2024 St. Louis Cardinals Preview

An extensive fantasy baseball preview of the 2024 season

2024 St. Louis Cardinals Preview Shawn Childs is a legend in the fantasy baseball world and his advice is invaluable. A member of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn has several top-5 finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship as […]

2024 St. Louis Cardinals Preview

Shawn Childs is a legend in the fantasy baseball world and his advice is invaluable. A member of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn has several top-5 finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship as well as five NFBC auction championship titles under his belt. He also boasts several prominent in the high-stakes market and multiple huge DFS wins. Shawn's process and evaluation are among the most thorough in the sport and his exclusive FPGscore metric is changing the game. This 2024 St. Louis Cardinals preview and insight is courtesy of the brilliant mind of one of the sport's best.    This 2024 St. Louis Cardinals Preview is courtesy of Shawn Childs. Read Shawn's expert fantasy analysis at his Substack. From 2000 to 2022, the Cardinals reached the postseason 16 times with two World Series titles and two losses in the big dance. Last year, they went 71-91, leading to a last-place finish in the NL Central, their worst ranking in division play since 1990. St. Louis has nine other championships (1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, and 1982). They finished 24th in ERA (4.79), with only a slight uptick in pitching from their relievers (4.47 ERA – 23rd). The Cardinals’ bullpen had 28 wins, 27 losses, and 36 saves over 579.2 innings with 562 strikeouts. Their offense also underperformed expectations in runs (719 – 19th), home runs (209 – 12th), and RBIs (697 – 17th). St. Louis swiped 101 bases on 130 attempts (77.8).  In the offseason, the Cardinals tried to beef up their starting rotation by signing Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, and Kyle Gibson. They also added 1B Matt Carpenter and RP Keynan Middleton via free agency. In a minor trade with Tampa Bay, St. Louis acquired RP Andrew Kittredge for OF Richie Palacios. RP Ryan Fernandez was added in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. Their only losses to free agency were SP Dakota Hudson, C Andrew Knizner, RP Jacob Barnes, SP Jake Woodford, and RP Ryan Tepera. St. Louis has a veteran foundation to their offense, but it needs OF Jordan Walker, SS Masyn Winn, and 2B Nolan Gorman to reach new heights this year. They have enough depth and power to be a top-10 offense in baseball if their key players produce as expected. The front of their starting rotation will keep the Cardinals in many games, and they have enough depth to contend in the NL Central if their key pitchers make 30 starts. A healthy season out of RP Ryan Helsley will set up their bullpen much better in 2024.

Starting Lineup

2B Brendan Donovan

Over four short seasons in the minors, Donovan hit .285 with 157 runs, 21 home runs, 127 RBIs, and 23 steals over 867 at-bats. His walk rate (12.0) had top-of-the-batting-order order upside while offering a favorable strikeout rate (17.9). His contact batting average (.339) regressed as he moved up the Cardinals’ system. With 169 at-bats of experience at AAA (.296/35/7/31/4), St. Louis called him up in April of 2022. From May 10th to June 28th, Donovan gave the Cardinals reasonable replacement value stats (.325/26/2/24/2 over 160 at-bats). Other than runs (35), he wasn’t much of a fantasy factor after the All-Star break (.274 over 175 at-bats with three home runs and 15 RBIs). Donovan didn’t have a home run off a lefty pitcher over 61 at-bats. In 2023, Donovan drew attention in March due to his expected starting role, some spring training buzz, and his 2022 approach with the Cardinals. Unfortunately, his bat didn’t fire last year in any month, and he ended the year on the injured list for the final two months with an elbow injury (flexor strain) that required surgery.  His swing path did improve based on his lower groundball rate (46.5), paired with his higher flyball rate (30.3) and HR/FB rate (13.4). Donovan has a favorable strikeout rate (14.3) with some pullback in his walk rate (8.9). Donovan finished with a higher exit velocity (89.3 – 87.7 in 2022) and hard-hit rate (40.6 – 37.7 in 2022). Fantasy Outlook: The early reports have Donovan having limited range in his throwing to him seeing more time at second base. The Cardinals only gave him 55 at-bats vs. lefties last year, leading to a .236 batting average with no home runs and one RBI. His ADP (292) in the high-stakes market looks too high, with him expecting to have a platoon role. Donovan is trending higher in power, and he has some speed (19 steals) on his minor league resume. I only see 450 at-bats with no defining edge at the point of his career, so I’ll leave this club in the bag, especially coming off an injury...  


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About Shawn Childs 970 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros. As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.