For the past month, Viva El Birdos has been conducting one of its annual projects: The Community Projections Series. We write a quick analysis post on each Cardinals player and provide you with a form to cast (or project!) how you feel they will perform in the upcoming season. Our project concluded on Friday, and the results of it are being released today, starting with the position players.
First off: the outfielders.
2019 Cardinals Projections: Outfielders
When crunching through the results, it stood out that a big rebound from Dexter Fowler is not anticipated and, instead, Tyler O’Neill is expected to receive much of the playing time in right field and excel while doing so. O’Neill would easily contend for the National League Rookie of the Year Award if he hits as this community projected. If Marcell Ozuna hits between 25-29 home runs, it would be the second-highest total for him in a season; his highest was 37 with the Marlins back in 2017.
Harrison Bader would definitely write off any ‘sophomore slump’ possibilities if he were to perform as projected and breeze beyond his freshman numbers. In 427 plate appearances across 138 games last season, Bader had a 54 wRC with 12 homers and a .264 batting average.
As for Jose Martinez, he is projected to see a lot of playing time and do very well, though it’s not real clear as to how that much playing time could happen, if no long-term injuries occur. Molina has hit 38 home runs over the last two seasons and the projection of 100-139 games played seems spot on, especially if the Cardinals want to keep backup catcher Matt Wieters as fresh as possible.
Now, the infielders:
2019 Cardinals Projections: Infielders
St. Louis is expected to roll out a starting infield of Paul Goldschmidt at first base, Kolten Wong at second, Matt Carpenter at third, and Paul DeJong at shortstop. The community projects each of these four to have 100+ wRC marks, and three of them to hit close to or over 30 home runs.
Goldschmidt has had a 120 wRC or greater in five of the last six seasons, highlighted by the 136 he posted in 2015, and has 33 or more long balls in four of the last six years. Carpenter has eclipsed the 100+ wRC mark three times in his career, in 2013, 2015, and 2018, and went yard 36 times last year. DeJong has neared a 70 wRC and has 44 home runs in 933 career plate appearances, but he also hasn’t played more than 115 games in a season; that’s worth noting, too. Looking at Wong, though: that would be quite the breakout performance. Wong’s arguably best offensive season came in 2017, where, in 108 games, he slashed .285/.376/.412 with four homers - with a 55 wRC.
Check back later this afternoon to see the pitching projections!