6 Cardinals who are scuffling in Spring Training

Poor performances during Spring Training shouldn't make St. Louis Cardinals fans too nervous, but these six players could stand to step it up to assuage those who are concerned.

San Diego Padres v St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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Spring Training doesn't matter. We all know it. The St. Louis Cardinals finished Spring Training in 2023 with the best record in baseball, and look at how that season turned out. Hitters are tinkering with their swings and pitchers are playing around with their arsenals. If a normally strong player is performing poorly, there is often a good reason to write it off as him trying something new while the games don't count.

Regardless, the data from Spring Training is all fans have to go off of, so it's incredibly easy to make snap judgments of how players will fare during the season by poring over their Spring Training stats. So with the disclaimer that subpar performance in Spring Training is far from a death knell for a player, let's get into six Cardinals whom fans would like to see more out of before the regular season begins.

Kyle Gibson

The Cardinals headed into the offseason with a plan to sign starting pitchers who would be able to go deep into games and keep the bullpen fresh, and with that strategy in mind, they signed University of Missouri alumnus and longtime Cardinals fan Kyle Gibson, who ranks 15th among active players in innings pitched.

Gibson has been shaky so far in Spring Training: Through two starts, he has given up seven earned runs on eight hits in just five innings, with an opposing batting average of .348. Gibson has little margin for error in his pitch-to-contact approach, and if the 36-year-old shows his age and loses significant spin or break on his pitches, disaster will likely follow.

If Gibson's spring troubles carry over into the regular season, the Cardinals might have to seek reinforcements for the rotation. Sonny Gray's injury news is looking more positive by the day, so hopefully the Cardinals wouldn't have to dive too deeply into their farm system.

Paul Goldschmidt

After a banner year in 2022 that saw him win the National League MVP award, Paul Goldschmidt tumbled down a slope in 2023, accumulating an OPS of .810, his lowest mark since his rookie year. This spring, Goldschmidt has started slowly, hitting .200 with 4 hits in 20 at-bats while striking out in 10 of them.

It's worth noting that Goldschmidt nearly always takes a while to get going, so fans shouldn't hit the panic button on him even if he carries over his sluggish hitting to begin the season. However, Goldschmidt is 36, so the cliff could arrive at any time for the veteran slugger.

The Cardinals will undoubtedly roll with Goldschmidt as their primary first baseman throughout the season unless he gets hurt. Their primary replacement for him will likely be Alec Burleson. Jordan Walker might receive some reps there as well, although the Cardinals will likely want to play him in the outfield more to see if he can further improve his defense.