Cardinals: Is Lars Nootbaar underrated or overrated?

ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 28: Lars Nootbaar #21 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a solo home run against the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on August 28, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 28: Lars Nootbaar #21 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a solo home run against the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on August 28, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, COLORADO – AUGUST 10: Lars Nootbaar #21 of the St Louis Cardinals hits a RBI sacrifice fly against the Colorado Rockies. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO – AUGUST 10: Lars Nootbaar #21 of the St Louis Cardinals hits a RBI sacrifice fly against the Colorado Rockies. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The case for underrated

If you watched much of the Cardinals in 2022, especially after the Harrison Bader trade, you could not help but notice how much the club fed off of Nootbaar’s energy. Whenever the Cardinals needed a spart, it seemed like Nootbaar and Albert Pujols were the guys to provide that for the club.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the Cardinals outfield in 2022, it seems odd to want to deal away their most productive outfielder from this last season. Nootbaar slashed .228/.340/.448 with 14 HR and 40 RBI in 108 games played for the club while playing elite defense in right field. Nootbaar’s numbers are dragged down a bit due to his slow start to the season, but went on a tear once he was given the everyday job.

Aside form the traditional counting metrics, Nootbaar’s underlying peripherals indicate that the success the lefty found at the plate was not a fluke, per Baseball Savant. 

Whenever a player finds most of his percentile rankings in the red, that is indication of a lot of success coming their way. Sometimes talent evaluators and fans have a hard time coming around on a player that seemed a bit odd and goofy when they first came up, but Nootbaar produced far more than just a fun name to say, he was proving that he can be a valuable contributor to a playoff team.

For a club that values defense as well, Nootbaar’s defense is something to be celebrated as well. His arm is one of the best in the league, and although he does not have the range of a Harrison Bader, he was making highlight reel plays all season long. Nootbaar is able to play all three outfield positions at a high level, making him a valuable asset.

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