4 reasons why the St. Louis Cardinals are beginning to heat up

St. Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox
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Lars Nootbaar is living up to the offseason hype

After an offseason where Lars Nootbaar began to get a ton of hype from both national and local media, Nootbaar's expectations skyrocketed even further after he became an international superstar while playing for Team Japan at the World Baseball Classic.

It started to feel like the expectations were so high that no matter what Nootbaar did, he was not going to be able to justify them. In reality, he has been everything fans could have hoped for and more.

In 25 games this season, Nootbaar is slashing .302/.444/.442 with 3 HR and 13 RBI, good for a 151 wRC+ on the season. The crazy thing is, if you look at his Baseball Savant page, he's not hitting the ball nearly as hard as he was last year, showing that he could have even more production waiting to be unleashed this season.

Nootbaar is the perfect table setter for a lineup full of powerful hitters. With guys like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Nolan Gorman, and Willson Contreras hitting behind him, his on-base skills should turn into runs more often than not. Nootbaar ranks in the 99th percentile in walk percentage and 100th percentile in chase rate, but when the ball is in the zone, he knows how to do damage with it.

The Cardinals have had a lot of frustration with their outfield this year, but Nootbaar has been the clear bright spot and is helping carry the Cardinals to wins now.