Projected Cardinals nightmare rotation without Sonny Gray in it

The St. Louis Cardinals may be in for a tough ride this season, as Sonny Gray will likely begin the year on the IL. Here is the team's projected rotation without their new ace.

Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals
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2. Miles Mikolas needs to pitch like an ace

Miles Mikolas is a solid candidate for a bounce-back campaign.

He was the Cardinals most dependable starter in 2022, going 12-13 with a 3.29 ERA and logging over 200 innings.

He remained durable in 2023 as he once again eclipsed the 200-inning mark, but his other stats were uninspiring. The veteran right-hander went 9-13 and posted a 4.78 ERA while also allowing the most hits of any pitcher in baseball.

That's something that's going to have to change in 2024. The Cardinals will need him to be his 2022 self in order for the rotation to function in the potential absence of Gray.

Mikolas can be counted on for innings, so the Cardinals can trust him there. But he is more of a pitch-to-contact type pitcher rather than somebody who generates swings and misses.

He is under contract through the 2025 season after signing an extension last spring. The Cardinals will have his veteran presence in the rotation for at least two more years.

But if he repeats his 2023 struggles, the Cardinals are going to be in trouble, even when Gray eventually makes his return. The team can't afford a repeat of last year.