Ron Raymond’s 2023 Sleeper Pitching Staff: St. Louis Cardinals

As the MLB season approaches, all eyes are on the powerhouse teams with star-studded lineups and dominant pitching rotations. Yet, amidst the chatter surrounding the perennial contenders, one team quietly emerges as a potential sleeper: the St. Louis Cardinals. Led by a formidable pitching staff, the Cardinals are poised to surprise skeptics and make a splash in the upcoming season.

Let's take a closer look at the Cardinals' pitching arsenal, highlighting their standout performers from the 2023 season and tracing their journey to St. Louis:

1. Sonny Gray:

  • 2023 Season: Gray showcased his consistency, maintaining a 2.79 ERA over 184 innings pitched, solidifying his role as a reliable starter.
  • Pitching History: With a career spanning from 2013, Gray brings experience from various MLB teams, including the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, and Minnesota Twins.

2. Miles Mikolas:

  • 2023 Season: Mikolas delivered a solid performance, posting a 4.73 ERA over 192 innings pitched, proving himself as a dependable rotation piece.
  • Pitching History: Mikolas has been a Cardinal since 2018, previously honing his craft with the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers.

3. Kyle Gibson:

  • 2023 Season: Gibson maintained consistency with a 3.99 ERA over 198 innings pitched, providing stability in the rotation.
  • Pitching History: Gibson's journey in the MLB includes stints with the Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, and a brief tenure with the Baltimore Orioles in 2023.

4. Lance Lynn:

  • 2023 Season: Lynn continued to be a workhorse, recording a 5.73 ERA over 183.2 innings pitched, showcasing his durability and experience.
  • Pitching History: Lynn boasts a diverse career, with previous stops at the Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

5. Steven Matz:

  • 2023 Season: Matz impressed with a 3.86 ERA over 105 innings pitched, adding depth to the rotation.
  • Pitching History: Matz previously plied his trade with the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays before joining the Cardinals in 2022.

6. Zack Thompson:

  • 2023 Season: Thompson exhibited promise with a 2.38 ERA over 66.1 innings pitched, hinting at his potential as a rising star.
  • Pitching History: Thompson ascended through the Cardinals' minor league system before making his Major League debut in 2023.

With a blend of seasoned veterans and emerging talents, the Cardinals' pitching staff presents a formidable challenge to opposing lineups. As they gear up for the season, under the astute leadership of Ron Raymond, these underrated arms have the potential to elevate the Cardinals to new heights. Keep an eye on St. Louis as they aim to defy expectations and make a statement in the MLB landscape.

In 2023, the Cardinals finished with a record of 71 wins and 91 losses, placing them at the bottom of the NL Central division. Despite this, they showed flashes of competitiveness, indicating room for improvement.

Comparing their 2023 record to the NL Central standings, there's reason to believe they can make significant strides in the upcoming season. The division lacked dominant teams, with the Milwaukee Brewers winning it with 92 wins and 70 losses, followed by the Chicago Cubs with 83 wins and 79 losses.

With odds of +2012 to win the NL Pennant and +3839 to win the MLB World Series, sportsbooks recognize the Cardinals' potential but also acknowledge the challenges they face. However, the odds of +197 to win the NL Central division highlight the belief that they can rise in their divisional standings.

The NL Central's competitive landscape offers the Cardinals a tangible opportunity to go from last to first in 2024. Their odds reflect both their potential and the uncertainty surrounding their ability to capitalize on it.

As the season unfolds, it will be fascinating to see if the Cardinals can defy the odds and emerge as contenders in a division ripe for the taking. With strategic moves and improved performance, they could indeed turn heads and surprise many in the MLB landscape.