2010 St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Preview
For the third time in five years, the St. Louis Cardinals (91-71) finished first in the N.L. Central. The team added a bunch of talent to ensure they’d have a shot at the division crown and it worked. But some, like John Smoltz and Mark DeRosa, are gone. The biggest arrival, in fact the only key one, for the 2010 season is pitcher Brad Penny. Despite losing more than a half-dozen key players, the Cards look like aces.
The pitching staff if formidable. It includes Chris Carpenter (17-4, 2.24 ERA, 144 SO) and Adam Wainwright (1908, 2.63, 212 SO). Carpenter is a true ace who sports a range of pitches including a 95-mph fastball. Wainwright works four pitches—fastball, cutter, curve and straight change.
The rest of the rotation includes three more righties—Kyle Lohse (6-10, 4.74 ERA, 77 SO), Blake Hawksworth (4-0, 2.03 ERA, 20 SO) and Brad Penny (16-4, 3.03 ERA, 109 SO). Lohse dealt with some injuries last season. If healthy, he could contribute double-digit wins. Hawksworth offers a unique delivery that keeps hitters off balance. Penny, who can have attitude issues, is a flyball pitcher who excels at varying his delivery.
Closer Ryan Franklin (4-5, 1.92 ERA, 38 SV, 44 SO) is the type of pitcher whose arm recovers quickly and who can pitch in any number of roles. Kyle McClellan (4-4, 3.38 ERA, 51 SO) is a solid setup guy.
The offense is impressive and first baseman Albert Pujols (.327 BA, 47 HR, 135 RBI) is the vortex of that offense. He ‘s a masterful hitter. Skip Schumaker (.303 BA, 4 HR, 35 RBI) can make things happen at the plate when he’s down in the count. Left fielder Matt Holliday (.313 BA, 24 RBI, 109 RBI), who came over from Colorado midseason, makes pitchers pay when they make mistakes. Catcher Yadier Molina (.293 BA, 6 HR, 54 RBI) is a fine contact hitter and superb receiver. He’s got a great arm and release for taking out runners. Brendan Ryan (.292 BA, 3 HR, 37 RBI) doesn’t have power but he can get the bat on the ball and he does possess speed.
Tony La Russa is a master and he still have one of the finest pitching coaches, Dave Duncan, on board. Duncan almost retired but decided to come back for a 15th year with La Russa. The Cards added Mark McGwire as a hitting coach. For GM John Mozeliak last season was a combination of feast and famine—great season followed by a terrible post-season.
The Cardinals are for real. In a division that certainly has some very fine teams and that tops out with six clubs, the N.L. Central always seems to be an extra tough one to win. La Russa’s experience and smarts are a huge plus. The St. Louis Cardinals look to win the division outright and if they do expect them to go all the way to the World Series. These guys are not capable of two disappointing post-seasons.
For more info on St. Louis check out the MLB website for the Cardinals.