5 players who need to have bounce back seasons for the Cardinals in 2024

Which members of the St. Louis Cardinals need big improvements in 2024?
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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Paul Goldschmidt must have a bounce-back season for the Cardinals in 2024

Goldschmidt went from NL MVP in 2022 to fans wondering what happened and where their star first baseman had disappeared in 2023. Goldschmidt played on Team USA's team in the World Baseball Classic with his teammate, Arenado. Could this have exhausted him too early in the season? He seemed absent from the team at the plate several times during the season.

He hit .268/.363/.447 with an OPS of .810. This season, he had 31 doubles, 25 home runs, 89 runs scored and 80 RBI. Considering he was an MVP, comparing his numbers this season to his 2022 season would be unfair, but it is safe to say Goldschmidt had an off-season in 2023. He was two-for-13 in his last five games this season. That's just not how he performs.

Hopefully, he takes his time off and recharges this offseason. He will need to be the Goldschmidt the team desperately needs as a leader and power producer.

Miles Mikolas must have a bounce-back season for the Cardinals in 2024

To provide some semblance of continuity for the pitching staff beyond 2023, Mikolas signed a two-year extension worth $40 million. This will take him through the 2025 season to provide some familiarity and leadership for what is to be a different and younger pitching staff for the Cardinals over the next few seasons.

Mikolas' numbers in 2023 could be attributed to the team around him which had uncharacteristically massive declines on offense and defense.

He was 9-13 with an ERA of 4.78 in a career-high 35 starts. Over 201.1 innings, he gave up a career-high 226 hits and 107 earned runs.

While his teammates were not helpful, his 2023 results could have a lot to do with the pressure he put on himself to be an ace-like pitcher for the Cardinals. Except for Jordan Montgomery, most of the Cardinals' pitching staff was young and inexperienced or dealing with injuries.

Mozeliak is primed to make significant moves this offseason to improve the pitching staff. Hopefully, with the talent gained, Mikolas can take some of the pressure he's placed on himself and try to have a good, productive season in the middle of the rotation.