In losing Adam Wainwright the St. Louis Cardinals' WAR projections have fallen by something like four wins, depending on your expectations for Wainwright and your opinion of his ostensible replacements—I think Lance Lynn could throw together a one WAR year, considering the Cardinals have gotten them from luminaries like Braden Looper in the recent past—but according to Baseball Prospectus and its PECOTA projections, they remain the favorites in the NL Central. (Hat tip to the omnipresent Rob Neyer.)â†µ
The Cardinals didn't make a Zack Greinke-sized splash in the Hot Stove League this year—which is a shame, because Zack Greinke is awesome. But the Cincinnati Reds are an easy team to predict regression for in 2011—which PECOTA does, heavily—and the Milwaukee Brewers won 77 games last year.
They're not the prohibitive favorites, but the Cardinals remain the most complete team in the Central, although their rotation is, by now, no deeper than the average Michael Bay novelization. The worries about a fourth place finish aren't totally unfounded, but they're very premature.â†µ