We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2009 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2009 Cardinals Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of C70 At The Bat: A St. Louis Cardinals Blog.
1) What should we expect from Colby Rasmus for 2009? Will he start the year with the Cards? If not, when will he be called up?
Rasmus’s status is still up in the air. The feeling is that the front office is looking to trade an outfielder for a pitcher, but that may not happen until spring training when teams can see some of them in action, especially Chris Duncan. If no trades happen, there’s a strong possibility Rasmus starts at Memphis since he still has options. However, I believe they’ll do everything they can to get him in St. Louis for Opening Day.
As for what to expect from him? I’m not the best at projections, but you should probably expect a slow start. His pattern has been to get off to one at every level he’s been at before taking off and hitting like the best prospect in the system should. If he plays regularly in St. Louis, I’d guess around .260 with 15 HR and maybe 10-15 steals as well.
2) Can Ryan Ludwick repeat his 2008?
Repeat it? Probably not. Approach it? I think so. Ludwick was highly rated as he came up through the minor league system, but he’s never been able to stay completely healthy and get a shot. I don’t think 30 HR is completely out of the question, though his average may not be in the .300 range again. Remember, though, it took until June or so for LaRussa to stop platooning him and let him play every day. He’ll be the everyday starter from day 1 this year, so there is a chance he could repeat or improve on last year. Just not a real strong one in my book.
3) True or False, Chris Carpenter leads the 2009 Cardinals in saves. (If false, who? Perez? Motte? Someone else?)
False. In fact, I venture to say that Chris Carpenter won’t be used out of the bullpen at all in ’09. I think odds are that Perez will lead the team in saves, but I’m not sure he’ll be the dedicated closer. Motte may get quite a number, Franklin may get a few (hopefully not too many opportunities) and McClellan may even close a few games out.
4) If Wainwright starts 30 games, what will his stats look like?
Assuming the bullpen has improved, which it looks to me like it has, I’d think something in the line of a 16-6 record, an ERA around 3.50, 140 K, maybe 65 walks. Wainwright should continue to work himself into the discussions of best young pitchers in 2009.
5) In Tonyball, LaRussa talks a bit about his unconventional style of managing, “If I really need a starter, I’ll just convert a reliever or a minor league catcher or shortstop. The best pitcher I ever coached was Shawon Dunston – if I had him 10 years earlier, he’d have been a Hall of Fame pitcher.” So my question to you is, which current Cardinal hitter is a better pitcher than Joel Pineiro?
That sounds very LaRussian. The whole organization must have caught on, because a number of no-hit catchers are being turned into pitchers in the minors. In fact, Jason Motte was one of those, and you see how well that has worked out so far.
As for current hitters that should take the mound…..if Aaron Miles hadn’t packed up and moved Chicago way, he’d be the obvious choice due to his mopup work the last couple of years from the bump. You’d never want to see it happen, but if Albert Pujols took his same intensity and focus to the mound, he could be the next Bob Gibson. The Cardinal fan base has been talking about an idea to move Schumaker to second base. Maybe he needs to keep going and just take over that fifth spot in the rotation…..