Editor's Note: Two years ago, Site Manager Ben Humphrey asked readers to provide predictions for Cardinals baseball players. Last year, he renewed that request, and although Ben is in blogger retirement, we at VEB renewed the request to predict how the Cardinals will do. The answers are now in, although projections are still out on many players if you have not yet made one.
We received 77 responses. When we first asked for your help, we said this:
It is March 7th, the Cardinals have played four spring training games plus an exhibition against Austin Gomber's Florida Atlantic University, and their franchise catcher Yadier Molina has yet to even swing a bat. Yet, he reportedly may begin swinging one this week. Will Molina be ready for opening day? It may be his personal goal, but still, the Cardinals certainly shouldn't rush him back. That being said, if he decides he is ready to play on opening day, the Cardinals will likely let him play, as Bernie Miklasz wrote for 101 ESPN last week.
Unlike his throwing-hand thumb injury in 2014, the one he suffered last season will likely have an even bigger impact on his hitting ability as the bottom hand (his left) plays a vital role in swinging the bat. As you can see in the table, Molina's power plummeted last season (to an isolated power of .080, ahead of only two catchers with at least 350 plate appearances). Thus, given the unpredictability of both the strength and the health of his left thumb, what can we expect from Molina at the plate this season? Will he become even more contact oriented or will his power return to pre-2015 levels? Let us know what you think below.
You can find Molina's Steamer, ZiPS and FanGraphs Depth Chart projections on his FanGraphs player page.
There appears to be some trepidation with Molina as VEB projections are generally bullish and that is not the case here.
The WAR is probably light if Molina puts up those number given he's a catcher, but the fans definitely see more injury and decline concerns than the projections do. Full results here. Thanks again for your help.