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2014 Projected Strength of Schedule


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Most likely whoever finishes last in the AL East will finish with the highest strength of schedule. So in my eyes, that is probably Toronto, but in the eyes of the computer projections, which we know don't love the O's roster, it makes sense that we're there at the top.

The NL East is really bad.

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I'd like to see the same graph for the actual results of the 2013 season. Projections are fun, but they're not actuality.

Bernie Micklaus at the StL Post Dispatch citing 5 reasons for Cards fans to fret.

1. Injuries can take down any team.

?When you think about on-field success, it can be in a fragile state, given the fact that injuries can happen,? Mozeliak said. ?I think the one great compliment to this organization is, you lose (starter) Adam Wainwright and you still have success. You lose (starter) Chris Carpenter, and overcome it. You lose (closer) Jason Motte, and still find a way.

... But as you enter 2014, there?s no guarantees ?

2. The Cardinals can?t possibly hit .330 with runners in scoring position again, as they did last season.

... Mozeliak raises a point; last season the Cardinals batted only .236 with the bases empty, which ranked 29th among the 30 teams. They won?t be that bad again in 2014.

3. Missing the power of the departed Carlos Beltran, who averaged 28 homers in his two seasons in St. Louis.

?You may see more home runs from (Matt) Carpenter, Matt Adams and a full season of Allen Craig,? Mozeliak said. ?Matt Holliday is capable of hitting more homers. (Yadier) Molina is showing more power every year. I?m not concerned about that at all. And I think having Jhonny Peralta?s bat in the lineup certainly changes the look of it as well. Beltran was a scary bat, but losing his offense is something we can absorb. This lineup is deep enough where it should be OK.?

4. Replacing production in the No. 2 lineup spot.

In his two seasons as a Cardinal, Beltran batted .308 with a .355 on-base percentage and .547 slugging percentage and bashed 33 homers as the No. 2 hitter. The Cardinals don?t appear to have an ideal fit for a crucial slot in the lineup.

?I think there?s a lot of guys who can hit effectively in the two hole,? Mozeliak said. ?I don?t like to get into that, because that?s (manager) Mike Matheny?s responsibility. But I feel like there are three or four names that can do it and do it well.?

5. The Cardinals are relying on too many young arms.

And young arms tend to be fragile. Only one projected starter, Wainwright, has more than two major-league seasons as a starter. The five others ? Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez ? have combined for only 137 big-league starts. An overload of innings could be hazardous. Moreover, young Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal will be handling the role for an entire season, something he hasn?t done before.

We've seen major collapses in team performance before in my lifetime. 1965, 1969, 1983, 1986, 1988,... Those were teams expected to be far better than they turned out to be, and the decline lasted at least a couple seasons (except in 1986). The 1998 Orioles would be another, deeper example. That team seemed to geet old in a hurry.

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