I think we, as a community of worriers, are relatively pat about the offense—if anything bad were to happen, be it Pujols missing a chunk of time; Rasmus continuing to be Ramos; or the Cardinals seriously going into the 2010 season with Skip Schumaker and Allen Craig dueling for the chance to be the team's fourth best hitter, it would come as a terrible shock.
But the pitchers... well, they were too good last year. I am expecting any and all things to happen this year to make up Joel Pineiro's completely unexpected and not-quite-long-enough trip into the dead ball era, and that's without even considering Chris Carpenter's career high ERA+ as a 34 year-old double-amputee outpatient. No amount of Todd Wellemeyer returning everything that made me briefly think he wasn't Todd Wellemeyer can make up for all that, and as a result I have my GOB expectations set to maximum vengeance.
That said, here's what the Bill James people think.
1. I'll take that Chris Carpenter projection. Just make that happen.
2. He and Jason Motte are the only Cardinals this projection system likes at all. It doesn't buy Adam Wainwright's strikeout rate, The Piñata's secret identity, or Ryan Franklin's magic goatee, let alone Blake Hawksworth's trip to relief—the projection is so bad that I, uh, forgot to include it until halfway through the free agents.
3. Lots of interesting, dinged up fourth starter options for the Cardinals to paw through. Unfortunately nothing projected for "Sign" Ben Sheets.
4. I'm trying to ascribe some of it to shock value and be moderate, but Mitchell-Boggs-the-reliever was a startling transformation; as a starter he looks like Jason Marquis, but as a reliever he flashed a preternatural grasp of the Chris Perez skill-set: diving slider, remarkable fastball (seriously, where did this come from?), unexplainable command. It's stupid to use the results-not-typical success stories as a comp, but I'll do it anyway: the Joe Nathans of the world have to come from somewhere.
5. If Mortensen were ready yet—that would be the moment I knew I was a sinner in the hands of some angry GOB.