4 big questions facing the Cardinals after 2 months of play

After two months of the 2024 season, the Cardinals have some big questions they have yet to answer.
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves / Brett Davis/GettyImages
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Which left-handed batter will take off?

A true batting order has balance. You need players who can get on base, players who can run, players who hit for power, and even players who are excellent at the sacrifice play. In addition to these styles of hitting, balance with hitter-handedness is preferred. The Cardinals have that -- on paper at least.

From the right side of the plate, the Cardinals can list Nolan Arenado, Ivan Herrera, Paul Goldschmidt, and Masyn Winn as near-consistent contributors. They also boast an array of left-handed batters. Lars Nootbaar (when healthy), Nolan Gorman, Alec Burleson, Brendan Donovan, and Matt Carpenter are all capable batters. The only issue is that not one has truly taken off this year. Burleson has been much improved offensively, and he currently sits as the team's best lefty bat.

Lars Nootbaar was showing signs of growth before straining his oblique, but the others haven't been able to take that next step to strike fear against right-handed pitchers. Matt Carpenter is a reserve player who is past his glory days. Nolan Gorman does have 11 home runs to his name, but he's striking out more than 35% of the time. Every figure in Brendan Donovan's slash line has dropped this year.

Offense across the league is down, but not one of these left-handed batters for the Cardinals has been great this year, and that's limited the offense's ceiling. If even just one of Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, or Lars Nootbaar -- whenever he returns -- can be a force in the lineup, the offensive profile of the team changes dramatically.