Building the Cardinals Wild Card Roster

I don’t envy Oli Marmol and the Cardinals front office today; there are some tough choices for building their Wild Card roster. The starting 9 are pretty much set, but who should be on the bench and pitching raises a lot of questions marks.

The Starting 9
It’s pretty obvious what the starting lineup will be:
Brendan Donovan, 2B
Lars Nootbaar, RF
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Nolan Arenado, 3B
Albert Pujols, DH
Corey Dickerson, LF
Dylan Carlson, CF
Tommy Edman, SS

Pujols will pretty much be the full time DH; he’s started to hit righties, so there is no reason to sit him. Since Friday is game one, Molina will get the start. The outfield looks weak after how it looked this spring. When they are hitting though, this is a solid lineup.

The Bench
There are 2 trains of thought here: a short 4 man bench with a 13 man pitching staff or a 5 man bench with 12 pitchers. Typically, all pitchers are on a short leash in the post-season, but this is a best of 3 series and you shouldn’t need to worry about taxing your bullpen.

Andrew Knizner is on the roster; he’ll see at least a start against the Phillies. Juan Yepez is also going to be on the roster; he can cover the corners in case of an injury and has been hitting well. My next 2 picks will be controversial: Paul DeJong and Ben DeLuzio. Hear me out.

If something were to happen to Edman, you don’t have a true shortstop on the roster. DeJong is the only option for this. They also played him at second base on Wednesday, which makes me think he’s the utility guy on the roster. He’ll only get in a game as a defensive replacement.

DeLuzio is almost the same; Carlson is the only true centerfielder with Tyler O’Neill out this round. DeLuzio is a defensive replacement that can also pinch-run later in a game; he’s the perfect replacement for Dickerson, who can’t play defense and is a horrible runner.

Since the team will carry DeJong and DeLuzio, I’d opt for 1 more hitter; there are options here, but none that I’m absolutely crazy about: Alec Burleson, Kramer Robertson, Nolan Gorman. Instantly, Robertson is out since he’s a glove first infielder. I’d probably lean towards Burleson at this point; he’s hit decently over the last 7 games and strikes out at a much lower clip then Gorman.

The Rotation
You only need 3 starters, but I’m going to list 4; the 4th is your emergency long man incase a starter gets knocked out of the game early.

The 3 that will start the games should be Miles Mikolas, Jose Quintana, and Jordan Montgomery. Mikolas has been the season-long ace of the staff and is a no-brainer. Quintana and Montgomery have both been very good since they’ve been acquired; Montgomery has been a little shakey over his last few starts, but that’s why you have the spare starter.

That spare starter is Jack Flaherty. As much as I’d love to list Adam Wainwright here, his arm has been done over his last 7 starts; hitters know he’s only throwing his fast ball mid-80s and they aren’t having an issue sitting on his curve.

The Bullpen
This leaves 8 men for the bullpen. The first 6 are obvious: Ryan Helsley, Giovanny Gallegos, Andre Pallante, Jordan Hicks, Steven Matz, Zack Thompson. That’s your closer, 3 righties, and 2 lefties. That leaves 2 spots.

Jake Woodford has earned a spot; he’s been reliable all year, even though the team has moved him down to Memphis multiple time when I didn’t find it warranted. He can also fill multiple roles: set up man, long relief, etc.

The final spot is tricky. It would be nice to have a 3rd lefty, but none of the options are all that inspiring: Packy Naughton and Matthew Liberatore have struggled recently while JoJo Romero was just demoted and can’t come back up unless there is an injury (and also struggled before the demotion).

Another option would be Wainwright again, but his stuff plays less in the bullpen then in the rotation. I hate to do it, but I couldn’t justify having him on the roster; it’s purely about performance, and he’s not one of the top 12 pitchers on the team right now.

I give the last spot to Chris Stratton. He’s been great over the last month and there is a reason they traded for him.

The Full Roster According to Me
C (2): Knizner, Molina
IF (5): Arenado, DeJong, Donovan, Edman, Goldschmidt
OF (6): Burleson, Carlson, DeLuzio, Dickerson, Nootbaar, Yepez
DH (1): Pujols
SP (4): Flaherty, Mikolas, Montgomery, Quintana
RP (8): Gallegos, Helsley, Hicks, Matz, Pallante, Stratton, Thompson, Woodford

The Cardinals should announce their roster later today.

Disagree with my roster? Post in the comments who I missed and why.

One thought on “Building the Cardinals Wild Card Roster

  • jan gedda

    Yadi may not go out on the field if Waino doesn’t…haha

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