4 perplexing mysteries that the Cardinals must unravel

The St. Louis Cardinals have to figure out the solutions to these head-scratchers if they want to succeed in 2024 and beyond.
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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Jordan Walker's loss of power

Jordan Walker was the Cardinals' hotshot top prospect who razed the minor leagues in 2021 and 2022, hitting 33 home runs across the two levels. After raking throughout Spring Training in 2023, Walker forced his way onto the roster and hit 16 more bombs.

The Cardinals sent Walker down to Memphis in late April of last season to work on his launch angle, and while the action was widely criticized, his adjustments seemed to bear results. However, Walker's power has evaporated in 2024: He failed to hit a home run in 67 major league plate appearances, and in Memphis, he has only hit one home run in 118 plate appearances.

In the Cardinals' effort to change Walker's swing to have him the ball in the air more often, they might have done lasting damage to his power production. His ISO in St. Louis before his latest demotion was only .103, and he had a whopping 50% ground ball rate. He also showed issues with pitch recognition, particularly fastballs and sliders that were low and away.

Walker's power drain is extremely concerning, and he'll need to find that lost thump before earning a promotion to St. Louis. Walker needs to play every day and receive regular at-bats to develop well at the major league level, but if he can't find his stroke in the minor leagues, the Cardinals' most hyped prospect since Oscar Taveras could wind up falling far short of fans' expectations.