8. Willson Contreras maintains a hot bat, but his role as a primary catcher remains a major question mark for the 2024 season and beyond
It's kind of amazing to see how quickly Willson Contreras' numbers have bounced back in the last month or so. It wasn't all that long ago that he was batting around .200 with no power, but he has raised his OPS up to .753 thanks to a 1.797 OPS in July.
While there is no way Contreras' bat is that hot to finish the year, I do think he has found his groove once again as one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball, which will be a huge boost to the Cardinal lineup. They need his bat to play.
What I do think will remain a big question mark after this season is his ability to be the man behind the plate in 2024 and beyond. No, I don't see a full-on transition to DH or the outfield coming, but I do think it's very possible the Cardinals go into 2024 with Contreras and Herrera splitting time, and Contreras DHing on games when Herrera is behind the plate.
For as bad as the Cardinals pitching staff has been, Contreras does receive blame for how rocky things have been defensively for him. I'll link my recent story on his defense here, but it hasn't been pretty, and it is costing the Cardinals.
Perhaps another offseason working with the coaching staff and pitchers will improve things, but for now, I see Contreras being a question mark defensively for 2024.