St. Louis Cardinals: Pirates vs. Cardinals Starting Rotations

The Cardinals and Pirates are two teams who were atop the division until the rise of the Cubs. They both missed the playoffs in 2016. Who will be better in 2017?

The St. Louis Cardinals‘ and Pittsburgh Pirates’ absence from the 2016 postseason could well be attributed to their rotations. How will each team address this need and who has done or will do it better?

To address the rotation issue, the St. Louis Cardinals, for their part, moved Jaime Garcia to Atlanta. They look to further improve in a big way with an almost identical staff from 2016. The only difference outside of the departure of Garcia is gaining Lance Lynn back.

Another change- and one that could be notable- could be if Alex Reyes gets a spot in the rotation at some point during the 2017 season. I predict that this would probably be if someone got hurt or if someone was really bad.

The Pirates didn’t make any major changes to their rotation this offseason. They did, however, make a couple small changes.

Their ace is and will be Gerrit Cole this season so no note of change there. They did lose Ryan Vogelsong to Minnesota, of course he is getting up there in age so it isn’t that big of a deal for them. They have a good supply of young pitchers who could be staples within their rotation: guys like Chad Kuhl, Tyler Glasnow, and Jameson Taillon.

For St. Louis, the Cardinals plan on having Carlos Martinez (now under a new contract- see Michael’s piece linked below), Lance Lynn, Mike Leake, Michael Wacha (or Reyes), and Adam Wainwright as their five, no surprise there.

As I mentioned before and right here in parenthesis, we could see Reyes starting a string of games and we could also see Luke Weaver. Both of these guys started games last season in the bigs, both experiencing ups and downs, but, safe to say, both showed flashes of promise. Even more so, Reyes was really good.

One thing I like about St. Louis is their balance of young and veteran pitchers. Then again, a thing I like about Pittsburgh is their up-and-coming young pitchers. St. Louis has young guys like Martinez (already the team’s ace at 25), Reyes, Weaver, and Wacha who are still young. They also have Lynn and Leake who are both 29 years old, then Waino who is in his thirties to round out the rotation.

Now on the side of Pittsburgh, they have three guys, as I mentioned, who can make big impacts already. Cole, their ace, is only 26 years old. I expect the Pittsburgh rotation to be Cole, Glasnow, Ivan Nova, Kuhl, and Taillon. Four of their five starters are 26 and under, while Nova is the vet of the staff at 30 years of age.

Now to the comparison, the Cardinals had three pitchers with ten-plus wins, but those guys all had ERA’s over 4.00 with the exception of the team’s ace, Carlos Martinez. To add insult to injury, one of those ten-plus-win guys was Jaime Garcia who is in Atlanta now. None of the St. Louis Cardinals pitchers of last season had greater than 174 strikeouts, which is not necessary, but can be a concern.

Three of the five starters who are still with the team did each start over thirty games which is a good sign.

If Wacha can stay healthy, he will log over 150 innings and pitch thirty games; we hope! One concern we should have is that Martinez surrendered seventy walks last season. That can hurt the team. I expect him to lower that number this season.

Now onto the Pirates. As I said, this team has a lot of young guys, especially within their rotation. They did lose Francisco Liriano and Vogelsong from last season. Accompanying these losses were Jon Niese and Jeff Locke. Moving on from this, though, they have three bright, young, up-and-coming guys who are just starting out in Taillon, Kuhl, and Glasnow. In short, this year’s Pirates rotation will be much different from last season’s rotation.

I do expect the Pirates to have some bad moments as a very young rotation, but they have to keep Cole healthy as he only pitched twenty-one games last season. Taillon was 5-4 last season in his eighteen games he threw as a starter. His ERA was 3.38 in that span which is a very good sign for the Pirates as he is only 24 years old.

It is gonna be a large change for the Pirates as they will go with four very young guys, one of which, however, is a bonafide ace. I think the rotation has a chance to be one of the better slate of pitchers in the league if all goes well but there is a good deal riding on young arms.

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At the end of the day, I think that, as of right now the St. Louis Cardinals have the advantage over the Pirates rotation. Most of this is because of the experience and youth mixed in St. Louis, while in Pittsburgh they are mainly young. These two teams could prove me wrong though. Nevertheless, baseball is right around the corner!

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