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
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Steven Matz

When the St. Louis Cardinals signed Steven Matz to a 4-year, $44 million deal in November of 2021, there was always a concern given his injury history. Those issues were not assuaged these past two seasons, as he barely surpassed 100 innings in only one season of the two seasons since signing his contract.

Matz is coming off the best season of his career in 2021 with the Toronto Blue Jays in which he pitched 150 innings with a 3.82 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 22.3% K rate, and a 1.33 WHIP. He tallied 2.7 fWAR that year. He reached the 150-inning mark two other times in his career, so there was hope he could reach that milestone once again.

Assuming Matz has a healthy season next year, he could vault into the team's #2 starting pitcher spot. Steven Matz has been working all offseason to prepare for the 162-game season through physical therapy sessions prior to throwing baseballs. This proactive approach to health will hopefully allow Matz to pitch greater than 130 innings for just the 5th time in 10 seasons.

Matz's best pitch last year was his sinker, a pitch that he threw over half of the time. His strength lies in his ability to induce soft outs, so don't expect much in the strikeout realm for the lefty.

ZiPS projects Steven Matz to make 31 appearances (19 starts) and pitch 112 innings. ZiPS projects the southpaw to finish 2024 with a 3.99 ERA, 3.98 FIP, a 73% groundball rate, and a 22.5% K rate paired with a 7.1% walk rate. While it is likely that Matz makes more starts thus increasing his innings total, those are strong numbers for a mid-rotation starting pitcher.

The Cardinals' rotation is desperate for a #2 starting pitcher. If Steven Matz can replicate his health and output of his 2021 season with the Blue Jays, he could fill that void for the team. He should have every opportunity to strut his stuff in the rotation next year.