Predicting the 2012 Cardinals: position by position
After a wild and unexpected year from the Cardinals, it is time to forget about last year and begin to look forward and predict the 2012 Cardinals. The 2012 team will look a lot different than last year’s World Champion team by many means, long tenured manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan have left the team by retirement and for Duncan a “leave of absence”, slugger Albert Pujols left via free agency to make a huge 10 year contract with the LA Angels of Anaheim, and other players like Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Nick Punto, Gerald Laird, and Ryan Theriot also will not be returning. But there is a lot to look forward too and I honestly beleive the Cardinals will have a shot at repeating for the World Championship next season. They have a new refreshing manager in Mike Matheny, they have their ace Adam Wainwright returning from Tommy John surgery, a new bat in Carlos Beltran, and a lot of young players with huge potential like David Freese, Jaime Garcia, Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Tyler Greene, and Daniel Descalso to name a few. They also have top prospect Shelby Miller nearing his way to the major’s, and who know’s he may make his way to the majors as soon as 2012. Now it is time to take a look position by position at my predictions of the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals.
After missing all of 2011, I think Wainwright will comeback stronger than ever before, the only thing that might hurt him is the team wanting to be careful with him and limiting him with pitch counts and innings cap’s, which might hurt his numbers. But I for see him, winning the NL Comeback player of the year award and maybe even being a Cy young contender.
2011 stats: Did not play.
2012 predictions: 16-8, 2.47 ERA, 203 k’s.
Carpenter struggled the first half of the season and many thought he was done, however he shut everyone up in the second half and became known as “Darth Carp” or ” Mad Man” as he managed to pitch like a monster and most notably in game 5 of the NLDS, as he showed he still had a lot to play for, he also signed an extension in September locking him up through 2013. I think he will be a co-ace to this team an maybe even a Cy young candidate.
2011 stats: 11-9, 3.45 ERA, 191 K’s.
2012 predictions: 18-8, 2.89 ERA, 189 K’s.
A pitcher with extreme potential, Garcia showed he could be both an Ace and a minor league pitcher last season. If he can capture his potential and not bring all of his nerves and emotions on the field, he will be much more than a number three starter for the Cardinals in 2012 and beyond.
2011 stats: 13-7, 3.56 ERA, 156 K’s.
2012 predictions: 17-7, 2.72 ERA, 188 K’s.
Lohse as been the most unpredictable pitcher for the Cardinals since 2008, he has shown he could be a number one or two starter as well as a four or five, he has been up and down and if he can pitch like he did in the second half of 2011, the Cardinals will be just fine.
2011 stats: 14-8, 3.39 ERA, 111 K’s.
2012 predictions: 13-10, 3.78 ERA, 117 K’s.
Westbrook is without a doubt a duncan-failure, a non-fan favorite, and he may not even last the whole year as the teams fifth starter. He has been put on the trade block and the team has been linked to Roy Oswalt as a replacement or even bringing in Lance Lynn or Shelby Miller into the rotation if Westbrook fails to have success.
2011 stats: 12-9, 4.66 ERA, 104 K’s.
2012 predictions: 9-12, 5.05 ERA, 88 K’s.
Sanchez has supreme potential and is a personal favorite of mine and of the website’s, thus creating the nickname “The Sanchez-i-nator” last year. He could be the closer of the future but at least for now, he is a set-up guy for Jason Motte.
2011 stats: 3-1, 1.80 ERA, 35 K’s, 5 saves.
2012 predictions: 3-1, 1.86 ERA, 70 K’s, 5 Saves.
Salas like Sanchez is a young pitcher with huge potential as a set-up man. He showed he could pitch multiple innings, set-up, and even close last season as he led the team with saves.
2011 stats: 5-6, 2.28 ERA, 75 K’s, 24 saves.
2012 predictions: 2-4, 2.89 ERA, 66 K’s, 3 Saves.
A personal favorite of mine, a guy I love to root for, Lynn is one of the most versatile members of the pitching staff. He can start, pitch long relief, set-up, and I’m sure he could close if given the chance. He is tall, big, and strong and he can get the strike out’s if needed, he really came on strong in the post-season when he was added to the roster once again.
2011 stats: 1-1, 3.12 ERA, 40 k’s.
2012 predictions: 6-4, 3.01 ERA, 68 K’s.
Whether or not K Mac lasts the entire season with the Cardinals or not, he is still as of now part of this team so I must predict him. McClellan had a rough second half last year after being stated as having a “dead-arm” which kept him off of the post season rosters. McClellan has a lot of value however, he can start, pitch middle relief, long relief, set-up, and maybe even close if given the shot. He has been listed in numerous trade rumors this off-season due to the Cardinals surplus of right handed arms, and I expect him to be eventually traded.
2011 stats: 12-7, 4.09 ERA, 76 K’s.
2012 predictions: 2-5, 4.01 ERA, 49 K’s.
“Zeppo”, “Scrabble”, “R-Zep”, or whatever you want to call him, Marc is our top left handed reliever with potential to be a future starter once Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook‘s days in Cardinal red are over. You will see a lot of Zeppo next year and I guarantee that he will lead the team in games appeared by a pitcher.
2011 stats: 2-6, 3.34 ERA, 61 K’s. (TOR/STL)
2012 predictions: 4-4, 2.83 ERA, 57 K’s.
Romero the newest member of the Cardinals bullpen, hopes to become a stable and reliable force out of the bullpen from the left side. He along with Zeppo are the teams only left handed relievers so expect to see Romero a lot coming in to face left handed batters.
2011 stats: 1-0, 4.01 ERA, 19 K’s. (PHI/COL)
2012 predictions: 1-2, 3.68 ERA, 33 K’s.
Im going to go out on a limb and say that the recently signed right handed pitcher Scott Linebrink will make the majors at some point, because he is a very talented and tough veteran reliever who knows his way around the big leagues and I think he still has some gas left in the tank. He should contribute to the Cardinals or another team next season but I doubt it will be a minor league one.
2011 stats: 4-4, 3.64 ERA, 42 K’s, one save. (ATL)
2012 predictions: 3-2, 3.75 ERA, 39 K’s.
The teams post season hero along with David Freese and Allen Craig last season, Motte was finally dubbed the closer role after TLR retired. Motte is one of my favorite players in baseball and I have loved him since I saw him first pitch back in 2008, he has a great fast ball and each year he improves on his breaking ball, he set a record of appearances by a right handed pitcher in the Cardinals organization last year and I expect a huge year from him as a full time closer.
2011 stats: 5-2, 2.25 ERA, 76 K’s, 9 Saves.
2012 predictions: 4-2, 2.88 ERA, 39 Saves, 78 k’s.
The three time All Star, four time Gold Glove winner, and newly appointed face of the franchise, Yadier Molina is truly a fan favorite and I expect him to have a big year. Last year he showed he could match his defense with some offense setting career highs in average, hits, home runs, and RBI’s. He is also headed into a contract year, unless the Cardinals manage to lock him up sometime this off-season so he has a lot to prove.
2011 stats: .305, 14 HR, 65 RBI’s.
2012 predictions: .308 AVG, 17 HR, 75 RBI.
Cruz won over the hearts of many fans with his clutch hitting and versatility when he was called up to replace Gerald Laird on the roster after Larid hit the DL last season. Though there is slated to be a battle for the back-up position between Cruz, Bryan Anderson, and Koyie Hill in spring training, I expect Cruz to win the job.
2011 stats: .262 AVG, 0 HR, 6 RBI.
2012 predictions: .269 AVG, 2 HR, 18 RBI.
Berkman the 2011 Comeback player of the year, was one of the best stories in baseball last season. He made GM John Mozeliak look like a genius, by signing for a 8 million deal and performing at a much higher level which earned him a 12 million dollar extension headed into 2012. I highly doubt he is able to put up the same numbers as he did last year but who know’s in baseball?
2011 stats: .301 AVG, 31 HR, 94 RBI.
2012 predictions: .291 AVG, 26 HR, 88 RBI
Greene the love child of John Mozeliak is slated to get the starting job at second and finally get a shot to play now that TLR is not there to put him in the dog house. He is also slated to be the back-up short stop behind the injury plagued Rafael Furcal, so expect to see him play somewhere if he is not at second base. He might also become trade bait or get released if he is unable to perform.
2011 stats: .212 AVG, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 11 stolen bases.
2012 predictions: .274 AVG, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 19 stolen bases.
Another young guy who will get a shot at second, and backing up at short and third, is Daniel Descalso. Daniel Descalso or “D-Money” became a fan favorite with his grittiness and clutch hitting last season. I think he will be one of the most used players off of the bench or he may even win the second base job.
2011 stats: .264 AVG, 1 HR, 28 RBI.
2012 predictions: .284 AVG, 4 HR, 42 RBI.
A true leader in the clubhouse and on the field, Rafael Furcal signed to a two year deal in the off-season worth a ridiculous 14 million. Furcal is a great player with great numbers in the past but he is past his prime and has been stuck struggling with injuries in the last few seasons, and has missed a great deal of games. Hopefully he can manage to stay healthy, and I think he will be a good force at the lead off spot in the line up.
2011 stats: .231 AVG, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 9 stolen bases. (LAD/STL)
2012 predictions: .280 AVG, 9 HR, 60 RBI, 10 stolen bases.
Maybe the new face of the franchise, Freese the hometown hero proved his potential in the post season where he won the NLCS and WS MVP awards and set a post season record with 21 RBI’s. He has great opposite field power, he is a clutch hitter, and a big RBI guy, but like Furcal he has struggled to stay healthy and has yet to play more than 97 games in a season. However if he stays healthy I think he will have a HUGE year offensively and enjoy his spot in the limelight even more.
2011 stats: .297 AVG, 10 HR, 55 RBI.
2012 predictions: .315 AVG, 26 HR, 108 RBI.
Another candidate for franchise player, Matt Holliday will be getting the most money from the Cardinals from now until 2016. Holliday is a pure hitter with some pop and I believe he will have a monster year after a disappointing 2011 season in which he saw more time on the DL than ever before. I think he could be a candidate for the 2012 MVP award and people will be saying “Pujols who?”
2011 stats: .296 AVG, 22 HR, 75 RBI.
2012 predictions: .322 AVG, 34 HR, 128 RBI.
The biggest signing of a player outside of the organization since Jason Isringhausen was the 2 year 26 million dollar deal that was inked by Carlos Beltran in the off-season a month or so after the departure of Albert Pujols. Beltran had a great season last year coming back strong after missing most of the 2010 and 2009 seasons with injuries, so he like Furcal and Freese will have health concerns but I believe if he stays healthy he will be a big contributor to the 2012 team.
2011 stats: .300 AVG, 22 HR, 84 RBI. (NYM/SFG)
2012 predictions: .286 AVG, 22 HR, 91 RBI.
Maybe a superstar in the making, Craig has huge potential yet he has not been given the chances he deserves. He will miss atleast the first month of the season while rehabbing his knee which was surgically repaired earlier in the off-season. Craig has a big bat and he may be able to hit 30 or more home runs if he can stay healthy and play everyday.
2011 stats: .315 AVG, 11 HR, 40 RBI.
2011 predictions: .325 AVG, 24 HR, 78 RBI.
Jay’s playing time may be diminished with the signing of Beltran and with the emergence of Allen Craig but I think Matheny will be able to play him as much as possible to get his bat in the lineup. Jay has a good glove, speed, and a good bat which makes him a good player and possibly even trade bait.
2011 stats: .297 AVG, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 6 stolen bases.
2012 predictions: .285 AVG, 18 HR, 67 RBI, 9 stolen bases.
Schumaker signed on to be in more of a utility role this season than a starting second baseman. I think he will be played more in the outfield but he should still get the occasional infield start. Skip is a team leader, fan favorite, and overall good guy so I wish him the best of luck in the rest of his career as a Cardinal.
2011 stats: .283 AVG, 2 HR, 38 RBI.
2012 predictions: .300, 4 HR, 34 RBI.
Chambers is a fan favorite of our website, and I think he could be a fan favorite of all of Cardinal Nation if given a chance for more playing time. He is young, athletic, has speed, and is very energetic as seen in the post season. I think he will win over the last outfielder spot and really try to keep his mark on the roster.
2011 stats: .375, 0 HR, 4 RBI.
2012 predictions: .320, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 12 stolen bases.
Other Thoughts and Predictions:
- I can see guys like Shelby Miller, Maikel Cleto, Matt Carpenter, Brandon Dickson, and maybe even Matt Adams get a call up this year, before September and I would definitely expect to see Miller at some point whether he is starting or relieving I think he will contribute to the team and be a huge force near the end of the season and post season. Adams is a more interesting story, he may make the team if he can play the outfield well, but that might be a stretch, however I think he will get a call in September or earlier if there is an injury to Berkman which could happen sadly due to his injury history, also guys like Craig, Beltran, and Furcal will also have to prove to stay healthy.
- I left Mitchell Boggs of of this list because I think there is a realistic shot that he will not be a part of the 2012 Cardinals after an up and down season last year and the fact that the Cardinals have an abundance of right handed relievers.
- I think the Cardinals will be just fine without La Russa, Duncan, and Pujols even though they will all be missed in their own way I am looking forward to new opportunities and fresh faces at roles that have seen the same face for 11 plus years.
- I honestly believe the Cardinals will not only reach the Post-Season but defend their World Championship once again, which is why I encourage the #12in12 Hashtag.
- I could see the Cardinals having a monster year with MVP candidates like Holliday and Berkman as well as Cy Young candidates in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, the key to this upcoming season is health and depth, and if they can stay healthy and stay true to their potential we will see another World Championship once again.
- Thank you all for reading and taking your time to follow me and I encourage you to spread the site to everyone you know who is a Cardinal fan.