Many of the St. Louis Cardinals have reported for Spring Training. There are several players fans should keep an eye on.
Expectations are high for the Cardinals this 2023 season. It will be the final season with Adam Wainwright as the staff's ace. It's a changing of the guard with a new catcher in Willson Contreras, taking over with the retirement of Yadier Molina.
Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt are another year better. Dylan Carlson, Tyler O'Neill, Paul DeJong and Nolan Gorman are looking to better seasons. Miles Mikolas is in the final season of his current contract. Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty are in their final season before free agency.
Lars Nootbaar, Tommy Edman, and Brendan Donovan look to build on their success. Andrew Knizner and Ivan Herrera will battle it out to back up Contreras. And then the bullpen has several questions set to be answered this spring.
And then the team has several new coaches. Joe McEwing will take over as bench coach for Skip Schumaker, now skipper of the Marlins. Dusty Blake is the new pitching coach, replacing Mike Maddux, who is taking on the same role for the Rangers. Julio Rangel will be the assistant pitching coach/bullpen. Turner Ward takes over as hitting coach for Jeff Albert, who decided to depart due to mounting criticism on social media. Brandon Allen and Daniel Nicolaisen take over as assistant hitting coaches.
Let's take a closer look at some of the players to watch for this spring.
Jordan Walker is a prospect to watch
Walker is one of the most exciting prospects to watch in some time for the Cardinals. Drafted as a third baseman, he quickly made adjustments with the acquisition of Nolan Arenado to become more valuable at other positions for the team. He's transitioned to the outfield and has expressed hopes to become a starter in the outfield coming out of camp.
In 2022, he had a tremendous season at Springfield hitting .306/.388/.510 with a .898 OPS, 19 home runs, 22 stolen bases, 100 runs, and 68 RBIs.
It will be interesting to see how he will do given this opportunity in spring and how he adjusts to hitting against major league pitching. With Lars Nootbaar and Tyler O'Neill each participating in the World Baseball Classic, Walker should get plenty of work in the outfield.
If Walker breaks camp with the Cardinals or not, I'm sure we will see him with St. Louis this summer.