2009 regular season record: 91-71, First place, NL Central
2009 playoff record: 0-3, lost in NLDS to L.A. Dodgers
Major Offseason Acquisitions: Brad Penny (SF), Felipe Lopez (MIL)
Major Offseason Losses: Rick Ankiel (KC), Mark DeRosa (SF), Troy Glaus (ATL), Joel Pineiro (LAA), Todd Wellemeyer (SF), Joe Thurston (ATL)
Projected Lineup (2009 stats):
- 2B-Skip Shumaker (.303 BA, .364 OBP, 4 HR. 35 RBI,)
- SS-Brendan Ryan (.292 BA, .340 OBP, 3 HR 37 RBI, 14 SB)
- 1B-Albert Pujols (.327 BA, .443 OBP, 46 HR, 135 RBI, 16 SB)
- LF-Matt Holliday (.313 BA, .394 OBP, 24 HR, 109 RBI, 14 SB)
- RF-Ryan Ludwick (.365 BA, .329 OBP, 22HR, 97 RBI)
- CF-Colby Rasmus (.251 BA, .307 OBP, 16 HR, 52 RBI)
- C-Yadier Molina (.293 BA, .366 OPB, 6 HR, 54 RBI)
- 3B-David Freese (.323 BA, .353 OBP, 1 HR. 7 RBI)
Projected Starting Rotation/Closer (2009 stats):
- RHP Chris Carpenter (17-4, 2.24 ERA, 192.2 IP)
- RHP Adam Wainwright (19-8, 2.63 ERA, 233.0 IP)
- RHP Brad Penny (11-9, 4.88 ERA, 173.1 IP)
- RHP Kyle Lohse (6-10, 4.74 ERA, 117.2 IP)
- RHP Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.63 ERA, 16.0 IP)
Closer: RHP Ryan Franklin (1.92 ERA, 38 saves)
2010 outlook: The Cardinals, picked by many to make it all the way to the World Series last season, flamed out in the playoffs on their way to being swept in the first round by the Dodgers.
Consistently among the best in the game, the Cards’ pitching staff was stellar once again in ’09, led by a pair of Cy Young candidates at the top in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.
While the loss of Joel Pineiro could hurt, St. Louis is hoping young Jaime Garcia will be able to pick up some of the slack.
The Cardinals also possess one of the league’s most feared lineups.
The quartet of Pujols, Holliday, Ludwick, and Rasmus are all capable of hitting 20+ home runs and driving in over 100 runs.
The two at the top, Shumaker and Ryan, know how to get on base and serve as perfect table-setters for the middle of the order.
Closer Ryan Franklin had a break out season last year, and hopes to continue his bearded, dominant ways at the back end of the bullpen.
The Cardinals are one of the more well-rounded teams in all of baseball, and they’ll be very tough to beat in the NL Central.
2010 prediction: 95-67, First place, NL Central