The St. Louis Cardinals have been playing a great stretch of baseball. The team is largely being carried by a pair of superstars who are currently leading the race for the National League MVP.
The St. Louis Cardinals began an important series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night. The final score was 3-1 Cardinals and the big story of the game was Jordan Montgomery.
Montgomery, in his second start, is proving to be a remarkable acquisition. The same can be said of the club’s other starting pitcher acquisition, Jose Quintana. Montgomery stymied the Brew Crew and led the way for a Cardinals win.
The offense did just enough, and it was no surprise who carried the load on Friday. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado both homered and combined to drive in all three runs. This is nothing new, as both sluggers are at the front of the race for the National League MVP.
All season long, both players have carried the majority of the weight for an offense that has been better than I was expecting. But if you separate Arenado and Goldschmidt’s numbers from the offense, just how good is the lineup?
To be clear, this article is not necessarily a critique of the overall offense, but rather an appreciation of how great Arenado and Goldschmidt have been. To tell that story, though, we have to examine the rest of the offense to see just how massive an impact those two have had.
Taking a look at RBI, Goldschmidt leads the team with 89 RBI. Following him is Nolan Arenado with 73 RBI.
The next closest on the team are Tommy Edman and Tyler O’Neill … with 38 RBI each.
Home runs are much of the same story. Goldschmidt currently has 28 home runs, Arenado with 25 home runs. The next closest is rookie Nolan Gorman with 13. To be fair, Gorman has close to 200 at-bats less than Goldy and Arenado, so if he were to keep up the current pace and had the same number of at-bats, he would probably have similar power numbers.
Gorman is an intriguing player, because there is no doubting his massive talent and power potential. His offensive profile makes it seem unlikely he will ever hit for a great batting average, as he strikes out 31% of the time so far this season. Home runs and strikeouts are both parts of his game, and his upside and career trajectory will largely be determined by how much power he taps into. So far, so good in that department.
Offensive help is on the way as well, in the form of top prospect Jordan Walker. Walker is much like Gorman in the sense that both have incredible raw power. Both players could be long-term fixtures in the Cardinals batting order, which would be welcome considering that Goldschmidt is currently 34 years of age and only has a few seasons remaining on his contract. Not to mention Arenado’s pending opt-out.
Bottom line, fans can enjoy watching these two absolute superstars at the top of their game. They are carrying the offense more games than not, and seem likely to continue doing so all the way into the postseason. It would be a great boost for the offense to have someone else step up and provide some consistent support for them, however. In the playoffs, the opposing pitching will be consistently tougher and opposing managers might not be as eager to pitch to Goldschmidt and Arenado if nobody behind them in the lineup is hitting.
The Cardinals are cruising right now, and have two pillars of the team leading the way. My best guess right now is that Paul Goldschmidt will probably win the MVP award, and Arenado is clearly in that discussion as well. Young players like Gorman, and possibly Jordan Walker in a few seasons, could help take some pressure off the two sluggers. It’s a real possibility that additional offense could be added externally, as well.
Short term, let’s have fun watching Goldschmidt and Arenado lead the offense into what could be an extended postseason run. Longer term, the St. Louis Cardinals will likely need some additional offense to help balance the load and sustain success.