Fluke: Steven Matz
After an injury-plagued 2022 season where he only managed 48 innings, Steven Matz was splendid in Spring Training this year, leading fans to hope that he could be a fixture in the rotation. During Spring Training, Matz had a 1.53 ERA in 17.2 innings with 17 strikeouts.
However, Matz lost his touch when the regular season came around. In his first start, he surrendered 10 hits and four earned runs in 5.1 innings, and it was a sign of things to come. After 10 starts, an 0-6 record, and a 5.72 ERA, Matz was banished to the bullpen, where he has fared better.
The Cardinals expected a lot out of Matz after awarding him a four-year contract before he threw a single pitch for the team. Even though Matz has improved upon his change in roles, it's hard to see his contract with the Cardinals as anything more than a failure.
Legit: Nolan Gorman
Although Nolan Gorman is currently enduring a frigid spell at the plate, hitting .122 in his last 100 plate appearances, he was the Cardinals' best hitter throughout April and much of May. He arrived at Spring Training in great condition, and his stats reflected that, as he hit .288 with four home runs.
Gorman has the profile of a player who will be prone to cold streaks throughout his career because of his high strikeout total and propensity to swing and miss, but his hot streaks should put him on par with some of the best players in the game.
Gorman's defense is another trait that has carried over from Spring Training. Previously a liability at second base, Gorman showed major improvement at the keystone this spring, and that has carried over the regular season, allowing other players to serve as designated hitters and letting Gorman get time in the field.