CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (03/13)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: H... (03/10)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: A... (03/14)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Bull... (03/13)

March 13, 2006

Team Health Reports

St. Louis Cardinals

by Will Carroll

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Click here for the Cardinals' 2006 depth chart.

Yellow light C - Yadier Molina - Molina has the position and his age working against him, but he also has interesting genetic comparables. It seems like there's a factory down there in Puerto Rico, churning out catchers.

Yellow light 1B - Albert Pujols - At some point, the chronic foot problem is going to catch up to him. I just have no idea what point that is. He's played through that and a torn UCL in his throwing elbow. Short of kryptonite, I don't think he can be stopped.

Red light 2B - Junior Spivey - He's a fragile player with a wrist injury. Add the rest of his health problems to competition at his position and he's likely to get Pipped.

Yellow light 3B - Scott Rolen - Rolen came back from a similar injury before, so that's a plus. It's an all-or-nothing recovery, so that's a minus. People ask if Rolen can get back to his 2004 form. A lot of players don't get hurt and never recapture their peak value. Would you settle for 2003?

Green light SS - David Eckstein - It seems so un-Eckstein to marry an actress. She's on the Disney Channel and on a show with Jeff Foxworthy? Oh, that's more like it.

Green light LF - John Rodriguez / Green light So Taguchi

Yellow light CF - Jim Edmonds - He's not injury prone anymore, but CFers age quickly and suddenly--see Griffey, Finley, et al.

Yellow light RF - Juan Encarnacion - The wrist injury is worrisome and he's 30 this year. There's no other position where the Cards' lack of depth seems as problematic. Pining for Reggie Sanders is going to be an odd emotion for Cardinals fans.

Yellow light Key Sub - Larry Bigbie - Achilles tears don't heal. Shoulder problems can, but haven't with Bigbie.

Yellow light SP - Chris Carpenter - He gets awarded the yellow light almost completely on history. He's been pretty good the last two years and didn't break down at the end of last season as he did in 2004.

Yellow light SP - Mark Mulder - The Cards and Dave Duncan have done wonders with Mulder. Does this take some shine off Rick Peterson?

Green light SP - Jeff Suppan

Green light SP - Jason Marquis

Red light SP - Anthony Reyes - Sidney Ponson will get this spot (he's yellow), but Reyes is only good when healthy, which is seldom. His mechanics are worse than when he was at USC.

Red light CL - Jason Isringhausen - He has to be spotted perfectly, something the Cards have done. Braden Looper is in to take some of the load off and step into the closer role when Izzy breaks down. Thinking of Izzy like Mariano Rivera isn't a bad idea--they both have one problem a year and are great the rest of the time.

--

Walt Jocketty must play fantasy baseball. I know he employs Sig Mejdal, one of the main characters in Fantasyland, and has a relationship with Ron Shandler's crew. What really gives it away is this lineup. It's pure fantasy strategy--studs and scrubs.

One of the recurring themes of injury analysis is positional depth, roster flexibility, and the value of multi-position players. This has been a hallmark of La Russa style, from Tony Phillips to Jose Oquendo to Hector Luna. This year, it's not there unless you believe Scott Spiezio can be resurrected. Kevin Goldstein's detailed the lack of useful, game-ready prospects in the system, so what you see here is roughly what you get, trades notwithstanding. That makes the Cardinals a good team that is shouldering a considerable amount of risk; one injury to the wrong guy or the wrong spot could drop them back into the middle of an NL Central race.

The Cards ride Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, and, if healthy, Scott Rolen a long way. This allows role players like David Eckstein to make the most of the things they do well while La Russa keeps them from being overtasked. Dave Duncan takes discards, retreads, and Mark Mulder and molds them into something that can serve most needs. Every once in a while, he gets a Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, or Chris Carpenter out of the mix.

This team is good enough to top their division rivals, even acknowledging that they've given up wins. Where they simply can't recover is in a major injury to one of their key players. No team can replace an Albert Pujols acceptably. Edmonds would actually be the bigger loss, since his offense and defense are a hard-to-find package. Any pitcher--or a Sidney Ponson flameout--could force the rotation to dance the razor's edge all season long. Adam Wainwright has performed like most ex-Braves (poorly), but honestly remains the best option after Anthony Reyes.

Don't get me wrong. The Cardinals are no worse off than last year: they have enough talent to win the division going away, and the team can deal with the normal nicks and bumps teams get. There are just several scenarios of varying likelihoods that could get ugly quickly.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (03/13)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: H... (03/10)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: A... (03/14)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Bull... (03/13)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article The View from the Loge Level: The Alex Jacks...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Power Outage
Premium Article What You Need to Know: September 19, 2014
Premium Article Raising Aces: Carlos in Charge
Notes About Baseball: The Second-Hardest Par...
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Cueto's Quirks
Premium Article Moonshot: Detecting the Best Medicine

MORE FROM MARCH 13, 2006
Premium Article You Could Look It Up: Upton Further Review
Premium Article Future Shock: 2006 Draft Notebook
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Bullet Point Monday
The Week in Quotes: March 6-12

MORE BY WILL CARROLL
2006-03-15 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Detroit Tigers
2006-03-14 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Atlanta Braves
2006-03-14 - Premium Article World Baseball Classic
2006-03-13 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: St. Louis Cardinals
2006-03-10 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Houston Astros
2006-03-09 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Toronto Blue Jays
2006-03-08 - Team Health Reports: San Diego Padres
More...

MORE TEAM HEALTH REPORTS
2006-03-17 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Boston Red Sox
2006-03-15 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Detroit Tigers
2006-03-14 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Atlanta Braves
2006-03-13 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: St. Louis Cardinals
2006-03-10 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Houston Astros
2006-03-09 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Toronto Blue Jays
2006-03-08 - Team Health Reports: San Diego Padres
More...