The Cardinals made the postseason in 2021 thanks to a historic late-season charge. Their franchise-record 17-game winning streak was one of the season’s best stories. It enabled the Cards to reach the postseason, where they fell to the Dodgers in a thrilling NL Wild Card Game, 3-1.
This year’s team has a new voice in the dugout — first-year manager Oliver Marmol — as well as a new-but-old name back in the middle of the lineup: Albert Pujols. The 42-year-old future Hall of Famer will be in a starting lineup on Opening Day for the 22nd time in his career, tied for the second-most in MLB history. Let’s look at the rest of St. Louis’ projected roster.
Update, Opening Day — Here’s a look at the Cardinals lineup for Opening Day vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates:
Cardinals 4/7 - https://t.co/ODGJ7Yx6i9— FantasyLabs MLB (@FantasyLabsMLB) April 7, 2022
St. Louis Cardinals projected starting lineup
1. Dylan Carlson (RF)
2. Paul Goldschmidt (1B)
3. Tyler O’Neill (LF)
4. Nolan Arenado (3B)
5. Albert Pujols (DH)
6. Paul DeJong (SS)
7. Yadier Molina (C)
8. Harrison Bader (CF)
9. Tommy Edman (2B)
Pujols should really play solely against left-handed pitchers. Otherwise, you will probably see Corey Dickerson or Lars Nootbaar in the lineup. This lineup’s top four is a strong group, headed by a burgeoning star in O’Neill. Edman spent much of last season in the leadoff spot, but given his career .321 on-base percentage across more than 1,100 at-bats, it makes sense to move him down in favor of Carlson, who had a .343 OBP and finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2021. DeJong has been a negative at the plate over the past two seasons. If he doesn’t get off to a fast start, top prospect Nolan Gorman might take his spot in the lineup, settle in at second base and move Edman over to short.
1. Adam Wainwright
2. Miles Mikolas
3. Steven Matz
4. Dakota Hudson
5. Drew VerHagen
Wainwright, 40, will have to shoulder the Cards’ rotation yet again, especially with Jack Flaherty shelved by shoulder injury for at least the first month of the season. Wainwright’s 2021 season — 206.1 innings, 3.05 ERA, 174 strikeouts — was his best in seven years. Matz has been brought in from the Mets to help, and St. Louis will be depending on Mikolas and Hudson to solidify this group. First, those two guys need to stay healthy; they have combined to pitch fewer than 100 innings through the past two seasons.