St. Louis Cardinals: Lars Nootbaar is dominating Arizona Fall League
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar is dominating Arizona Fall League. What’s his outlook in 2022?
Lars Nootbaar became a darling for St. Louis Cardinals fans toward the end of the season. I mean, what’s not to like about him?
Now, Nootbaar is continuing to play in the Arizona Fall League and he’s picked up where he left off. Heck, he’s been even better. He leads the AFL with three home runs through four games (a few others have two) and is establishing himself as a player the Cardinals need to have on the roster moving forward.
How, exactly, they do that remains to be seen. Perhaps it’s as a fourth outfielder behind Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson. Even then, the Cardinals could explore a veteran fourth outfielder to give them experienced depth. But Nootbaar’s emergence is going to make that conversation more difficult — and that’s a good thing for president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and the front office.
Nootbaar, 24, hit .239/.317/.422 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 109 at-bats last season. To be the Cardinals’ No. 4 outfielder, he will need to put up better numbers than that — his AFL production is a good start — and he has the talent to make the jump, evidenced by his .308/.404/.496 slashline in Triple-A this season. The Cardinals could sign a veteran outfielder and keep Nootbaar in Triple-A to start the 2022 season just to get him additional reps and development in a controlled environment.
In a season that the Cardinals are surely to go all-in to maximize the final year of Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, that might be the right move.
And, in other Nootbaar news, he confirmed rumors to Sam Dykstra of MLB.com about trademarking his last name and is in the beginning stages of creating a candy bar “that might be on the healthier side for athletes.” Incredible.
Nootbaar is only just getting started in the AFL, but if his current production is any indication, he could end up factoring into the Cardinals’ plans in 2022 and beyond.