St. Louis Cardinals 2020 Season Preview, MLB Picks, Odds, and Predictions

St. Louis Cardinals 2020 Season Preview, MLB Picks, Odds, and Predictions Photo by Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals 2020 Season Preview

A Look at the Cardinals for the 2020 MLB Season

World Series Odds 19/1 -- Over/Under 88.5

The St. Louis Cardinals are looking to improve off a 2019 campaign that saw the Cardinals finish 91-71 atop the NL Central.  St. Louis did not do much in the off season, but did lose some key bats. Let us take a look and see who the Cardinals have returning in their lineup and on the mound. Get MLB Predictions and MLB Picks for every St. Louis Cardinals game at Pick Dawgz.

Offensively

The Cardinals will have a different lineup than last year, with the departure of Marcell Ozuna and with the trade that shipped Jose Martinzez to Tampa Bay.  At times last year both those hitters were the offense. St. Louis will be leaning on first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to carry the load. Goldschmidt is coming off his worst year average wise in a full season in the big leagues.  Goldschmidt hit .260, but still slugged 34 home runs and knocked in 97 runs. The power was still there, but Goldschmidt will be looking to get back to the .300 area average wise. The out field will look completely different, as Ozuna and Martinez are gone.  Tyler O’Neill is expected to start in left field, while Harrison Bader is expected to be the everyday starter in center field, with Dexter Fowler manning right field. O’Neill hit .262 with 5 home runs and 16 rbis in limited time. O’Neill had just 141 at bats, but struck out 53 times and only walked 10 times.  Harrison Bader struggled last season at the plate, finishing the year with a .205 average, while striking out 117 times in 347 at bats. Bader had just .314 on base percentage, but managed to hit 12 home runs. Bader was instrumental for the Redbirds success on defense.  

Fowler has seen his average bounce from .264 to .180 to .238 in 3 years with the Cardinals.  The right fielder had a career high last year, hitting 19 home runs and 67 rbis. St. Louis will be looking for their middle infielders to bring some leadership to the lineup, with Paul DeJong entering his 4th season and Kolton Wong entering his 8th year.  DeJong connected on 30 big flys, while Wong hit a solid .285. The St. Louis staple in Yadier Molina returns for his 17th year, after finishing with a .270 average and driving in 57 runs. Molina is one of few players in this lineup that doesn’t strike out often, only striking out 58 times in 419 at bats last year.  Matt Carpenter and Tommy Edman also return, while Dylan Carlson is expected to play in his first major league season.

Pitching

The Cardinals pitching staff is a question mark at this point.  The St. Louis rotation is led by Jack Flaherty, who finished 11-8 with a 2.75 era.  The CY Young candidate from a year ago had 231 strikeouts in 196.1 innings. Miles Mikolas was given a contract extension last year, after finishing the 2018 season 18-4 with a 2.83 era.  Mikolas did not have the 2019 season he was hoping for, going just 9-14 with a 4.16 era. The sinker baller Dakota Hudson returns after posting a 16-7 record and 3.35 era. The long time battery mate with Molina, Adam Wainwright is back on a 1 year deal, after posting a 14-10 record.  Last year was Wainwright's best year since 2014. 

Carlos Martinez is expected to have the 5th spot in the rotation, but it is uncertain how this will go over.  Martinez was used mainly as the closer last year, finishing with a 3.17 era and 24 saves. The Cardinals will be hoping that lefty Andrew Miller, John Brebbia, John Gant, and Giovanny Gallegos will be able to mirror what the potential they have shown in their careers.  Youngster Junior Fernandez is also expected to see plenty of time out of the bullpen.  

Overview and Prediction

The Cardinals lost some offense from a year ago, as Ozuna and Martinez combined for 39 home runs and 207 hits.  Martinez also hit .538 in the postseason for the Cardinals during 13 at bats. St. Louis will be hoping that more consistent playing time from O’Neill and Bader will pay dividends.  O’Neill, Bader, and Fowler combined for 312 strikeouts in 975 at bats, which calculates to a strikeout rate of 32%. If the Cardinals are going to want to mirror their season from last year, the strikeouts will have to get lowered.  The pitching rotation is questionable, not knowing what Mikolas will bring, as he is slated to miss the start of the season. Will Wainwright be the Waino from last year, or will he decline? How will Martinez fair being back in the rotation?  The pitching brings question marks, while the offense did not get any better from a year ago. I see the Cardinals win total declining from a year ago, as I just don’t think the Cardinals did enough in the offseason.  

 

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Pick Dawgz site consensus.