Found March 16, 2012 on Kramerica Sports:

Author: Andrew Swanson
2010 was a disappointing season for the St. Louis Cardinals as the team failed to make the playoffs for only the fourth time in ten years. The emergence of new competition from the Cincinnati Reds and a decline in offensive production led to a difficult season for the club.

To address these issues, the front office was busy during the off-sesaon with the acquisitions of Lance Berkman and Nick Punto. Although Berkman is an aging vet who is coming off his worst power year as a professional, his presence in the middle of the line-up should help both Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday.

Key Acquisitions:

Lance Berkman (OF)
Nick Punto (INF)

Key Losses: 
Brad Penny - Signed with Detroit
Aaron Miles
Jason LaRue
Dennys Reyes - Signed with Philadelphia
Jeff Suppan - Signed with San Francisco


Players to Target

The Cardinals are loaded with early round talent to target in fantasy baseball drafts. At the top of the list is the venerable Albert Pujols, who is arguably the best hitter of his generation and the most consistent fantasy player of the last ten years. He should be taken either first or second overall in all formats, depending on how your leagues scores for stolen bases.

Another player to target is outfielder Matt Holliday, who is coming off an excellent 2010 campaign in which he hit .310 with 28 home runs and 103 runs batted in. As a career .317 hitter with nice power and a little speed, Holliday is an excellent number one outfielder and will likely go in the first two rounds of a 12 team draft.

In addition to two solid offensive fantasy studs, the Cardinals also have two bookend starters that will be taken in the early stages of drafts. Adam Wainwright is arguably the team’s top pitcher, posting two straight Cy Young quality seasons with 19 or more wins, with a sub three ERA and 200 or more strike outs. At only 29 years old, Wainwright has yet to hit his prime and should continue to dominate the NL for years to come. Look for Wainwright to win the CY Young award this year.

On the other extreme, the Cardinal’s second best starter is the aging vet Chris Carpenter, who is coming off a solid 2010 season in which he won 16 games while positing an ERA of 3.22. If Carpenter can stay healthy, he is a lock to win at least 15 games and would be a nice number two starter in mixed leagues.

The sleeper to target on the Cardinals in 2011 in third baseman David Freese, a young player who was drafted by the Padres in the 9th round of the 2006 amateur draft. In his first full year with the Cardinals, Freese showed nice plate discipline while batting .299 with only 59 strike outs. The one big knock against Freese is his lack of power, which I am predicting will finally show up in 2011. Target Freese as a back-up third baseman in mixed formats in hopes that he has a breakout year.

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