No, it isn’t THAT kind of fantasy. It’s “fantasy baseball”, and it might be the only time that most Cardinal fans worry about a player’s “bulging…….disc” or a player “experiencing stiffness” during spring training. Sure, a lot of fans are concerned about Allen Craig‘s post-surgical rehab work, but only a fantasy baseball nut would have text updates sent to his/her phone on an hourly basis.
Why go through all that when you can just bookmark this page for everything you need to know about the Cardinals and fantasy baseball?
Be prepared for Matt Holliday to be the first Cardinal taken off the board, and it won’t likely happen all that early in your draft. Although he produces on a consistent basis, the outfield is loaded with other guys who can stuff the stat sheet day after day. Just contemplate this list of outfielders I would consider taking ahead of Holliday:
- Matt Kemp
- Jose Bautista
- Justin Upton
- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Carlos Gonzalez
- Curtis Granderson
- Giancarlo Stanton (aka Mike Stanton)
- Ryan Braun
- Andrew McCutchen
- Josh Hamilton
Might as well throw in dual threat players Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist, and Lance Berkman as well, because all 3 can play an infield position as well as an outfield one (or at least they qualify that way). The point is that you might be the biggest Holliday fan in the world, but you don’t take him in the 2nd round of a 6 team draft.
Lance Berkman represents an interesting dilemma. He may very well be a viable option at both 1B and the OF, so in leagues that use a corner infielder position (CI) and a utility position, he has a lot of value. It just becomes a matter of where you are drafting him to play. Unless you are in a really small league, it is unlikely that he will be available as your CI, but that would be great coverage for your team. It is definitely a luxury to pick and choose where to play a guy who drove in 94 runs and had a .959 OPS last season.
Chris Carpenter‘s current injury creates some questions about his status, but it shouldn’t affect his draft status a whole lot. Keep in mind that he had some hard luck losses and a few blown saves hurt his numbers last season, but he is still a workhorse. On the other hand, I would be tempted to take Jaime Garcia over Carpenter, because Garcia’s career arc seems to be going up while Carp’s is winding down. Tough call, but the health issue has me giving the nod to Garcia right now, although that speaks to Garcia’s improvement more than it does Carpenter’s decline. Of course, I wouldn’t say any of this to Carpenter’s face.
Carlos Beltran is worth taking a risk on, especially if you believe that he will stay healthy and hit near the top of the lineup. Potentially, hitting in front of Holliday, Berkman, and Freese should provide more than enough protection for Beltran, and that trio should also help push him across the plate on a regular basis. The Cardinals need Beltran to be an on-base machine more than a power guy, so that is what I would recommend drafting him to be. If you need 30 hr, then look elsewhere.
If you don’t have Jason Motte on your short list of guys who can get to the 40 save mark this season, then you are doing fantasy baseball wrong. Now that he is finally the “closer”, we can all start treating him like one. Had he qualified as just a closer last season, his 0.956 WHIP would have been good enough to put him in the top 5. Given his ability to get hot and run off an extended scoreless inning streak or two, I have trouble believing that he isn’t on a lot of radars as a 2nd closer. I know that I was personally excited to pick him up in the 21st round of a 25 round draft this year.
The biggest question mark on the Cardinals is Adam Wainwright. Prior to his season ending injury last year, he was one of the top 3 starters in the NL and a top 10 pitcher in all of baseball. Well, his stock certainly has fallen quite a lot, but I wouldn’t be afraid to draft him as a #3 pitcher on your roster. That may be a bit higher than a lot of fantasy league draft guides have him, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of those writers haven’t watched a lot of Wainwright in action. He has a ways to go to reach his old form, but he can still strike people out and win some games without his best stuff. If he really does return to his ace status completely, then he will be a bargain as your 3rd starting pitcher selected.
TIDBIT: I was exaggerating when I mentioned hourly text updates about Allen Craig’s injury status. However, if you know of a vendor that provides this service, I’m all ears.
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