5 ways the St. Louis Cardinals should construct their lineup in 2023

Sep 7, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Tommy Edman (19) celebrates
Sep 7, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Tommy Edman (19) celebrates / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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#1 - Opening Day lineup vs. right-handed pitching

I'll start by looking at the likely lineups based on pitch handedness before looking at some unique lineup types.

1. CF Lars Nootbaar 2. 2B Brendan Donovan 3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt 4. 3B Nolan Arenado 5. C Willson Contreras 6. LF Tyler O'Neill 7. DH Juan Yepez 8. RF Jordan Walker 9. SS Tommy Edman

Honestly, there is so much that could change about this lineup, but I am going a bit bold here and predicting a shake-up to the lineup during the season for the Cardinals. While Dylan Carlson could easily be the starting center fielder against right-handed pitching and Nolan Gorman may end up being the DH or at 2nd base, I am predicting Walker makes the Opening Day roster as an everyday player.

While I am a believer that Carlson will bounce back in 2023, his struggles against right-handed pitching were a real thing last year, and managing just a .686 OPS in 933 career plate appearances against them. If Walker impresses enough this spring to make the Opening Day roster, I think Carlson will lose playing time when right-handers are on the mound.

The Cardinals will likely keep their duo of Nootbaar and Donovan at the top of their lineup, who provide a mix of on-base skills and energy in front of their two MVP candidates. Having Contreras, O'Neill, and Yepez following up the MVP duo gives St. Louis a strong middle-of-the-order. Walker and Edman rounding out the lineup improves greatly on their 2022 lineup when one of Molina or Knizner was weighing down the lineup in one of those spots.

Still, the Cardinals have options like Carlson and Gorman who will still see significant time against right-handers as the club rotates its players. Burleson would likely see plenty of time as well if he is on the roster, but it's hard to see a scenario where all of Walker, Burleson, O'Neill, Carlson, Nootbaar, and Yepez make the roster.