Here are three things that I’ll be interested in seeing unfold for the St. Louis Cardinals next season.
The St. Louis Cardinals are rocketing their way toward the wild card spot, and it’s an exciting time to be a Cardinals fan. This season has been a roller coaster, with injuries aplenty and some unexpected breakouts and disappointments along the way.
Last year, I wanted to see if Adam Wainwright could maintain his resurgence over a full season, and he has answered that with a resounding “yes.” Tyler O’Neill has improved by miles (or, if you prefer for the Canadian outfielder, kilometers). His eye at the plate, once a liability, has markedly improved, and his outfield instincts also appear to be better honed.
Edmundo Sosa has taken a huge step forward as well and has proven himself to be more than a Quadruple-A player. His speed adds to an already fleet-of-foot roster also composed of O’Neill and Harrison Bader. His propensity to get hit by pitches also contributes to his ability to get on base and wreak havoc from there.
On the downside, Paul DeJong hasn’t been able to get going this season, and he’s lost most of his playing time to Sosa. Matt Carpenter continues to struggle as well, and he is almost certainly in his last few games with the Cardinals.
Yadier Molina started hot and looked on pace for a dynamite penultimate season, but he has fallen off and will likely end his season with numbers close to his previous few years. It’s not a failure by any means; it’s just a bit disappointing that he couldn’t maintain his sizzling stats.
The 2021 season has been a whirlwind, providing euphoric highs (the team’s current run to the Wild Card) and dismaying lows (the horrific month of June), but the playoffs are all about who’s hot at the right time, and it appears the Cardinals might be in that window. The Dodgers will be a formidable foe, but it’s hard to beat a team on a hot streak.
But there’s reason to be hyped about next season as well, regardless of how this year concludes. 2022 will be both a time to reflect and a time to look to the future. These three things in particular are what I’ll be most excited to watch.