St. Louis Cardinals: Time to get nutty for Lars Nootbaar

Kyle Jasper
Mar 1, 2021; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals Lars Nootbaar (91) poses during media day at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports
Mar 1, 2021; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals Lars Nootbaar (91) poses during media day at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports /
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While not starting the beginning of the season in the starting lineup, Cardinals prospect Lars Nootbaar has since broken out as the team’s greatest hitting threat.

Since getting drafted by the Cardinals in the 8th round of the 2018 draft, Lars Nootbaar has been an above-average hitter in every level he has played in. This year, however, Nootbaar has really come into his own as one of the most premier hitting threats in all of Triple-A baseball.  While not getting the first chance in the starting outfield, he has since proven that he belongs in the lineup every day and has even been doing the duties of taking on the prestigious three-hole spot.

Nootbar has been an absolute menace at the plate this year, compiling a 1.021 OPS, good for 11th in Triple-A.  He has a nice swing from the left side of the plate and looks comfortable against left-handed pitching and right-handed pitching. Amongst qualified Triple-A hitters, Nootbaar has the 7th highest OPS vs right-handers.  The starting Cardinals outfielders are in the bottom third in almost every meaningful offensive category when it comes to facing right-handers.  I believe that it is long overdue to give this man an opportunity to do what he does best.

In his most recent game on May 26, he was actually taken out of a game in what looked like a right-hand injury.  While fouling off a pitch to the left side of the field, his right hand flew off the bottom of the bat and was subsequently taken out of the game.  When the trainer came out, he keeled over in pain.  The Redbirds have since transferred Nootbaar to the 7-day Injured List. This tweet from Kyle Reis shows exactly what happened on the swing where Nootbaar apparently injures his right hand.

Regardless, when Nootbaar returns from injury, the Cardinals will have no choice but to give this man a shot.  The obvious replacement on the roster seems to be Justin Williams, who is another left-handed bat.  Williams has one more minor league option left and while the outfield depth of the Cardinals has been depleting by the day (Memphis has 3 starting outfielders on the 7-day IL), it is a necessary move to help Williams get back on track.

Nootbaar, according to his 2021 report on Fangraphs.com, grades out as a 55 (out of 80) hit tool and a 60 power tool.  For comparison, Randy Arozarera grades out as a 50 hit tool with a 60 power tool and Adolis Garcia grades out as a 30 hit tool with a 60 power tool.  People believe in this kid and he has shown in his time in Memphis that he can hit against major league talent pitching.  Now it’s just time for him to get healthy and for the Cardinals to make the easy choice.

If you are interested in reading a story about what Lars Nootbaar during the 2020 season while he was not playing professional ball due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here is a link to a story I wrote during spring training.

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