3 players the St. Louis Cardinals need to remain patient with and 2 they should not

Apr 12, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Alec Burleson (41) and center
Apr 12, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Alec Burleson (41) and center / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Remain patient with: Alec Burleson

One of the things fans tend to do with Cardinals' prospects when they first come up and make immediate opinions about them. Some become "our guys" and fans "ride or die" with them, while other prospects fans will give up on after a small sample size.

Alec Burleson was drafted in 2020, the same draft class as Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn, and Tink Hence. He hit so well during the start of his professional career that he rose all the way to the Major Leagues in under two seasons of work. His start to his MLB career hasn't been the flashiest, but there's a reason he cracked MLB's top 100 prospect lists last year, and why the Cardinals are so high on him.

Burleson has the potential to be a very good hitter in this league, someone who can hit for a good average and bring a nice amount of pop to the plate as well. He's never going to be a good defender, but he's also someone that should continue to improve out there.

I'm not arguing that Burleson has been some kind of stud so far during his Cardinals' tenure, but he's also beginning to heat up for the club. Over the last 7 days, Burleson has a .794 OPS, and he has very encouraging underlying numbers courtesy of Baseball Savant.

Fans and media have killed the Cardinals publically for not giving their young outfielders of the past (like Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia) enough playing time to prove that they belong. Right now, the Cardinals have three outfielders on the IL and are currently playing Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan out there. The Cardinals don't have to play Burleson every day, but to give up on him now or dramatically reduce his opportunity seems like it has the potential to backfire long-term.