Fantasy Top 5 for 2014: St. Louis Cardinals

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

We continue our search for the top 5 fantasy baseball players on each team. Today, we investigate the St. Louis Cardinals..

The St. Louis Cardinals won their 19th overall NL Pennant this season and 4th since 2004. They are a winning organization. It doesn't matter who you take away from them, they will find a suitable replacement within their farm system and make smart acquisitions to remain competitive. Plus, I think they have exclusive rights to any prospective baseball player with the last name "Carpenter". So, that's an advantage.

Cardinals have quite a few players that are very fantasy relevant. Even though they will be losing one of their key offensive weapons in Carlos Beltran, they still have other players that can contribute to your fantasy team. They went out and got Jhonny Peralta so that kind of makes up for Beltran's loss, right? Right? Guys?

1. Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright had himself a Cy Young-caliber season, finishing second behind only Clayton Kershaw in voting. Wainwright tied a career-high with 19 wins this season and only 9 losses. He posted a 2.94 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and a career-high 219 K's. Wainwright also won a Gold Glove this season for the second time in his career. He had the most complete games thrown (5) amongst all NL pitchers this season, most innings pitched (241.7), most games started (34), and the most shutouts (2). Adam Wainwright is very good at baseball.

2. Matt Holliday

At 33 years old, Holliday is still producing at a high level with the Cardinals. Holliday finished the season batting .300 with 22 HR's, 103 R's and 94 RBI. Without Carlos Beltran, Holliday might need to take on some more offensive responsibility. Anytime you can grab an outfielder with 20+ HR, 100+R and 90+RBI with a .300 AVG to cap it all off, well, you just can't ask for much more.

3. Allen Craig

It's hard to ignore two straight seasons with 90+ RBI and .307+ AVG. Craig finished 11th overall amongst 1B according to ESPN's player rater and 23rd amongst OF's. He missed quite a few games near the end of the season and didn't return until the playoffs. If he remained healthy we would have seen him finish with 100+ RBI's and close to 20 HR's while maintaining his .300+ AVG.

4. Yadier Molina

In his latest rankings, Ray has Molina ranked as the 6th overall catcher in fantasy going into the season. Molina provides stability in a position that isn't the deepest in fantasy. That reason, along with Molina's consistent track record, is why I have Molina ranked #4. Yadier will provide you with great AVG, solid RBI and R numbers and he will not hurt your team by striking out.

5. Michael Wacha

I decided on Wacha here instead of the other candidates because I like him more than the others. Just personal preference, no hard feelings. I believe Wacha is a stud and I have felt this way since before he got called up. His playoff performances this season opened up the eyes of anyone who has been sleeping on this kid. In limited games, Wacha finished with a 4-1 regular season record with a 2.78 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. In his playoff debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Wacha was victorious and allowed only one run, struck out nine and walked only two batters. In 2 games against the Dodgers in the playoffs, Wacha won both games, posted a 0.00 ERA and 0.66 WHIP with 13 K's. Wacha is the real deal, folks.

Honorable Mentions:

Jhonny Peralta

He will provide the Cardinals with stability in a position they have been weak at for quite some time. He simply is not good enough to make the top 5.

Oscar Taveras

Fantastic talent. Could finish the season as a top 5 Cardinal, but we don't know where he will start the season. It all depends when the Cardinals decide to call him up.

Matt Carpenter

A fantastic season with 126 runs but I can't see him replicating that feat. He was possibly the most versatile fantasy player with eligibility at 1B, 2B, 3B and OF. His multiple position eligibility elevated his value.

Trevor Rosenthal

Took the closer job from Edward Mujica and doesn't look like he'll be letting go of it anytime soon. Rosenthal has nasty stuff and should be a great closer but he's not top 5 worthy.

Shelby Miller

I'd rather have Wacha.

Matt Adams

He's definitely got power, he showed us that. What can he do with a full season of at bats?

Lance Lynn

I'd rather have Wacha.

Agree or disagree? What would your top 5 look like?

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