TMS MLB Preview 2009: St. Louis Cardinals

All through March, Thunder Matt's Saloon will be previewing each Major League team. We'll give you the ins and outs of the upcoming 2009 season, how each team will do, and some other useless crap you'll wish you had never read.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

2008 Season: 86-76 (4th Place in NL Central)

SO LONG:
P Randy Flores, P Jason Isringhausen, SS Cesar Izturis, P Tyler Johnson, 2B Adam Kennedy, P Braden Looper, SS Felipe Lopez, 2B, Aaron Miles, P Mark Mulder, P Russ Springer, P Ron Villone

WELCOME: SS Khalil Greene, P Trever Miller, P Dennys Reyes

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Skip Schumaker RF
2. Rick Ankiel CF
3. Albert Pujols 1B
4. Ryan Ludwick LF
5. Troy Glaus 3B
6. Khalil Greene SS
7. Yadier Molina C
8. Brendan Ryan 2B

Starting Rotation: Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, Todd Wellemeyer, Joel Pineiro
Setup: Ryan Franklin, Jason Motte
Closer: Chris Perez

Break out the Teva sandals and the pleated khaki shorts. Here come the Cardinals!

Blah. The f'n Cardinals. I really liked these guys once? Seriously, they have officially surpassed the Houston Astros for least diverse team in baseball. It's a bunch of dopey white dudes and Albert Pujols. I'm not gonna lie, I doubt I can write this preview and mask my hatred.

The Cards played beyond my expectations last year, finishing with a winning record. Unless Albert Pujols can hit 80 home runs and 200 RBI, I don't see it happening again. Their offense is ok and they certainly have some power with Ankiel, Poopholes, Ludwick and Glaus when he comes back from injury, but I cannot see this pitching rotation doing as well as they did last season. Chris Carpenter will be back but no one is sure in what form. Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse both overachieved last season and should see a regression in their stats. Joel Pineiro is still Joel Pineiro. Adam Wainwright is the only guy in the rotation that seems like a safe bet.

PREASEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: Colby Rasmus - In all likelihood, Skip Schumaker will become the starting 2B, opening the door for the young Cardinals phenom to finally get a starting spot in the outfield. Ranked the #3 overall prospect by Baseball America this year, keep an eye out for Rasmus to make a splash this season.

Burning Up the Basepaths!: Skip Schumaker - With Cesar Izturis gone, the biggest threat to steal bases on the Cards now is Skip who swiped a mind blowing 8 bases last season.

Winning Lottery Ticket: Kyle Lohse - You lucky bastard. You wanted a 4 year/$40 million deal last offseason and no one would touch you with a ten foot pole. Then you relent and sign with St. Louis in March for 1 year/$4.25 million and what happens? You magically pitch out of your ass last season and land that 4 year payday after all. Enjoy Cardinals fans. I hope you like 4.70 ERA's and very few K's. Maybe Dave Duncan really is a pitching sage and I'm wrong. I doubt it.

Willie McGee Award: Jason LaRue - While no one can beat Willie in an ugly contest, LaRue is the Cardinals best option right now. Honorable mention go to Jason Motte and Chris Duncan.

Check back tomorrow when Chaim Witz previews the Chicago Cubs.

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