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…..

  1. BigFatHippo says:

    This may be your best writing yet Grey, haha. I keed I keed.

    Pretty much agree with everything he says, but as for Cardinal hitter converting to pitcher? There’s a guy in the outfield named Ankiel that has a hell of a………..

    Wait, never mind.

  2. Chase says:

    Did everyone from razzball think I died or something? Poppycock!

    Question #6 How bad will the Astros beat the Cardinals by in the NL Central?
    25 games.

  3. BigFatHippo says:

    @Chase: I suggest you go to the Cardinal blog link Grey provided and read “Pujols at the Bat” at the top.

    Good times man, good times.

  4. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:

    I think the Cardinals are a great team for me to poop on.

  5. Josh says:

    do you think Mather is a guy worth keeping on our radar in 5×5 mixed leagues?

  6. Probably not, unless it’s really deep. An NL-only league, maybe. Mather’s got plenty of power potential, but unless he becomes a utility guy that can play some infield on a semi-regular basis, I’m not sure he’ll get the at-bats with Rasmus, Ankiel, Ludwick, Duncan and Schumaker all vying for time.

    That said, watch him in ST, because I think he did play a little infield during the off-season. If he starts getting time at second and short, he might be a little bit of a sleeper.

  7. BigFatHippo says:

    @Cardinal70: Seems a little ridiculous to me to try outfielders on the infield when they could have just re-upped Miles. Isn’t Mather a little too tall for middle infield?

    Keep Mather in the outfield and trade Duncan for a jelly doughnut, IMHO.

  8. Chase says:

    @BigFatHippo: Yeah I cried myself to sleep that night…Lidge was never the same, until he got better in Philly?

    Quick Q- When does the RCL smacktalk begin? I would love to throw in my 2 cents for the losers this year.

  9. BigFatHippo says:

    @Chase: Re; RCL smacktalk.

    Whenever you want to start.

    I find it hard to talk smack when I don’t even know who my team is yet, though.

  10. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: 4 spots left, are you in? Don’t see any team called “Grey Being Grey”.

  11. @BigFatHippo: But that’s the Cardinal way now. Outfielders in the infield. Infielders in the outfield. Starters as relievers. Relievers as starters.

    Besides, Mather is quite a bit cheaper than Miles and hits better as well.

  12. BigFatHippo says:

    @Cardinal70: Yeah, but we loved Miles man, now he’s a Cubbie.

    I remember when we got Eckstein from Anaheim, an Angel fan wrote a letter to the PD telling us how much we would appreciate him. They loved him there and he turned out to be a fan favorite here.

    Welcome to Razzball btw, we’re one big happy family here. Could use some help with all these Cub/Sox/Yanks/Reds/etc, etc, etc. And all those frickin Canadians, damm foreigners……..

    @Grey: Greystache, maybe?

  13. big o says:

    ha .
    is the 7th inning stretch song of choice L-O-L-A LOLA down there in st. louisville ?

  14. Don’t forget that the Cardinals picked up Khalil “K before H” Greene to play SS. I predict he surpasses Ozzie Smith’s career total of HRs this year as well as his career utterances of ‘dude’, ‘mellow’, and ‘gnarley’. I wonder if the LaRussa/St. Louis magic could bring him back to .260/25/85 numbers….

  15. @Rudy Gamble: I don’t think many people expect 25 HR or 85 RBI out of Greene, but maybe more like .260/15/60. The question is where he’ll hit in the lineup. If he had a better OBP, there’d be a case for him hitting second. As it is, he’ll probably be in the seventh spot.

    And, before you ask, yes, LaRussa is going to keep the pitcher hitting eighth in the coming year.

  16. @Cardinal70

    Thank goodness for that!

    (slips LaRussa another hundred bucks…)

  17. @Grey: Heh, thanks Grey. Hopefully they keep Tony around a while longer!

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