Projecting the Cardinals Rotation for 2023

The St. Louis Cardinals rotation did the job last season, although it was rocky at times. Right-hander Jack Flaherty missed significant time, while the likes of Dakota Hudson and Steven Matz yielded uneven results. So, what does the Cardinals rotation look like heading into 2023? Here’s what it could look like come next season.

Related: Projecting the Rays Rotation for 2023

A Look at the Cardinals Rotation Options

  1. Jack Flaherty (2-1, 4.25 ERA, 8.3 K/9 in 2022)
  2. Jordan Montgomery (9-6, 3.48 ERA, 8.0 K/9)
  3. Miles Mikolas (12-13, 3.29 ERA, 6.8 K/9)
  4. Adam Wainwright (11-12, 3.71 ERA, 6.7 K/9)
  5. Dakota Hudson (8-7, 4.45 ERA, 5.0 K/9)

We’ll start off with Jack Flaherty, who missed most of 2022 due to right shoulder problems. Last season marked the second straight year of shoulder issues for Flaherty, who missed time in August and September of 2021 due to a shoulder strain. When on the mound last season, Flaherty recorded less-than-stellar results. Arguably the most concerning figure from 2022 was the 5.5 BB/9 rate, as he walked 22 batters over 36 innings. Set to be a free agent after the 2023 season, this upcoming campaign is a big one for both the Cardinals and the 27-year-old right-hander.

Flaherty isn’t the only member of the projected rotation set to hit the market after the 2023 season. LHP Jordan Montgomery was a revelation for the Cards after being acquired at the 2022 Trade Deadline, as the ex-Yankee went 6-3 with a tidy 3.11 ERA and 1.8 BB/9. A sinkerball pitcher who can pound the zone, and get groundballs & whiffs has the potential to do well with a very strong defensive group behind him — if last year is any indication.

One of just eight pitchers to hit 200 innings in 2022, Miles Mikolas proved once again to be a workhorse for the Cardinals. St. Louis will look upon Mikolas to be one yet again come this season. The right-hander doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but does own solid control and command, and has proven to be effective at inducing weak contact and ground balls.

Up next is RHP Adam Wainwright, who is set to enter his 18th season in MLB. The right-hander can still spin a pretty good curve, and he’ll be looked upon to give at least similar numbers from 2022 in this upcoming season. Wainwright can also hit a major milestone in 2023, as he is just five wins away from 200.

Last up is RHP Dakota Hudson, one pitcher who may not have particularly high security in the rotation. Hudson recorded career-lows in ERA (4.45), WHIP (1.45), and K/9 (5.0), as well as well-below-average batted ball metrics. The former first round pick will never yield high strikeout totals with his stuff, but can beat hitters with a very good slider and a solid sinker. Both pitches, though, weren’t as reliable in 2022 than in past seasons.

Outside of that five, St. Louis still retains Steven Matz as an option for 2023. The left-hander struggled mightily in his first season as a Cardinal, before injuries and an eventual move to the bullpen. Also an option for the Cardinals is LHP Matthew Liberatore, who saw his first action in the Majors last season. The pitching prospect recorded a 5.97 ERA across 34.2 innings in 2022, alongside a rough 4.7 BB/9. Pitching prospect Gordon Graceffo, who pitched quite well in Springfield (AA) could also be an option down the line at some point.

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