To continue in the Top 5 series, I'll move to the National League Central and start with the Top 5 St. Louis Cardinals that fantasy owners need to know come draft day 2010. The Cardinals improved their lineup this offseason by signing left fielder Matt Holliday to a 7 year deal, but lost infielder/outfielder Mar DeRosa to free agency.
Here are the Top 5 Cardinals for 2010:
1. Albert Pujols-he's the best hitter in the game, and it's not even close. He'll be the number one pick in most fantasy drafts in 2010, but some will take Hanley Ramirez, and I will take Matt Kemp. Expect a 40-125-.325 season out of Pujols, but I am sure he will top that projection.
2. Matt Holliday-Holliday signs with the Cardinals and will play left field and bat cleanup. I expect a 30-100 season out of him in 2010 with double digit SBs.
3. Adam Wainwright-Wainwright was 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 2009. He struck out 212 batters and had a K/BB ratio of 3.21 and a LOB%, or strand rate, of 80%, which is extreme and not repeatable. I see him winning around 15 games with an ERA in the low-mid 3's in 2010.
4. Chris Carpenter-Carpenter made only a handful of starts in 2007 and 2008 combined, butr returned from injury last year to start 28 games, going 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He's not a big stikeout pitcher, and his LOB% was 79.5% in 2009, again not repeatable, as the league average is in the low 70% range.
5. Ryan Ludwick-Ludwick came down to earth in 2009 after hitting 37 homers in 2008. Ludwick went 22-97-.265-.329-.447 in 2009 after going 37-113-.299-.375-.591 in 2008. I can see him duplicating his 2009 season in 2010, and he was drafted in the 18th round in a recent mixed league mock draft I participated in.
Sleeper Alert: Colby Rasmus-Rasmus went 16-52-3-.251-.307-.407 (HR-RBI-SB-AVG-OBP-SLG) in 2009, but I think he can hit for a better average with a little more power and more SBs in 2010. I am thinking he can go 23-75-15-.280 in 2010, and he won't be drafted in the first 10 rounds in mixed league drafts. He was drafted in the 13th round in a recent mixed league mock draft I participated in.