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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#2 - Opening Day lineup vs. left-handed pitching

Year one of manager Oli Marmol showed he's all for playing the splits, which I think will make the lineup versus left-handed pitching look fairly different than right-handed.

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

Again, there are a lot of variations Marmol could go with here, but I think this lineup seems pretty likely for the beginning of the season. While both Edman and Carlson have struggled to varying degrees against right-handers, they both mash left-handed pitching, with .829 and .869 OPS, respectively. If they are going to continue that trend in 2023, there is no reason not to maximize the number of at-bats they receive against the starter. If their opponent goes to their bullpen for a righty, the club could pinch-hit Carlson with Walker, or if he is starting that day, one of O'Neill or Nootbaar.

I swapped O'Neill and Contreras in this lineup due to the style of hitters they are against left-handers. Even in a down 2022 season, O'Neill managed a .788 OPS against left-handed pitching, and during his 2021 campaign, was at a 1.026 OPS. Although Contreras had a .859 OPS against lefties last year, his average was .219 and his OBP was .325. He does a lot of damage against lefties but does not get on base quite as much. Just my personal preference, and I think it allows O'Neill to see better pitches hitting between Arenado and Contreras.

I gotta be honest, a 7-8-9 of Yepez, Nootbaar, and Donovan has got to be one of the best bottom-of-the-lineup trios in the game. That's just how good the Cardinals are against left-handed pitching.

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