5 bold predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals this Spring Training

Here's five bold predictions for the Cardinals in 2024.

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Brendan Donovan contends for the batting title

Here's one that's just for fun, as the batting title means a lot less than it used to. However, I believe Brendan Donovan has the tools required to post a batting average over .300 and contend with the top averages in the National League. He struggled quite a bit at the start of the 2023 season as pitchers realized his "get on base" approach made him less aggressive at the plate.

However, after Donovan started swinging at more first-pitch strikes, his offensive numbers greatly improved, and he looked like his old self before being shut down due to his elbow injury. In June he hit .307 and in July he hit .325 following his adjustments. Of course, I don't expect him to stay hot for the entire season, but his elite bat-to-ball skills and extremely low strikeout rate give him the tools to hit for an elite average.

I don't expect Donovan to turn into a "slap hitter" like Luis Arraez or even win the batting title, but power-oriented hitters have hit for high averages recently too. Freddie Freeman made it a race at the end of last season batting .331, his new teammate Shohei Ohtani hit .304, and Aaron Judge hit .311 in his MVP campaign. This isn't to say that Donovan will hit for the same power as these superstars, but even if he tries for more extra-base hits, his average shouldn't be affected too much.

It's certainly a bold prediction as Donovan has never hit above .290 in his short career, but I expect him to learn more from his past shortcomings, swing more aggressively, and elevate his batting average in turn. Ultimately, while average isn't as important of a stat as other hitting metrics, having a high-average leadoff man like Donovan will be highly beneficial to the Cardinals in 2024.