7. Paul DeJong
Paul DeJong has been unfairly judged by fans who want him traded away. Thankfully, team president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has been patient with DeJong, who is in the final season of a guaranteed six-year contract worth $26 million.
DeJong's numbers have suffered as he's tried to recuperate from injury while getting comfortable again at the plate. The one-time All-Star shortstop had declined after the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season.
DeJong spent this offseason working on a more simplified batting stance that eliminated a leg kick he used to gain power. Now, DeJong depends on balance and using his wrists to force through his swings.
The results have been an improvement so far. Through nine games, he's hitting .333/.389/.576 with 11 hits, two doubles, five runs, and four RBI. He knocked two home runs.
It's unclear if his current rate of play will lead to the Cardinals activating his 2024 club option, but it is nice to see him hitting again.
6. Dylan Carlson
Dylan Carlson is another player that's been received with some frustration, as the once top prospect in the organization has struggled to gain a consistent position in the outfield as well as playing time. While Carlson has been used in all three outfield positions, he's had some of his best results in center field.
While Oli Marmol was fit to put Carlson in left field with Tyler O'Neill, who won Gold Glove awards in left field, played center, the two struggled. Carlson has earned time in the center field and is now hitting with some consistency.
In 24 games, Carlson slashes .234/.286/.364 with 18 hits, four doubles, two home runs, ten runs, and 11 RBI.
With some more consistency, it will be fun to see how Carlson's season continues.