St. Louis Cardinals Sign Steven Matz

by Connor Thomure
St. Louis Cardinals Sign Steven Matz

The St. Louis Cardinals have signed left-handed pitcher Steven Matz to a four-year, $44 million deal.

Matz played six years with the New York Mets and spent one season with the Toronto Blue Jays. The lefty owns a 45-48 record with 730.1 innings pitched in his career.

He joins a rotation in St. Louis that already features Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright.

Steven Matz has an above-average groundball rate that should fit nicely with the Cardinals after they won five Gold Glove awards.

Busch Stadium is also known as a pitcher-friendly ballpark and could help Matz continue his solid production.

St. Louis Cardinals Sign Steven Matz

Cardinals Starting Rotation Preview

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The Cardinals are adding a key piece to the rotation in Matz after struggling to keep their starting pitchers healthy throughout 2021. They've dealt with injuries to Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas, Kwang-Hyun Kim, and Carlos Martinez. This led them to start 13 different pitchers in 2021, but only two started at least 20 games.

Despite the unsolidified rotation the Cardinals pitching staff still finished 12th in ERA and eighth in batting average against. This is in part due to their defense that had five Gold Glove Award winners, all of which will return in 2022.

I project the starting rotation to be Flaherty, Wainwright, Matz, Hudson, and Mikolas in 2022. If they can stay healthy throughout the season, fans should expect big things from this starting rotation.

Groundballs and Gold Gloves

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As mentioned above Matz has an above-average groundball rate, but just how good is it? Since his debut in 2015 Matz ranks 22nd for groundball rate among pitchers with 700 or more innings pitched in this span. This puts Matz higher than any current Cardinals pitcher heading into 2022.

This style of play should work great for the Cardinals' stellar defensive play. Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Tommy Edman each won a Gold Glove for the infield in 2021. This defense also features future Hall-Of-Famer catcher Yadier Molina who was a candidate for the Gold Glove as well.

2020 Disappointment

2020 was by far the worst season of Matz's career. He pitched just 30.2 innings but his ERA was a career-high 9.68 with an 0-5 record. The worst part of 2020 for Matz was allowing 14 home runs in these few innings.

Matz had a solid 2021 season, but 2020 wasn't that long ago where it can be forgotten. The best hope for everybody is that Matz does not return to his 2020 form, but this shouldn't stop Fantasy Baseball managers from drafting him.

2022 Fantasy Outlook

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Matz seems to be a really good fit for this Cardinals team. After a successful 2021 season, I expect his ADP in Fantasy Baseball to be the best it's ever been.

Fantasy Baseball managers drafted Matz at an ADP of 415.8 in 2021, but this ADP turned out to be criminal for the value Matz brought last season.

This placed Matz behind Michael Wacha and Anthony DeSclafani, but before Merrill Kelly and Masahiro Tanaka.

Heading into 2022 I predict Matz will have an ADP closer to around 230. Some players picked here a year ago include John Means, Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German and Sean Manaea. This would put him right on the edge of the top-100 pitchers in Fantasy Baseball.

Be sure to check out all the 2022 Fantasy Baseball content as the season gets closer.

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