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MLB Betting – St. Louis Cardinals 2020 Season Preview

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:
May/01/2020

  • At 2-1 odds, the Cardinals are a favorite to win the NL Central

  • Last year’s 91-win division champion squad was paced by solid pitching and impressive defense

  • Pitcher Jack Flaherty was sensational last year going 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP

  • They have veteran leadership but the pitching staff is anchored by a pair of young arms

  • Bookmaker is offering a generous welcome bonus with a maximum of $1000

You can’t argue with the consistency the St. Louis Cardinals have shown over the years. They aren’t flashy and they don’t spend a lot of money on big-name players – they just win baseball games. The Redbirds haven’t finished a season with a losing record in over a decade and they are coming off their fourth NL Central title in seven seasons with nearly the entire lineup intact. That makes them the favorite in a division that should be tight at the top.

2020 St. Louis Cardinals At A Glance

St. Louis Cardinals World Series Odds +2876

St. Louis Cardinals NL Pennant Odds +1438

St. Louis Cardinals NL Central Odds +204

2020 St. Louis Cardinals Overview

There aren’t a lot of changes with this year’s version. One thing the Cardinals have done over the years is keep the roster consistent with very little turnover. That’s a big reason for their success. And they have continually gotten production from players who probably aren’t as good as their numbers indicate. Still it’s hard not to consider the Cards the front-runner in what is expected to be a close division race.

Replacing the output of Marcell Ozuna is a key factor to keep the offense humming. They were average at best ranking 19th in runs scored with a .415 slugging percentage. Ozuna’s 29 homers and 89 RBIs will leave a void. The Cards are counting on internal options to pick up the slack and that’s always an iffy proposition.

Last year’s 91-win division champion squad was paced by solid pitching and impressive defense. The Cards ranked third in defensive efficiency and the gloves will be there in 2020 with the entire infield back. Starters recorded a 3.78 ERA, fifth-best, but the advanced metrics suggest they weren’t that good. And can Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson replicate their 2019 numbers? With regression likely, the Cards will fall back with the pack.


Starting pitcher Jack Flaherty was sensational last season and returns in 2020

Pitching

The changeover from Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha to Flaherty and Hudson at the top of the rotation took place last year. Wacha is now a Met and Wainwright is in his late 30s, so the burden of carrying the team falls back on the two young hurlers.

Flaherty is the front man and was sensational last year going 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Previous seasons didn’t indicate the dominance he showed. The jury is still out on Hudson, who won 16 games with a 3.37 ERA as a rookie. He issued 86 walks to lead MLB and had a 1.41 WHIP. Obviously better command is needed. Miles Mikolas was 9-14 in 32 starts, but his spring included treatment for a sore arm. It’s hard to predict his effectiveness.

Wainwright inked a one-year deal to return after going 14-10. Carlos Martinez is eyeing a spot in the rotation after leading the team in saves in 2019. That’s the ultimate good news-bad news scenario for the Cards. He would be a boost to the rotation but the pen would be without a closer while Jordan Hicks continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Andrew Miller could get the job based on previous experience, though he hasn’t been as effective in recent years.


Paul Goldschmidt pounded 34 homers with 97 RBIs in 2019

Hitting

We touched on the loss of Ozuna and what that means to the offense. Without his production the rest of the lineup needs to improve if the Cards are to remain at the top of the NL Central. There were no big additions instead the Cards will rely on their veteran bats to return to form. Paul Goldschmidt pounded 34 homers with 97 RBIs, but his .260 average was his lowest since becoming a full-time starter. Matt Carpenter also slumped in 2019 hitting .226 with 15 homers. For the Cards to be any better at the dish they need the corner infielders to produce more.

Kolten Wong hit .285 with career-bests in on-base and slugging percentage. Paul DeJong hit 30 homers and played flawlessly at shortstop. However, he hit just .233 and fanned 149 times. Harrison Bader and Dexter Fowler man two outfield spots with Tommy Edman a candidate for playing time. Edman hit .304 with 11 homers in limited action. Top prospect Dylan Carlson will likely get a chance after destroying minor league pitching. As a whole the group looks average at best, and that’s counting on some veterans to have rebound seasons.

2020 St. Louis Cardinals Season Pick

I’m not a Cardinals fan but I like the way the organization is run. They always seem to be at the top of the division even if they aren’t the most talented team. They have veteran leadership but the pitching staff is anchored by a pair of young arms. If Flaherty and Hudson deal, the Cards are a good pick to win the NL Central. An average offense won’t carry them to a playoff run if they get there, though.

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