2016 Recap & 2017 Outlook
The Cardinals missed out on a Wild Card spot by one game last season, and were sort of an in an awkward spot. The Cardinals boasted the fifth best team wOBA in the league, and the 12th best team ERA. However, this was a team that wasn't heavily used in DFS terms. They averaged 4.81 runs per game, which was top five, but a lot of their damage was done on the road. The Cards were the darlings of the NL Central for a while, but the tides have changed, their rivals have taken a stronghold on the division. This season looks to be very similar to last year, where they will be a productive team, but will be overlooked for fantasy purposes on a daily basis. St. Louis added Dexter Fowler, and the front four looks more stackable then it did last year. The pitching staff will need to be seen before I dive in this year. Carlos Martinez is the standout option from this group, while the rest are subpar when it comes to the strikeout department, which is key to success in the daily world.
Additions: Dexter Fowler
Subtractions: Matt Holiday, Jaime Garcia
Busch Stadium isn't a friendly hitter's park, suppressing home runs from both sides of the plate. As far as extra base hits go, they are pretty pedestrian numbers compared to the rest of the league. The Cardinals scored a run per game more on the road, yet the pitching staff didn't really take advantage of the home ballpark. Busch ranked 22nd in runs, and 21st in home runs, per ESPN's Park Factors List. Unless there is a gas can on the hill, you won't find a ton of offense in Busch Stadium. As mentioned earlier, the top half of the lineup is looking a bit easier to use, but you will mostly find better options in given slates.
|Lineup Order||Player||Position||2016 wOBA vs. RHP||2016 ISO vs. RHP||2016 wOBA vs. LHP||2016 ISO vs. LHP|
2016 Statistics Used
Pitching Outlook & Notes
DFS Rotation Grade: C+
DFS Studs: Carlos Martinez
If there is anyone to really highlight this Cardinals rotation, it is Carlos Martinez. He finished tenth in ERA, and 32nd in strikeout rate. Martinez has been a solid DFS arm, due to his ability to keep the ball on the ground, alongside taking advantage of strikeout prone teams. At just 25 years old, Martinez is coming off back to back seasons near an even three ERA. He made a small improvement against left-handed hitters, which he struggled with early on in his career.
Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha are sort of similar arms when it comes to daily fantasy baseball. They both are below average in the strikeout department, and rely on having a good BABIP. Mike Leake is also an extreme version of this, with even more subpar strikeout numbers, and relying on balls in play. Wainwright is who he is at this stage in his career, while Leake's game has always been this. After a three sample size for Wacha, this is likely what we are going to get out of him. All three are heavily matchup dependent fantasy options.
Lance Lynn missed the 2016 season, and if healthy could be in for a nice season. Lynn is a talented arm, boasting a career 3.37 ERA and a 23% strikeout rate. Given he had his surgery some time ago, he should be under no restriction this season. Lynn easily offers the most upside out of the guys not named Carlos Martinez.
Lineup Outlook & Notes
DFS Stacking Grade: C+
DFS Studs: Matt Carpenter, Aledmys Diaz, Stephen Piscotty
I am curious to see how the Cardinals lineup looks in the regular season, with Matt Adams not in the projected lineup. Matt Carpenter is expected to start the season at first base, which would sort of hurt his value when he gets moved on the two sites. Carpenter is one of the best left-handed hitters in the game, and has upped his power over the last two seasons. He hit 28 home runs in 2015, and 21 home runs in 2016, but had about 20 fewer games. It is hard to see him getting up near 2015 home run numbers, which is why he will find himself overlooked if he gets moved to first base in the player pools.
Shortstop has become a stacked position of young talent, and Aledmys Diaz inserted himself into that pool last season. He hit .300, with 17 home runs, and 65 RBI. This was over 111 games. Diaz had an impressive strikeout rate for his experience, and hammered right-handed pitching, with a .393 wOBA. He is a late bloomer compared to the other names, but will be a top play at the position at times.
Dexter Fowler moved over from the division rival Cubs, who hit .276 last season, with 84 runs. His peripheral numbers should be relatively similar to his time in Chicago, but with a .350 BABIP last year, I expect the average to come down a little. Fowler can turn around and hit lefties well, so note that. He had a .380 wOBA off southpaws last season, and his strikeout rate dropped 10%. Speaking of mashing left-handers, Stephen Piscotty was an absolute stud against southpaws. Piscotty owned a .406 wOBA and a .255 ISO.