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3 Stats That Prove the Cardinals Are Legitimate World Series Contenders in 2021

Larry Rupp
Statistics that prove the St. Louis Cardinals are legitimate World Series contenders in 2021.
Statistics that prove the St. Louis Cardinals are legitimate World Series contenders in 2021. / Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals have now made the postseason in each of the last two seasons, but have not been able to get over the hump and into the World Series. They have a talented lineup ready to compete and head into 2021 tied for the eighth-best odds to win the world series at +2200, according to MLB future odds posted on FanDuel Sportsbook.

The Cardinals feature a roster full of both veteran MLB stars and young unproven players that make this an intriguing team. With that being said, here are three stats proving the Cardinals are legitimate World Series contenders this season.

1. 4.07 Opponent Runs Per Game

Jack Flaherty
Jack Flaherty leads a strong Cardinals rotation. / Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Cardinals have one of the most balanced starting rotations in the majors and they proved it by giving up just 4.07 runs per game in 2020. That ranked as the seventh-best mark in the league. Led by young ace Jack Flaherty (231 strikeouts in 2019), the Cardinals have a number of experienced pitchers ready to take the mound, including Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas. That is important as the Cardinals have players that know what it takes to reach the postseason and flat out win games. The Cardinals also posted a top 10 WHIP last season (1.26) and enter the 2021 season with hopes to do the same.

2. .542 Winning Percentage in Close Games

Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado
Winning the close games is crucial to being a successful baseball team. / Mark Brown/Getty Images

To be successful in the MLB, you have to win close ball games. Taking care of business in the matchups decided by 1-2 runs is what separates the contenders from the non-contenders. The Cardinals ranked seventh in the MLB with a .542 winning percentage in close games last season. This takes a combination of clutch hitting and shutdown relievers. The Cardinals have both of those with players like Paul Goldschmidt (.417 OBP in 2020) and Alex Reyes (3.20 ERA last season). Don't be surprised if the Cardinals find a way to steal a few wins in close games this season, too.

3. 8.26 Strikeouts per game

Nolan Arenado
Putting the ball in play is something the Cardinals strive at. / Mark Brown/Getty Images

As an offense, it is crucial to keep the ball in play and avoid wasteful outs. One way to do that is to not strikeout very often. The Cardinals' lineup averaged 8.26 strikeouts per game last season, which ranked as the ninth-lowest mark in the MLB. Plus, this number is bound to improve after the Cardinals made a blockbuster trade for third baseman Nolan Arenado in the offseason. Arenado struck out just 20 times in 201 plate appearances last season. If the Cardinals can continue to put the bat on the ball, they should have a lot of success in 2021.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.