Publish date:

3 CARDINALS

Author:

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP ST. LOUIS

This is a potentially explosive offense. Hitting cleanup behind a bunch of guys who are good at getting on base, Marcell Ozuna is going to shine. Last year he was in unbelievable shape and went to another level. He's a 35-home-run guy and his defense and speed are underrated.... The Cardinals clearly weren't sure what they had in Tommy Pham. Don't kid yourself, he's a quality big league player—he cut down his strikeouts and was their best all-around player last year. A classic case of a guy who never got an opportunity.... Paul DeJong was an even bigger surprise. A guy like him hits 38 home runs between the big leagues and Triple A? Tell me that the baseballs aren't juiced.... Carlos Martínez struggled a bit down the stretch, but on half the teams in the league, he is a legit ace.... Adam Wainwright can still locate but his stuff is without question a notch down. Miles Mikolas is the wild card in the rotation coming over from Japan, where he put up great numbers—but we've seen guys coming from there who've struggled.... Luke Gregerson still has a good slider he can throw anytime, but they really need reliever Brett Cecil to have a better year. They'll be shopping for bullpen help at the trade deadline.... A lot will have to break right for them to stay with Chicago, but they'll be in the mix for a wild-card spot.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

It's been a while since Cards fans had to endure a rough season. Their boys have been in the playoffs 12 times since 2000 and have been under .500 just once this century. What they haven't had of late, though, is a big power bat; in the last five seasons, just one St. Louis hitter hit 30 homers (Jedd Gyorko, 2016). Enter Marcell Ozuna, picked up from the yard sale known as the Miami Marlins. Ozuna broke out last year with 37 long balls and a .548 slugging percentage. No Cardinal has hit that many homers since Albert Pujols hit 42 back in '10. For a team that was third in the NL in OBP but just 10th in slugging, Ozuna is exactly what the doctor ordered. He's also 27 years old, making just $9 million this year, and controlled for '19 as well.

OVER / UNDER

85.5

The addition of Marcell Ozuna makes this a potent offense, but if Carlos Martínez and Luke Weaver underperform, the Cards will fall short of the playoffs.

THE LINEUP

1. RIGHTFIELD

Dexter Fowler

.260 BA/15 HR/10 SB

2. CENTERFIELD

Tommy Pham

.265 BA/20 HR/18 SB

3. FIRST BASE

Matt Carpenter

.380 OBP/.454 SLG/19 HR

4. LEFTFIELD

Marcell Ozuna

.286 BA/.515 SLG/30 HR

5. THIRD BASE

Jedd Gyorko

.258 BA/.455 SLG/23 HR

6. CATCHER

Yadier Molina

.275 BA/11 HR/6 SB

7. SHORTSTOP

Paul DeJong

.257 BA/.460 SLG/24 HR

8. SECOND BASE

Kolten Wong

.270 BA/11 HR/12 SB

THE STAFF

FANTASY BREAKOUT

1. RH STARTER

Luke Weaver

10 W/3.79 ERA/9.0 K9

His strikeout rate and ability to keep balls in play on the ground is evidence of top-of-the-rotation potential.

2. RH STARTER

Carlos Martínez

13 W/3.74 ERA/9.0 K9

3. RH STARTER

Michael Wacha

11 W/3.98 ERA/1.30 WHP

4. RH STARTER

Adam Wainwright

8 W/4.44 ERA/1.40 WHP

CLOSER

Luke Gregerson

19 SV/3.60/8.9 K9

THE SKIPPER

Mike Matheny