How about their struggles against left-handed pitching? While the Cardinals hit .280/.343/.412 against righties last season, they were only able to muster a .238/.301/.371 line against southpaws. While it obviously didn’t hurt the overall production too much — St. Louis scored the third-most runs in baseball last year and were by far the highest-scoring National League team — that’s a pretty drastic split. It’s not even like the Cards had a lefty-heavy lineup — the only true lefties in the regular lineup were Jon Jay and Matt Carpenter, and Carpenter actually hit .294/.353/.467 against his like-handed opponents. In the World Series, 2 of their 4 losses came in games started by Jon Lester.
It’s entirely possible (and maybe even likely, given their recent history) that last year’s issues hitting left-handers was a small sample size fluke. After all, we’re only talking about just over 1600 regular season plate appearances for the entire team, compared to the 4589 plate appearances they made against righties. By swapping Jay out of the regular lineup, they’re even removing one of last year’s left-handed bats, and they’re likely going to use a platoon at second base with Mark Ellis getting the starts against left-handers.
Still, as strong as the Cardinals’ lineup may be, they could run into some depth problems if injuries hit in the wrong spots. We’ll call this the second weakness, even though it comes with a caveat.
The depth is more a question mark in the infield, with Carpenter moving over to third base full-time instead of filling in where needed in the infield. One bench spot is tied up with the Ellis/Kolten Wong platoon, leaving Daniel Descalso as the only other backup infielder. Descalso, to put it simply, shouldn’t be trusted to play shortstop. If Peralta goes down, the Cardinals may have to choose between running Descalso out at short or, yes, maybe even looking at Pete Kozma again. Of course, if they get that desperate, they may just call up the newly-signed Aledmys Diaz. While there are some questions about his ability to play shortstop, he does have the distinct advantage of not being Pete Kozma.
Admittedly, these are relatively minor problems to have, and are probably ones that have already been adequately addressed. But the Cardinals simply do not have that many weaknesses that are worth talking about, and with one of the better farm systems in the majors over the past few years, they are more than capable of solving their problems from within. That’s scary for the rest of the division.