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St. Louis Cardinals fans should be excited about the New Year

Posted Monday, December 31, 2012, at 9:33 AM

With the year's end upon us, it's time to begin another season of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. While fans of many teams in baseball start out the season with little to be excited about, Cardinals fans have good reason to be turning cartwheels in January.

Aside from being within one game of a World Series berth in 2012 when little was expected them, in 2013 there is reason to expect this team to be even better.

The Tyler Greene experiment has come to a conclusion. The fans now know that the Cardinals can still compete at an elite level without Albert Pujols, Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan. David Freese played his first full season in 2012.

That's a lot to be thankful for, but here are a few reasons for Cardinals fans to be pumped about the New Year.

4. Carpenter's return

Chris Carpenter managed a return in 2012, but he still wasn't quite himself.

With a full off-season of recovery time and having pitched in October should put him back in normal form for Spring Training.

While we don't know how much longer he will pitch, as long as he is still throwing like himself and manages to stay healthy we shouldn't expect him to call it quits.

Carpenter's role on this team, both as a pitcher and a teacher, can not be overstated. Having that catalyst back for 2013 gives the Cardinals an edge up from the start.

3. Oscar Taveras

Fans have been hearing amazing things about him for two years and there's a good chance that in 2013 they will get their first glimpse of him.

The power hitting 21-year-old outfielder had a 2012 line score of .321/.380/.572. He hit 23 home runs and piled up 94 RBI in 124 games at Double A Springfield.

As a result, he was named the Texas League Topps Player of the Year.

Another exciting statistic regarding Taveras is the fact that in 477 at bats he struck out only 56 times and drew 42 walks.

He may start the season at Triple A Memphis, but in the event of an injury you can expect to see him in St. Louis before the All-Star break.

2. Healthy Wainwright

Adam Wainwright put together a very good 2012 for a player returning from Tommy John surgery. Throughout the year, he made marked strides toward getting himself back into form.

In 198.2 regular season innings, he held up a 3.94 ERA with 184 strikeouts.

No one doubts Wainwright's ability and in 2013 he should be back to the Wainwright of old.

Another winter of preparation and conditioning under his belt will make his 2013 the first normal off-season and Spring Training he's had since 2010.

With free agency on the line and the first big day of his career expect to see Wainwright leave everything on the field in 2012.

1. Miller/Rosenthal

In late 2012, Cardinals fans got their first glimpse of two much anticipated pitchers: Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal.

Both made their mark as they made their debuts and got the attention of not just Cardinals fans, but baseball fans around the country.

The potential ceiling for these two pitchers is as high as they want to take it.

The raw talent is there and as they both continue to mature, both as pitchers and men, expect to see them harness that into a memorable career.

Both pitchers have impressive speed with Rosenthal capable of crossing the 100 mph mark. As he learns to harness that it's possible he could be more feared than Miller.

Miller, who made his first career start in the last regular season game of 2012, carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds. After a season surrounded by doubts and trade rumors, Miller showed the fans and front office in St. Louis that he still has it in him.

And he's ready to keep showing it.

There's something to be excited about in the weeks before Spring Training.

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This is sort of a revise of the blog the other day with exception to the comments about Carp. I really hope I am not wrong that something is messed up with Chris. He had a lot of stuff done to his body and I just don't know how a normal guy could continue. I hope he comes out firing and wins a dozen games (at least), however I just don't know if I see it happening. I agree though that as a teacher he and Wainwright are a great pair to lead the team. I hope they are successful at pulling this off for one more year before Carpenter hangs up the cleats for the last time.

-- Posted by Blogdog on Mon, Dec 31, 2012, at 4:43 PM

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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