While St. Louis Cardinals fans are drooling all over with the addition of Nolan Arenado, keep an eye on Lars Nootbaar this spring.
Lars Nootbaar, who might have one of the most unique and fun names in all of baseball, was not selected to be a part of the St. Louis Cardinals’ alternated training site in the 2020 shortened season. According to an article from KSDK.com, Lars actually spent his time off working as a handyman mechanic. In this job, Lars’s love for the game was now renewed. Not being selected to the alternate site probably lit a fire under Nootbaar and now is as hungry as ever to show what he has.
In spring this year, Nootbaar was given the number 91. Some may know the number 91 for the St. Louis Cardinals as the number Oscar Taveras wore whenever the television broadcast did not know his name and thus deemed him as “minor league guy” as he was talking to Jose Oquendo on third base. While that may not seem like a big deal, I still believe those are big shoes to fill even if that was not his permanent number.
While Nootbaar technically only has one full professional season under his belt as a professional hitter, he has always been an above-average player. In 2019 Lars spent his time split between three different levels of Cardinals baseball. He started the year with the Single-A where he was only there for 29 games and slugged .443 in these games. He then was promoted to High-A where he played for 39 games. In these 39 games, He actually slugged for much less than in Single-A but his average was about 30 points higher in High-A than in Single-A.
After these 39 games, Nootbaar was then promoted to Double-A Springfield where he spent the rest of his year. In 33 games, Lars completely had transformed into a different hitter than he was in Single-A. He got on base at a much higher clip but his slugging percentage was down quite a bit from Single-A. This is not much of a surprise as seeing three different levels of pitching in one season could be a bit overwhelming but you have to love the grit he shows in getting on base and helping his team succeed.
While nobody expects Lars Nootbaar to come out and take over the final starting outfield spot right away come Opening Day, I do advise the fanbase to not forget this name and keep an eye out for this guy as he has the outlook of someone who can help the Cardinals in the near future.
Who knows, with a little help from the St. Louis Cardinals “Devil Magic” you may be looking at the next random prospect to come out of nowhere and produce at a high level. Also, if anyone was to be gifted the abilities of the “Devil Magic” then why not give it to the guy with the name Lars Nootbaar.