The Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, but go into 2008 with question marks in their starting rotation and throughout the lineup. We take a closer look at the Cards and what this could mean for your fantasy team.
Projected Positional Starters
C- Yadier Molina
1B- Albert Pujols
2B- Adam Kennedy
3B- Troy Glaus
SS- Cesar Izturis
LF- Chris Duncan
CF- Colby Rasmus
RF- Rick Ankiel
Ace - Adam Wainwright
2 - Brandon Looper
3 - Joel Pineiro
4 - Anthony Reyes
5 - Brad Thompson/ Matt Clement
Injured Starting Pitchers Of Note - Chris Carpenter, Mark Mulder
Closer- Jason Isringhausen
Hitters To Draft
Albert Pujols, 1B - Just a hunch.
Chris Duncan, LF - He went down and slumped badly in the second half of last season, but he can draw a walk, and hit the long ball. If he can put together a full, healthy season he could hit 35 HR and drive in 85RBI.
Rick Ankiel, RF - I can't believe I am saying this, but he could be a decent fantasy outfielder. Would I bank my team's success on him... no. However, I strongly feel he will be a more than serviceable outfield option and can put up good power numbers. Put him down for 30HR, and 75RBI, to go along with a .260AVG if everything goes right.
Yadier Molina, C - It seems like he has been around for a while, but Yadier is only 25 and still developing as a hitter. He missed all of September, but look for him to have a breakout season at the dish. Expect a .280BA with 15HR and 70RBI, making him a decent option at catcher once the top guys are off the board.
Pitchers To Draft
Adam Wainwright, SP - Check out Wainwright's 1st and 2nd half splits in 2007:
Jason Isringhausen, CL - Has 32+ saves in seven of the eight last seasons. One of the most consistent, and despite nagging injuries, durable closers in baseball. He often goes over looked, and you will be able to draft him a little later than he should be going in most drafts.
Chris Carpenter, SP - He is a legit ace, on the rebound. Draft him in leagues with DL spots and stash him on your bench until he is healthy around mid-season. Could be a difference maker down the stretch.
Players To Avoid
Troy Glaus, 3B - Glaus came to the Cards in the Scott Rolen deal after struggling through an injured-ridden season in Toronto. 2007 was far from a banner year for Glaus as he posted a meager 20 homers and 62 RBIs in 115 games and was subsequently implicated in the Mitchell Report for HGH use. No one is really sure what Glaus has in the tank, but given that he is injury prone and hitting in a lackluster lineup in St. Louis, he is definately someone to avoid.
Braden Looper, SP - Once a closer, Looper is now the #2 starter in St. Louis. Looper posted a serviceable 12-12 record with a 4.94 ERA and 1.30 WHIP last season in St. Louis. However, pitching out of the 2 spot in the rotation, Looper will face tougher pitching matchups and will be hard pressed to repeat his 2007 output.
Colby Rasmus, CF - The center field prospect is being hailed as a future 30/30 guy. I doubt he pulls that off this season, but in keeper leagues he is worth grabbing late, and enjoying a year or two from now.
Joel Pineiro, SP- Pineiro has always had good stuff, but has litle to show for it thus far in his career. He finished off the last two months of 2007 fairly strong, going 6-4 with an ERA in the high threes including a spectacular 8 inning shutout effort at Shea Stadium late in the season which put his ceiling on display. As the #3 starter, Pineiro should get some decent matchups this season and is someone to watch.
Ryan Ludwick, RF/LF - Gets first crack at one of the corner OF spots if Ankiel or Duncan can't get the job done or get injured. He can hit the long ball, but needs the at bats to prove he can do it consistently.