2023 St. Louis Cardinals player grades: The Starting Nine

With the 2023 MLB officially over, it is time to analyze each player's season with the St. Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics v St. Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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CF Lars Nootbaar:

NOOOOOOOOOT! 

Now that the hype is over, hopefully, fans can see the player Nootbaar actually is. He is a consistent player who probably has reached his ceiling of potential….which is not a bad thing! He is a good player who hits above average (115 OPS+) and plays good defense (3 DRS/yr). Most fans want Noot to be a superstar and see his Statcast metrics to back up their opinions. You have every right to because his Baseball Savant page is mostly red. But he has played to his career average with every stat for 3 years straight. Noot is Noot, and that's all there is to it. 

Overall Grade: B

RF Jordan Walker:

The prodigy. The manchild. The kid with more to prove. 

Walker had a rookie season that you cannot ask much more from. He slashed .276/.342/.445 (.787 OPS, 114 OPS+) with 16 HR, 51 RBI, and 7 SB. He did not stand out in any specific asset of the 5 tools to baseball, but he was consistent all season and looks like an established big leaguer. His WAR is -0.1 due to his defense which needs serious attention. But Walker is only 21 years old. We are just getting started with the kid. In just a few more seasons, we will get to see a star in the making.

Overall Grade: B-

DH Alec Burleson:

Burleson had the most to prove going into 2023 in my opinion. With the outfield being extremely competitive for starting spots and position depth, it was anyone's for the taking. Burly is known for his bat and has the potential of becoming the lefty thumper the Cardinals have been missing since Matt Adams. Burly pretty much showed nothing to offer in 2023. He had a slashline of .244/.300/.390 (.691 OPS, 87 OPS+) with -0.8 WAR.

On top of the poor hitting, Burly produced -12 DRS/yr in the OF. So not only can he not field which limits his positions on the field, but he could not hit above league average! Many players will be considered for roster consideration next season. The team needs lots of pitching help and it is highly expected that the Cardinals will be trading player depth to obtain it. Expect Burly to be in those discussions.

Overall Grade: D-