I’m most interested in seeing how the pitching staff shakes out.
Cardinals have no shortage of arm talent as pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter Florida. Miles Mikolas, Carlos Martinez, and Michael Wacha are a great start toward a starting rotation. Jack Flaherty probably figures in along with Adam Wainwright. Alex Reyes may wind up with one of those starting slots before the season is over. Unlike most teams, there is a lot of depth beyond the likely rotation. That’s good, because pitchers tend to get hurt.

That wealth of arm talent will also benefit the bullpen. I don’t expect the Cardinals to have a traditional closer. Who finishes games is likely dependent on who is due to hit in the 8th and 9th inning. An opponent with dangerous left handed batters will almost certainly see newcomer Andrew Miller in late game situations. Dangerous right handed batters will get to face Jordan Hicks with the game on the line in the 8th or 9th.

Paul Goldschmidt changes things for the better among the position players. I’ve not been satisfied with either corner of the Cardinal infield for a while. Goldschmidt can hit. He intimidates pitchers. He can also field the position. That’ll be a refreshing change. No problem here with Paul DeJong at shortstop. DeJong is a good defender—and he can hit. Kolton Wong seemed more consistent down the stretch in 2018. That has to continue into 2019. Matt Carpenter’s glove work at 3B is a concern, but if he has a normal year at the plate, I can live with him in the everyday lineup.

Dexter Fowler is under the microscope as spring training starts. He’s the biggest question among the position players.

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