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Cardinals 2016 projections don’t inspire confidence

If the projections on baseball-reference.com are accurate, it’s going to be a long season for St. Louis Cardinals fans.

Unless, that is, the Redbirds decide to buck up and get the offensive help they so desperately need.

The projections indicate that no Cardinals player will collect as many as 70 RBIs and that reclamation project Brandon Moss stands as the only St. Louis player likely to collect as many as 18 home runs.

The only starter expected to hit better than .300 -- or .280 for that matters -- is Stephen Piscotty at .305. The next highest starter is Matt Carpenter with a .279 average.

PLAYER AVG HR RBI

Carpenter .279 16 65

Piscotty .305 9 44

Holliday .272 12 54

Grichuk .270 16 46

Peralta .269 17 67

Moss .235 22 68

Molina .278 8 58

Wong .259 13 55

For the most part, the numbers seem pretty fair. There isn’t a lot of room for upside with the possible exception of the power numbers of Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty.

I’m a little surprised, with the way Grichuk slugged the ball between a couple of nagging injuries, that he isn’t expected to hit 20 or more over the boards with his first chance for playing time as a starter.

While his sample size was much smaller, Piscotty seemed to show a much greater knack for driving in runs than the projections indicate he’ll accomplish in his first full season in the majors.

Piscotty hit seven homers in 233 at-bats in 2015 and drove in 39 runs. Yet he’s expected to earn only 297 at bats with nine homers and 44 batted in during the upcoming season? I think those appearance numbers seem low even if Jason Heyward would have returned because Piscotty would have been able to move all over the outfield and play third base. But with no incumbent right fielder to block him, I have to imagine he’s going to make at least 500 trips to the dish.

The pitching projections don’t look much more optimistic. The worst projected ERA belongs to Mike Leake at a still respectable 3.76. But the Cardinals don’t figure to strike out many hitters, putting pressure on an aging defense and a weak offense. The other team will know, without much quick strike ability from St. Louis, they can take advantage of their ability to make contact and manufacture runs one at a time.

PITCHER W-L ERA K

Wainwright 7-4 2.97 77

Wacha 12-7 3.38 142

Martinez 9-6 3.43 138

Leake 10-9 3.76 127

Garcia 9-6 3.28 104

The big wild card here is the durability of the staff, especially Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia.

Is it likely Wainwright will be able to re-establish himself as a Cy Young candidate after a year-long layoff? If so, will he be able to make it through the whole season without recurring troubles. And was Garcia’s 2015 a fluke or the new normal. Both Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez had issues by the end of the season. So it will be interesting to see if they’re recovered and ready to go for an uninterrupted season.

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