3 St. Louis Cardinals with disappointing second halves

These players have really struggled since the All-Star Break. Let's break down the problems!

St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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3. Dylan Carlson

Like the other two, Carlson had both a disappointing year and a more disappointing second half. Carlson was, no matter how you look at it, a bad hitter in 2023. Considering the fact that this was his fourth season, many fans believe it's time to move on. He hasn't shown much growth since a promising rookie season, and his 2023 was actually a huge step in the wrong direction. Carlson's power, once an exciting emerging tool, seems to have dried up completely. He endured a months-long power outage in 2023, which only seemed to build on a frustrating 2022.

Like O'Neill, Carlson has also struggled to stay healthy. He's again on the IL, though, like O'Neill again, this isn't his first trip in 2023. Carlson's season ended in early August. He will now receive zero opportunities to prove to the fans that he's anything other than a 4th outfielder. Also like O'Neill, Carlson's value is probably at an all-time low. Neither of them currently has the ability to fetch a starter with any real upside. This may convince the Cardinals to keep both players, rotating them to distribute playing time in 2024.

It's difficult to see how Carlson fits into the Cardinals' plans at this point in time. It seems that Edman, Nootbaar, and eventually Victor Scott II will each be a factor in center. That doesn't leave much room for Carlson, who struggled much more at the plate in 2023 than the others on this list did. Perhaps Carlson could return to his native position as a corner outfielder, but there he'd have to contend with Walker, Burlseon, Donovan, Yepez, and others. It also doesn't help Carlson's case that many fans see him as the reason Juan Soto isn't currently a Cardinal. Even though those fans are wrong, they're unlikely to change their minds any time soon.

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I believe O'Neill has a higher ceiling than Carlson, leaving me slightly less hopeful that he'll remain with the team. However, it's difficult to forget just how good both players were in 2021. They each seemed to be an integral part of the team's core. Now, in 2023, they're fringe players with unknown and non-guaranteed futures. A strong second half may have changed that for both players.