Yeah I know there has been one game played in this season already. I felt I still have time to write my Cardinals individual preview for the year. The 2015 Cardinals bring with them an energy, a mission. Many of them were not happy with the way the team was defeated in the 2014 National League Championship Series by the San Francisco Giants. If you have read my previous predictions blog, you will know that I have the Cardinals winning the National League Central and losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs.
Five new players made their Opening Day debuts with the Cardinals last night. Manager Mike Matheny has a strong core group with the key newcomer being RF Jason Heyward. Heyward comes to the Cardinals due to the passing of young phenom Oscar Tavares’ passing right after the season ended. The thought on Heyward was to get him here for his walk year and hope to have him resign with the club and be a part of the new core. At 25 years of age, Heyward could have a long bright future wearing the birds on the bat. Coming with Heyward in the trade from Atlanta was hard throwing right hander, Jordan Walden. Walden brings a closer like mentality to the Cardinals bullpen as he slides into the eighth inning role vacated by now starter Carlos Martinez. Matt Belisle and Carlos Villanueva join Walden as newcomers to the Cardinals bullpen and Mark Reynolds joins the team on the bench. Reynolds provides additional power off the bench for the Cardinals with the ability to occasionally start at first or third base. His downside is a bunch of strikeouts and not that great of a batting average.
The thought is that if Jayson Heyward re-signs with the Cardinals, he will join the likes of Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, and Michael Wacha as the potential core that could lead this team for a lot of years to come. All of those players have the ability to be even better than they already are. The Chicago Cubs talk about how they are rebuilding for the future. They don’t get it. You do it with quality players who are more concerned with the team winning then how much money they make or their own personal stats.
The starting pitching on our team looks pretty good on paper. Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez make up this rotation. I will call those first four as pretty darn solid as any rotation in the National League. A fifth starter will not be needed by the Cardinals until April 25th, unless the first four get an extra day off in there, which may not be a bad idea. I believe that is why they sent Marco Gonzales down to Memphis to start. Well that, and you kind of need to have #18 on your Opening Day roster. We shall see how the season plays out with the rotation. All I know is that the bullpen will probably get a lot of innings as none of the staff is considered to be an innings eater. So good luck to Walden, Rosenthal, Belisle, Villanueva, and the rest of the pen because you will probably get lots of work this year.
The Cardinals lineup will not blow a lot of people away but to me it is one thing, and that is solid. If they are all hitting and battling the way they are supposed to be, I do not see an easy out in the lineup. Jason Heyward slides right into the second spot in the lineup.