expecting more like his career average of .336 wOBA. My gut says he's a 15 home run 15 stolen base guy in 2012 (if he stays healthy). Couple that with decent defense and that is more baseball fan excitement. That said, he is entering his mid 30s, and those are not good times for shortstops.

Tyler "What if Furcal gets hurt" Greene: many of us were clamoring for more Tyler playing time at short, but it will be very difficult to tell what will happen with Tyler. Much like M. Boggs, his fate may be decided in spring training. If he can bat like he did at AAA last year during spring training (or even close), no one in their right mind would keep him from getting some playing time. If he looks good in ST, he will probably be the go-to guy if Furcal can't avoid injury. Projecting him is difficult, just look at Bill James with the .316 wOBA projection, and Fans near .340. Hard to say what will happen with T. Greene, but he could be one of the major storylines of 2012.

Skip Schumaker: hopefully limited only to a right handed pinch hitter/cheerleader role, his projection is for a .309 wOBA with non-mlb level defense. Perhaps he is not that bad, but then again, perhaps he is.

Carlos "the new guy" Beltran: OK, back on track. Projections are predicting about 130 games at nearly .370 wOBA/OBP. Yes, he is not needing to be weighted. If he bats second most of the time, many a Cardinal fan will be happy. That said, there are some issues, albeit minor ones. Will he not be a butcher in CF compared to Jay's defense, and how much playing time will he take away from Allen Craig when he returns?

Allen "Torty's Father" Craig: after a year of nearly .400 wOBA, most of us realize that may be the best rate Craig puts up in his career. This is because of only 219 PA and a .344 BABIP. That said, he passes the scout test... he just looks like a good hitter when he's up to the plate. That's why I think his projections are low. But even if they're right, that's just another .360 wOBA hitter on the team. Maybe Matheny'd try him out at third if the Iceman breaks. Projections pointing towards about a 100 games in 2012.

Jon "the other guy" Jay: Jay stole most of Craig's spotlight up until Craig had shown just how badass he is at hitting the ball. Projected for more games than Allen still, Jay has a leg up in CF on most everyone on the team, at least defensively. An average of .325 wOBA projected is nice for a player that is not at all a defensive liability playing a premium position. He's still quite young so it's hard to say what he will be capable of going forward. At the very least, he is a good guy with a pleasant OBP who can go deep every once in a while (8 home runs projected). Another aspect that could potentially come into play is if Jay steals more bases.

Adron "5th outfielder" Chambers: well, hopefully 5th outfielder. I would hate to see Skip in the outfield over this guy, but I'm sure it will happen. Easily one of the fastest players on the team who showed he can hold his own at the plate, Adron could end up being more than just the 5th outfielder... but the chances of that happening don't seem to be that great.

Matt "I will murder the ball" Holliday: good for .395 wOBA next year, book it

Well, that's about it. Even without Pujols this team is very exciting. Good mix of proven vets and younger talent with some nice upside.

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