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Cardinals news and notes: Projections, the bullpen, and second base

Baseball is right around the corner. That's fun, right? We're all having fun.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Here's what you may have missed around VEB lately.

VEB projections

  • In continuing VEB's community projections, three more players have become available for you to predict since Friday: Matt Holliday, Mike Leake, and Kevin Siegrist. Links to previous posts can be found within these players, but in case you are looking to prognosticate for a specific player, feel free to select HollidayLeake, and Siegrist a la carte.
  • In a very safe projection that would nevertheless be considered controversial in some circles, Craig Edwards took the "Cardinals are boring" narrative to task, with some help from St. Louis sports GIF maestro Dan Doelling, to project that the Cardinals are still going to be fun in 2016. It's a convenient story that, particularly from a national perspective, makes fun to tell: one in which the Chicago Cubs are fun and exciting while the incumbent St. Louis Cardinals are dull sticks in the mud. Both teams are somewhere in the middle (when a team signs salty veterans such as John Lackey, it's a bit more complex than being the beacons of youthful exuberance), but a hero/villain story archetype is easy to digest when you don't have a dog in the fight.

The bullpen

  • Ben Markham looked at the Cardinals' bullpen for 2016 and wrote about where it might rank among Cardinals bullpens of the past. It's impossible, of course, to know what toll injuries could play on the team, but the team does have considerable depth beyond what it has had in years past.
  • The red baron wrote about the many, many relievers on the 2016 Cardinals. There are many capable relievers and only so many spots in which to place them in the bullpen. Surely, Atlanta Braves fans feel great sympathy for the Cardinals' plight.

Second base

  • I covered the young second basemen in baseball and where Kolten Wong fits in the mix. While Wong doesn't seem like a top second basemen, there is a relative dearth of good young players at the position and he isn't that far away from that level, but I also considered whether an elite second baseman would mean the nail in the coffin of Wong, generally a poor hitter against lefties, ever being platooned with Jedd Gyorko.
  • Former Cardinals second baseman Nick Punto retired, and Lil Scooter used this as an excuse to post the video of David Freese's World Series walkoff home run. No arguments from me here. But I feel compelled to contribute this Play Index-assisted fun fact to Nick Punto discourse, so that he isn't remember only as the guy who tore jerseys apart: here is a chart of the best bWAR seasons by Cardinals position players in the 21st century who only spent one season with the Cardinals.
Player Year bWAR
1. Jason Heyward 2015 6.5
2. Mark Grudzielanek 2005 4.1
3. Tony Womack 2004 3.2
4. Abraham Nunez 2005 2.3
5. Will Clark 2000 2.1
6. Cesar Izturis 2008 1.7
7. Nick Punto 2011 1.5

Here's to Nick Punto, the Right Said Fred of the 21st century Cardinals. Hope he and you have a wonderful Monday.