9 Cardinals who have been on fire the first month of the 2024 season, 9 who are cold

After the first month of the season, the Cardinals couldn't be any more of a mixed bag of performances. Who has been on fire for the club and who has been cold?
St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks
St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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On fire: Willson Contreras

The Cardinals' best position player this year by far is catcher Willson Contreras, who has carried a scorching hot finish to the 2023 season into 2024 while making major improvements defensively as well.

In 2023, Contreras was removed from his catching duties in what was a controversial move by the Cardinals' front office and coaching staff. While St. Louis handled his situation poorly, Contreras was not blameless, as his game prep and pitch calling were both put into question alongside some of the worst blocking and framing metrics in the league.

What has Contreras done so far in 2024? He has completely reversed the narrative in a way no one saw coming. We all hoped for and expected improvement this offseason, but Contreras has been excellent behind the plate thus far. Contreras ranks in the 77th percentile in blocks above average, 73rd percentile in framing, and 66 percentile in caught stealing above average. Not only that, the Cardinals' pitching staff has been noticeably better thus far, and while a lot of that has to do with personnel changes, I think it's fair to say Contreras is contributing in a positive way as well.

For all of the good that Contreras has provided behind the plate this year, it's his performance at the dish that makes him so valuable. Contreras is carrying an .860 OPS thus far in 2024 while hitting four home runs and eight doubles so far in a Cardinal lineup that cannot seem to get things done offensively. Contreras has been far and away their best hitter this year, and without him stepping up to the challenge, things could be really, really bad for St. Louis right now.

The Cardinals need to support Contreras with more offensive production starting immediately, but it's also time to acknowledge that Contreras has taken on the position as the club's most important bat. That's no shot at Paul Goldschmidt or Nolan Arenado, but Contreras, for the last four months of baseball the Cardinals have played dating back to July, has been one of the best hitters in all of baseball, and he's the bat that will carry the Cardinals this year.