Yesterday we were treated to a sneak peak of the Cardinals ZiPs projections, painstakingly crafted by the lovely Dan Szymborski. There were a few intriguing questions presented by that teaser. Now, we have our answers. And maybe some more questions.
The full Cardinals ZiPs projections were unveiled today and here are the things I found interesting.
Paul Goldschmidt looks like a really good acquisition
The Goldschmidt deal has generally been praised from all sections of the baseball world. It never looked bad for the Cardinals, but after looking at these projections, it looks particularly good, no? 4.4 fWAR, 130 OPS+ and a comp to a 31-year-old Kevin Youkilis (that would be his 2010 season, I believe) - yeah, sounds alright.
There is hope for Dexter Fowler
No one is denying that Dexter Fowler had a rough 2018 season, but not many believe that is his true-talent level. ZiPs projects him to bounce back some, lifting his stat line to split the difference between what was a career low year to his previous career averages.
The Cardinals have depth
Even if Dexter Fowler does not return to form, the Cardinals have depth. The Cardinals project to receive 2 fWAR at nearly all positions with the likes of Tyler O’Neill and Jedd Gyorko on the bench to fill in.
Bob Gibson was a late bloomer
A lot of people have brought this up, probably because it is a fact we all seem to forget. It was easy to get excited about the Carlos Martínez comp to Bob Gibson, but of course we must remember this comp is to age-27 Bob Gibson. Age-27 Bob Gibson was his 1963 season. 1936 was a good season for him, to be sure, but it was still before he was that Bob Gibson. That would happen in the next season or so, depending on who you ask. Any comparison to Gibson is nothing to scoff at, though and Martínez looks to lead the pitching staff yet again. Unless...
The Cardinals could really use another starter
There are a few questions with the starters the Cardinals currently have. Will Michael Wacha hold up for a full season (honestly, probably not)? Will Adam Wainwright bounce back a little (hopefully, but it would be bad practice to count on that)? How will Alex Reyes return from two seasons off with injuries (who knows)? Will Miles Mikolas continue the solid pitching we saw in 2018 (we have seen these things go wrong in the past)? How will Jack Flaherty respond to a full season in the majors (there is only one way to find out)? This appears to be the biggest weakness of the Cardinals right now. It definitely would not hurt to add a starter.
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