2019 ZiPS Projections – St. Louis Cardinals

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for more than half a decade. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Batters

Yeah, there’s a Paul Goldschmidt on the roster now, but the thing that jumps out at me the most is just how deep the Cardinals’ bench is. You essentially have a spare league-averageish right fielder (ZiPS sees Dexter Fowler bouncing back to a degree) and an above-average spare infielder in Jedd Gyorko, so long as you don’t get the idea that he should be playing shortstop. ZiPS gives 10 two-WAR projections to St. Louis. Quite obviously, the Cardinals won’t actually have that many two-win players, simply because there aren’t enough at-bats for all of them to hit that threshold. Even among the fringe minor leaguers — like Rangel Ravelo, who ZiPS never really cared much for with the A’s or White Sox — there are a lot of players who, while not actually projected to be viable starters, wouldn’t be disastrous fill-in candidates.

As a thought exercise, imagine that St. Louis’s starting lineup comes down with some violent illness that involves projectile vomit (gross) and 180 days of bed rest. Such maladies would leave St. Louis with a lineup looking like this:

Cardinals Outbreak Lineup
Position Player(s)
C Andrew Knizner/Jose Godoy
1B Rangel Ravelo
2B Ramon Urias
SS Tommy Edman
3B Jedd Gyorko
LF Tyler O’Neill
CF Lane Thomas/Drew Robinson
RF Justin Williams

Even in this absolutely absurd scenario — with this many players injured so severely, and the Cards content to stand pat, and not make any moves to compensate — the lineup still projects to be worth 14 WAR given assumed full-season playing time. That’s more or less what Kansas City’s projected starters are pegged for if everyone’s healthy (I’m picking on the Royals simply because I just wrote them up and had them handy; I could have chosen other dreadful teams as well). Using the WAR Add ’em Up technique that you should never, ever use, the outbreak lineup would still leave the Cardinals with an 80-win team.

Pitchers

Here you can see the consequences of the Paul Goldschmidt trade in terms of the team’s pitching depth. Luke Weaver wasn’t a star, but he was also an extra arm at the back-end of the rotation, one that will be needed because Carlos Martinez, Alex Reyes, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright have all missed significant time recently due to injury (and with Waino, there’s a quality concern). That isn’t to say the Cardinals shouldn’t have made the Goldschmidt trade – he’s a giant short-term addition to the offense and the domino effect gives the team additional depth. It simply means that St. Louis ought to address their pitching issue over the rest of the offseason. Now, they don’t need to convince the Mets to trade them Jacob deGrom; a move of that magnitude isn’t necessary, though it would certainly be nice. But a No. 3 or 4 starter who can eat some innings would be good. J.A. Happ or a returning Lance Lynn would have been ideal for this, but Gio Gonzalez remains available. It’s weird to think about, but Mike Leake actually would be quite useful right now.

With the team apparently not spending money on Manny Machado or Bryce Harper (though I guess that still isn’t certain), they ought to be going after Dallas Keuchel. Yes, there’s a risk of over-engineering your rotation and ending up with too many starting pitchers, but has that ever truly been a problem for any team in baseball history? The Astros figured out what to do with their extra starters just last year. Serious, contending teams ought to be more open to depth of this kind and avoid getting too hung up on efficiency.

Bench and Prospects

Dagnabit, I already talked about the bench quite a bit up top, so I kind of broke the rules that I’m in no way obligated to follow, so nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, Carson!

The top of the minors has a lot of players who look like they will be useful role players, but outside of possibly Alex Reyes, who would fall out of the prospect list with just an additional out, the system’s largely missing that zing, zazz, zork, kapowza, the mazuma in the bank. Kiley and Eric only give eight players in the farm system a future value above 40 and ZiPS doesn’t offer a ton of disagreement. ZiPS does like Elehuris Montero’s power potential (so does McDongenhagen), but his defense is a worry, and based on what rudimentary minor league data is available, ZiPS is a bit concerned as well. If he is a -6 right now, it may be enough to require a move off of third by the time he’s 25, meaning he’ll need another bump in his offense to avoid becoming a tweener.

One pedantic note for 2019: for the WAR graphic, I’m using FanGraphs’ depth chart playing time, not the playing time ZiPS spits out, so there will be occasional differences in WAR totals.

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Depth charts constructed by way of those listed here at site.

Batters – Counting Stats
Player B Age PO G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Paul Goldschmidt R 31 1B 149 549 91 148 28 3 27 89 93 160 13 4
Matt Carpenter L 33 3B 138 496 90 125 33 2 26 75 90 141 3 2
Marcell Ozuna R 28 LF 153 589 74 164 27 3 24 97 44 126 2 2
Paul DeJong R 25 SS 132 503 68 124 26 2 22 77 36 151 2 2
Yadier Molina R 36 C 122 449 46 119 22 1 12 66 27 65 4 3
Harrison Bader R 25 CF 140 446 62 108 19 3 15 50 33 146 14 7
Jedd Gyorko R 30 3B 124 386 47 98 16 1 16 58 40 90 2 1
Tyler O’Neill R 24 LF 130 452 74 114 20 2 29 83 39 157 7 1
Kolten Wong L 28 2B 124 379 49 97 20 3 9 44 35 69 8 4
Jose Martinez R 30 RF 144 480 61 137 26 1 15 71 43 93 3 2
Andrew Knizner R 24 C 95 351 40 91 16 1 6 35 22 59 0 1
Rangel Ravelo R 27 1B 101 358 48 96 21 2 10 48 31 63 1 1
Ramon Urias R 25 2B 98 335 46 86 19 2 10 43 24 77 3 4
Dexter Fowler R 33 RF 104 370 58 88 17 4 11 44 52 99 8 3
Tommy Edman B 24 SS 122 493 56 121 20 5 5 41 36 96 17 5
Lane Thomas R 23 CF 127 498 59 117 18 7 14 59 39 149 12 11
John Nogowski R 26 1B 89 325 39 87 12 0 5 31 30 39 1 1
Wilfredo Tovar R 27 SS 116 398 41 99 17 2 4 34 23 58 15 7
Evan Mendoza R 23 3B 129 507 52 124 20 3 8 44 30 119 3 2
Yairo Munoz R 24 SS 129 435 51 110 21 2 11 55 29 99 9 6
Max Schrock L 24 2B 112 448 49 113 17 1 7 39 28 61 3 2
Jose Godoy L 24 C 81 276 28 63 11 1 3 23 22 55 1 1
Elehuris Montero R 20 3B 127 480 58 115 27 3 14 58 32 126 2 1
Justin Williams L 23 RF 119 453 52 116 22 1 12 55 27 99 4 4
Drew Robinson L 27 CF 109 380 50 77 16 3 15 45 44 156 8 6
Jeremy Martinez R 24 C 65 211 22 46 8 0 2 16 19 35 1 0
Edmundo Sosa R 23 SS 126 463 48 109 23 2 8 42 21 102 6 4
Chase Pinder R 23 CF 91 327 38 70 12 2 4 27 39 91 3 6
Joe Hudson R 28 C 64 205 20 40 11 0 4 18 19 61 0 0
Adolis Garcia R 26 RF 125 451 56 107 23 2 16 61 22 119 10 7
Dylan Carlson B 20 RF 120 448 57 97 20 3 12 50 50 131 6 5
Francisco Pena R 29 C 65 198 20 46 9 0 4 19 9 47 1 0
Alex Mejia R 28 SS 115 368 38 90 14 1 4 31 20 68 4 2
Randy Arozarena R 24 LF 118 402 50 93 21 2 9 42 31 105 18 8
Stefan Trosclair R 24 1B 112 409 46 86 14 3 11 43 32 140 5 4
Johan Mieses R 23 RF 125 465 50 91 17 2 17 54 29 158 2 0
Conner Capel L 22 CF 123 471 53 105 20 4 10 46 39 122 12 13
Victor Roache R 27 LF 110 384 36 67 13 2 11 38 31 174 3 1

Batters – Rate Stats
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Paul Goldschmidt .270 .379 .479 130 .209 .334 6.8 4 4.4 Kevin Youkilis
Matt Carpenter .252 .371 .484 129 .232 .301 6.5 -3 4.2 Eddie Mathews
Marcell Ozuna .278 .330 .457 110 .178 .319 5.6 4 3.0 Rick Reichardt
Paul DeJong .247 .306 .437 98 .191 .309 4.8 0 2.5 Brook Jacoby
Yadier Molina .265 .310 .399 90 .134 .288 4.5 5 2.3 Paul Lo Duca
Harrison Bader .242 .307 .399 89 .157 .326 4.4 8 2.2 Mark Whiten
Jedd Gyorko .254 .324 .425 100 .171 .293 5.0 4 2.2 Tim Naehring
Tyler O’Neill .252 .315 .498 115 .246 .320 5.8 -3 2.1 Jesse Barfield
Kolten Wong .256 .336 .396 97 .140 .292 4.8 4 2.1 Rob Wilfong
Jose Martinez .285 .345 .438 110 .152 .328 5.7 -2 2.0 Ollie Brown
Andrew Knizner .259 .312 .362 81 .103 .297 4.0 2 1.3 Joe Azcue
Rangel Ravelo .268 .334 .422 103 .154 .302 5.2 1 1.2 Mike Brown
Ramon Urias .257 .327 .415 99 .158 .306 4.8 -4 1.2 Brendan Harris
Dexter Fowler .238 .337 .395 97 .157 .296 4.8 -1 1.1 Michael Tucker
Tommy Edman .245 .298 .337 71 .091 .296 3.7 2 1.0 Kurt Stillwell
Lane Thomas .235 .293 .384 81 .149 .307 3.8 2 1.0 Xavier Paul
John Nogowski .268 .334 .351 86 .083 .292 4.3 6 0.9 Mike Eylward
Wilfredo Tovar .249 .292 .332 68 .083 .283 3.5 4 0.8 Alex Prieto
Evan Mendoza .245 .290 .343 70 .099 .305 3.5 6 0.7 Aurelio Rodriguez
Yairo Munoz .253 .304 .386 85 .133 .305 4.2 -5 0.7 Jose Castro
Max Schrock .252 .301 .342 73 .089 .279 3.7 1 0.6 Jack Brohamer
Jose Godoy .228 .296 .308 64 .080 .275 3.2 3 0.5 Tom Wieghaus
Elehuris Montero .240 .294 .396 84 .156 .297 4.1 -6 0.5 Jeff Hamilton
Justin Williams .256 .302 .389 85 .132 .304 4.2 1 0.4 Andre Ethier
Drew Robinson .203 .286 .379 78 .176 .297 3.6 -1 0.4 Jon VanEvery
Jeremy Martinez .218 .286 .284 55 .066 .253 2.9 4 0.4 Mike Nickeas
Edmundo Sosa .235 .274 .346 66 .110 .286 3.3 2 0.3 Dean DeCillis
Chase Pinder .214 .305 .300 64 .086 .284 2.9 4 0.3 David Howell
Joe Hudson .195 .267 .307 55 .112 .257 2.7 4 0.3 Tom Nieto
Adolis Garcia .237 .277 .404 81 .166 .288 3.9 2 0.2 Ken Ford
Dylan Carlson .217 .302 .355 77 .138 .279 3.6 2 0.2 Kurt Bierek
Francisco Pena .232 .268 .338 62 .106 .286 3.2 0 0.0 Mike DiFelice
Alex Mejia .245 .287 .321 64 .076 .291 3.3 -2 -0.1 Ray Olmedo
Randy Arozarena .231 .304 .361 79 .129 .292 3.9 -3 -0.1 Jordan Parraz
Stefan Trosclair .210 .281 .340 67 .130 .291 3.2 6 -0.3 Rich Murray
Johan Mieses .196 .250 .351 60 .155 .255 3.0 6 -0.6 John Lindsey
Conner Capel .223 .284 .346 69 .123 .280 3.1 -5 -0.7 Karl Herren
Victor Roache .174 .241 .305 46 .130 .281 2.4 4 -1.3 Nick Wilfong

Pitchers – Counting Stats
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Carlos Martinez R 27 12 9 3.53 29 29 168.3 153 66 15 68 163
Miles Mikolas R 30 12 8 3.59 29 29 175.7 177 70 18 38 135
Jack Flaherty R 23 12 9 3.62 32 32 169.0 146 68 22 59 192
Daniel Poncedeleon R 27 8 7 4.15 28 22 119.3 112 55 12 61 109
Dakota Hudson R 24 11 11 4.32 44 23 150.0 153 72 13 64 99
Andrew Miller L 34 4 2 2.77 49 0 48.7 37 15 4 17 65
Michael Wacha R 27 8 7 4.26 23 22 120.3 121 57 15 45 104
Giovanny Gallegos R 27 3 2 3.02 39 0 59.7 50 20 6 17 73
Mike Hauschild R 29 7 7 4.54 22 21 111.0 115 56 13 50 86
Williams Perez R 28 6 6 4.35 20 19 103.3 109 50 11 34 72
Austin Gomber L 25 8 9 4.49 35 22 132.3 133 66 18 55 121
Adam Wainwright R 37 6 6 4.30 19 18 96.3 102 46 11 32 79
Alex Reyes R 24 4 3 4.08 12 12 64.0 58 29 6 38 66
Jordan Hicks R 22 4 3 3.79 75 0 76.0 67 32 3 48 67
John Brebbia R 29 4 3 3.46 57 0 65.0 57 25 9 18 75
Harold Arauz R 24 7 8 4.76 26 22 126.7 136 67 19 44 97
John Gant R 26 8 9 4.64 31 24 137.7 139 71 19 61 116
Luke Gregerson R 35 3 2 3.54 45 0 40.7 36 16 5 12 44
Tyler Webb L 28 2 2 3.99 47 1 58.7 55 26 8 21 60
Bud Norris R 34 4 4 3.83 60 0 51.7 46 22 7 22 61
Ryan Meisinger R 25 3 3 4.14 48 1 67.3 63 31 8 28 65
Tommy Layne L 34 1 1 3.48 37 0 31.0 28 12 2 13 29
Anthony Shew R 25 8 9 4.85 25 24 133.7 150 72 20 42 92
Genesis Cabrera L 22 8 9 5.00 26 24 122.3 127 68 15 72 100
Ryan Helsley R 24 5 6 4.76 18 17 87.0 84 46 11 50 81
Chasen Shreve L 28 4 3 4.17 58 0 54.0 47 25 8 28 64
Connor Jones L 24 6 7 4.80 22 19 95.7 104 51 10 45 63
Derian Gonzalez R 24 4 4 4.56 25 11 53.3 54 27 5 30 41
Seth Elledge R 23 6 5 4.13 47 0 52.3 47 24 5 28 55
Austin Warner L 25 6 7 4.92 23 22 120.7 130 66 16 53 86
Mike Mayers R 27 2 2 4.29 58 0 63.0 64 30 8 23 56
Dominic Leone R 27 3 3 4.33 52 0 52.0 50 25 7 21 53
Evan Kruczynski L 24 5 7 4.99 20 20 97.3 108 54 14 37 68
Brett Cecil L 32 2 2 4.47 53 0 44.3 46 22 5 19 37
Andrew Morales R 26 3 3 4.40 48 0 59.3 56 29 7 33 59
Edward Mujica R 35 2 2 4.56 45 0 47.3 53 24 8 7 32
Hunter Cervenka L 29 2 2 4.62 40 0 37.0 34 19 4 23 36
Chris Beck R 28 1 2 5.00 48 1 63.0 65 35 8 35 45
Roel Ramirez R 24 2 3 5.10 41 2 60.0 64 34 9 28 49
Will Latcham R 23 4 5 4.96 42 0 49.0 48 27 6 31 45
Landon Beck R 26 3 3 4.91 45 0 58.7 61 32 8 31 47
Junior Fernandez R 22 2 3 5.40 21 8 53.3 57 32 5 39 32
Jake Woodford R 22 8 11 5.32 27 26 133.7 153 79 17 67 76
Casey Meisner R 24 5 8 5.80 23 22 111.7 126 72 18 62 73

Pitchers – Rate Stats
Player TBF K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA+ ERA- FIP WAR No. 1 Comp
Carlos Martinez 724 8.71 3.64 0.80 .295 113 88 3.76 3.2 Bob Gibson
Miles Mikolas 737 6.92 1.95 0.92 .296 112 90 3.73 3.0 Frank Sullivan
Jack Flaherty 711 10.22 3.14 1.17 .290 111 90 3.79 2.9 Aaron Sele
Daniel Poncedeleon 529 8.22 4.60 0.91 .293 96 104 4.31 1.3 Kirby Higbe
Dakota Hudson 662 5.94 3.84 0.78 .292 93 108 4.38 1.3 George Culver
Andrew Miller 201 12.02 3.14 0.74 .297 149 67 2.84 1.3 Randy Myers
Michael Wacha 520 7.78 3.37 1.12 .299 94 107 4.21 1.2 Ed Wojna
Giovanny Gallegos 245 11.01 2.56 0.91 .301 137 73 3.02 1.1 Rollie Fingers
Mike Hauschild 497 6.97 4.05 1.05 .299 91 110 4.66 0.9 Don Schwall
Williams Perez 451 6.27 2.96 0.96 .299 92 109 4.30 0.9 Jim Bagby
Austin Gomber 583 8.23 3.74 1.22 .301 89 112 4.50 0.9 Terry Mulholland
Adam Wainwright 419 7.38 2.99 1.03 .310 93 107 4.08 0.9 Mel Harder
Alex Reyes 287 9.28 5.34 0.84 .299 98 102 4.23 0.8 Tim Birtsas
Jordan Hicks 345 7.93 5.68 0.36 .291 106 95 4.07 0.8 Turk Farrell
John Brebbia 269 10.38 2.49 1.25 .293 116 86 3.61 0.8 Rod Beck
Harold Arauz 557 6.89 3.13 1.35 .300 87 115 4.78 0.7 Michael Macdonald
John Gant 609 7.58 3.99 1.24 .295 86 116 4.72 0.7 Mike Dunne
Luke Gregerson 168 9.74 2.66 1.11 .292 117 86 3.54 0.5 Joe Borowski
Tyler Webb 251 9.20 3.22 1.23 .296 104 97 4.10 0.5 Mike Gallo
Bud Norris 224 10.63 3.83 1.22 .300 104 96 4.06 0.5 Kane Davis
Ryan Meisinger 291 8.69 3.74 1.07 .294 100 100 4.15 0.5 Keith Shepherd
Tommy Layne 133 8.42 3.77 0.58 .295 119 84 3.47 0.4 Luis Arroyo
Anthony Shew 589 6.19 2.83 1.35 .304 83 121 4.82 0.4 Nate Cornejo
Genesis Cabrera 564 7.36 5.30 1.10 .303 83 121 5.05 0.4 Greg Kubes
Ryan Helsley 394 8.38 5.17 1.14 .296 84 119 4.83 0.4 Preston Hanna
Chasen Shreve 235 10.67 4.67 1.33 .291 99 101 4.32 0.3 Ron Villone
Connor Jones 434 5.93 4.23 0.94 .303 83 120 4.79 0.3 Derek Thompson
Derian Gonzalez 243 6.92 5.06 0.84 .299 88 114 4.69 0.3 Foster Edwards
Seth Elledge 232 9.46 4.82 0.86 .298 97 103 4.07 0.3 Anthony Chavez
Austin Warner 543 6.41 3.95 1.19 .299 81 123 4.94 0.3 Jeff Kaiser
Mike Mayers 274 8.00 3.29 1.14 .304 93 107 4.26 0.2 Ehren Wassermann
Dominic Leone 224 9.17 3.63 1.21 .303 92 108 4.13 0.1 Miguel Saladin
Evan Kruczynski 435 6.29 3.42 1.29 .303 80 125 4.95 0.1 Ryan Spille
Brett Cecil 196 7.51 3.86 1.02 .306 93 108 4.30 0.1 Mike Venafro
Andrew Morales 266 8.95 5.01 1.06 .299 91 110 4.52 0.1 Marc Pisciotta
Edward Mujica 200 6.08 1.33 1.52 .298 91 110 4.57 0.1 Dick Hall
Hunter Cervenka 167 8.76 5.59 0.97 .294 87 115 4.64 0.0 Matt Whisenant
Chris Beck 287 6.43 5.00 1.14 .291 83 121 5.18 -0.1 Bobby Reis
Roel Ramirez 272 7.35 4.20 1.35 .302 81 123 5.07 -0.2 Jason Szuminski
Will Latcham 226 8.27 5.69 1.10 .298 81 124 4.99 -0.2 Rick Greene
Landon Beck 267 7.21 4.76 1.23 .298 82 123 5.06 -0.2 Barry Hertzler
Junior Fernandez 256 5.40 6.58 0.84 .295 74 135 5.59 -0.2 Mike Thompson
Jake Woodford 618 5.12 4.51 1.14 .302 75 133 5.35 -0.3 Jake Dittler
Casey Meisner 521 5.88 5.00 1.45 .299 69 145 5.79 -0.9 Jason Standridge

Disclaimer: ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors — many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2019. ZiPS is projecting equivalent production — a .240 ZiPS projection may end up being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams, unless I have made a mistake. This is very possible, as a lot of minor-league signings go generally unreported in the offseason.

ZiPS’ projections are based on the American League having a 4.29 ERA and the National League having a 4.15 ERA.

Players who are expected to be out due to injury are still projected. More information is always better than less information, and a computer isn’t the tool that should project the injury status of, for example, a pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery.

Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected zWAR — which is to say, WAR values as calculated by me, Dan Szymborski, whose surname is spelled with a z. WAR values might differ slightly from those which appear in full release of ZiPS. Finally, I will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on a depth chart to produce projected team WAR.

We hoped you liked reading 2019 ZiPS Projections – St. Louis Cardinals by Dan Szymborski!

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Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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Check your second table, Dan. It’s a copy of the first.