3 eventual contributors who won't make the St. Louis Cardinals' opening day roster

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Packy Naughton, LHP

Packy Naughton has an outside chance to snag the last left-handed bullpen spot, but Zack Thompson and Genesis Cabrera are probably the favorites for the roles. Naughton emerged as a solid control and command artist for the Cardinals in 2022, and his 3.14 FIP, far lower than his 4.78 ERA, points to some bad luck in the results.

Naughton's lack of a blazing fastball limits his upside, but he still struck out 31 batters in 32 innings last season, mostly because of his deceptive changeup that batters chased out of the zone 50% of the time and a slider that had a 33.3% swing-and-miss rate.

Naughton has one minor league option remaining, and it is feasible that the Cardinals will exercise one of Thompson's two options instead and begin the season with Naughton, especially if the team is of the idea that Thompson should be stretched into a starter. They could also opt to roll with three southpaws and begin the season with Naughton as part of that trio.

Naughton isn't the most exciting pitcher, but he has a high floor given his ability to put the ball wherever he wants. I expect the Cardinals to call for his services soon, even if they roll with more established pitchers first.