St.Louis Cardinals: What to Expect from Brett Cecil

The St. Louis Cardinals signed Brett Cecil earlier this month as a way to help bolster a bullpen that struggled in 2016. Here’s what I think you should expect and some predictions for him in St. Louis in 2017.

Brett Cecil was originally a starting pitcher, but when transitioned to the bullpen he found success. I expect him to be one of the two St. Louis Cardinals setup men in the bullpen as we expect Seung-Hwan Oh to be this year’s closer. Cecil could close if there is an injury to Oh or if Oh struggles, but he seems to fit better as a setup man based on his stuff.

I also expect him to be able to easily fill the void left by Zach Duke, and be even better. We also can’t forget that Cecil made the AL All-Star Team in 2013 in his first year as a full-time closer. His ERA has, however, tailed off a tad since his All-Star appearance, staying under 3.00 until 2016 when he struggled and only made 54 appearances and had a record of 1-7, which does not concern the Cardinals very much.

He walked only eight batters in fifty-four appearances in 2016. He walked thirteen in sixty-three appearances in 2015, so his number of walks has decreased every year since becoming a reliever, which is something that past Cardinals relievers have struggled with.

Now that he is in St. Louis and filling a pretty large void based on what we saw from Duke last year, I expect sixty-five or more innings, which would be a career high for him as a reliever. Remember, he threw over 100 innings as a starter at the start of his career.

Cecil also seems to be a good clubhouse guy who is willing to fill any role the Cardinals would like him to as he mentioned in the announcement press conference at Busch Stadium. Moreover, it’s not like the Blue Jays wanted to see him go– the feedback I saw from Twitter was that they will miss him. Some think he may have been overpaid, but, to me, that is the market for relievers today in Free Agency.

2017 Predictions for Cecil (Stats, Clubhouse, etc.):

I predict that Cecil will be a good guy in the clubhouse, helping fill a void or two that the St. Louis Cardinals lost with the departure of Matt Holliday, and even the departure of a guy like Brayan Pena. Pena, who didn’t get much on-field playing time due to injuries, was an energetic, good guy for the Cards clubhouse. Cecil can help with that, and hey, if the Cards bring in a few other guys to fill the voids, that would help a ton also.

Speaking from a statistical standpoint, I would say this could be his best season of his career. He seems to be a near perfect fit in St. Louis: a guy who can be so versatile out of the pen, or even be a starter if things get worse in the injury department for pitchers. I would say anywhere from 3-5 wins for him, an ERA slightly under/over 3.00, and eating up near 70+ innings pitched.

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My final prediction for his stats would be an estimate: 4-3, 2.98 ERA, and 75 innings or maybe even more. He did only pitch thirty-six innings last season, but that won’t affect his workload, he was a starter as I mentioned. Remember this for his stuff, Busch is much more of a pitcher’s park than the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

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