After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for eight years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the St. Louis Cardinals.
As I noted yesterday, the Twins look a lot like a classic Cardinals team in that there are no real superstars but very few real weaknesses, making the chances of an actually lousy season quite small. In fact, the Twins might be a better Cardinals team than the 2020 Cardinals, as there are holes here, starting in the outfield.
No doubt elbow issues played a role in his down season, but Tyler O’Neill’s 2018 Beast Mode was basically missing in 2019 and as a result, his projection drop-off is massive, to the extent that ZiPS is no longer confident he’ll be a league-average corner outfielder. O’Neill’s contact numbers have been absolutely abysmal in the majors, and his 58.6% career contact rate and 21.4% swinging strike rate would be uncomfortably worse than the entire 2019 leaderboards. For reference, the last-place qualifier in contact rate in 2019 was Franmil Reyes at 65.4%. That’s…