6 Cardinal players who are poised to take off in 2024

These St. Louis Cardinals players are bound to blossom in 2024.

Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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Ivan Herrera

After Andrew Knizner was not extended an arbitration contract, the keys to the backup catcher spot became Ivan Herrera's. The 23-year-old backstop figures to start about 40-50 games next year at catcher, and he could even see time as the designated hitter if his bat continues to show promise.

The greatest reason for optimism that Herrera will take off next year would be his stellar performance in the Caribbean Series this offseason. In 35 plate appearances for Panama, Herrera slashed .357/.486/.714 to go with 3 home runs, 5 walks, and 7 strikeouts. This potent offensive showing should lead him into a successful major league campaign in 2024.

Herrera maintains his rookie status this year, as he hasn't exceeded the rookie limits just yet. His output offensively in the majors thus far has been lackluster, but the young catcher showed progress last year. He is slashing .236/.339/.273 for an OPS+ of 73 in the majors for his career, but his slash line of .297/.409/.351 in 37 at-bats last year showed that he became more comfortable in his second showing at the highest level of baseball.

If Ivan Herrera can continue to progress offensively, especially in the power department, while maintaining his plus arm and glove, then the Cardinals will have one of the best backup catchers in baseball. In fact, a more even split between Willson Contreras and Ivan Herrera may benefit the team even more. With Yadier Molina on staff now, Herrera can lean on him for advice.

Look for a breakout season for Ivan Herrera in 2024, especially if he is able to see 300+ plate appearances next year. His performance in the Caribbean Series proves that he can hit at high levels, and his defense was his calling card throughout his minor league career. This combination should bode well for his 2024 showing.