The 2021 St. Louis Cardinals bullpen has been the polar opposite of their starting rotation. With the exception of Jack Flaherty, the rest of the Cardinals’ starting rotation has been subpar to start the year. As for the bullpen, it’s been much different. The Cardinals bullpen has been extremely top-heavy, and by looking at the numbers a bit closer it’s a bit of a surprise.
The Cardinals starting rotation ranks 14th in the majors as a group, according to Fangraphs. The bullpen ranks 11th in the majors per Fangraphs.
It seems like the 2021 St. Louis Cardinals bullpen has been far and away better than the starting rotation. Either way, the Cardinals having their pitching groups in the middle of the pack would get the job done especially with one of the better lineups in all of baseball. The 2021 Cardinals edition of the bullpen has been somewhat confusing, especially when you look at the numbers.
2021 St. Louis Cardinals Bullpen: Highs and Lows
As with anything, there are highs and lows. It’s usually best to start with the good. However, let’s examine the lows of the 2021 St. Cardinals bullpen to start the season.
Tyler Webb has the worse ERA out of the Cardinals’ pen with an 8.53 mark. He’s used sparingly and gave up four runs in one outing and two in another outing. Aside from that, he’s been decent. However, that’s the blessing and curse of being a reliever.
You have five or six good outings and one or two bad outings and your ERA flies through the roof. Andrew Miller has continued to look like a shell of himself from his prime, which isn’t entirely a surprise. He’s only tossed six innings and appeared in seven games while posting a 7.50 ERA.
On the surface, Ryan Helsley‘s 9.00 ERA looks ghastly. When you dive deeper, he had one atrocious outing, giving up four runs and a pair of walks in just a third of an inning. Aside from that, he’s been pretty decent.
Now time for the highs. Jordan Hicks and Alex Reyes have been even better than advertised to start the season for the 2021 St. Louis Cardinals. Hicks has tossed seven innings and allowed just one run to bring his ERA to 1.29 on the year.
He’s been dominant with the 2021 St. Louis Cardinals and his stuff is filthy, just watch below.
Reyes has emerged as the Cardinals closer and it doesn’t seem like he will be losing that job anytime soon. He’s notched three saves to start the year and has tossed 6.1 innings and has yet to yield a run.
Reyes had Tommy John surgery a couple of seasons back and was back and forth from Triple-A and the majors dating back to last season. However, he impressed in camp as was initially pegged as the team’s closer going forward. Whether he pitches in the 8th inning or 9th inning doesn’t matter, and many analysts loved what they saw from him in the spring.
After all, he only pitched 19.2 innings for St. Louis in 2020 and if he can remain as their closer, the Cardinals will be ecstatic, especially considering the path Reyes took to get to the majors.
If this 2021 Cardinals team can get those types of numbers consistently from their high-end bullpen options, they will hang around in the National League Central for quite some time.
With the mediocrity of the division as a whole, the 2021 St. Louis Cardinals should be able to stay near the top of the division for the entire season, if not run away with the NL Central crown. All in all, the bullpen for the 2021 Cardinals team should turn out just fine and the starting rotation should also balance itself out.
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