Cardinals first Spring Training lineups feature some interesting names to watch

Spring Training games are finally here and the Cardinals' lineups feature some interesting decisions.

Feb 19, 2024; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Lars Nootbaar (21) talks to
Feb 19, 2024; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Lars Nootbaar (21) talks to / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals kick off their Spring Training games today with a split squad outing against the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets. You can catch the Cardinals' game against the Marlins over on Bally Sports Midwest and their outing against the Mets on MLB.TV.

The first starting lineups of the spring have been posted, and feature some interesting lineup choices up and down the order.

Cardinals' Lineups:

CF Dylan Carlson
1B Paul Goldschmidt
2B Nolan Gorman
3B Nolan Arenado
C Willson Contreras
DH Matt Carpenter
RF Alec Burleson
SS Jose Fermin
LF Michael Siani
SP Matthew Liberatore

2B Brendan Donovan
LF Lars Nootbaar
RF Jordan Walker
C Ivan Herrera
DH Luken Baker
1B Alfonso Rivas
3B Buddy Kennedy
CF Victor Scott II
SS Arquimedes Gamboa

The first thing to note is the Cardinals' shortstop situation. Tommy Edman still has not been cleared for baseball activities, and Masyn Winn has been dealing with some upper-body tightness but will be able to see game action on Sunday. In their absence, Jose Fermin and non-roster invite Arquimedes Gamboa draw the starts at shortstop. While there have been outside concerns about Brendan Donovan's elbow entering the spring, he's fully cleared and ready to play with no limitations.

The Cardinals' shortstop depth has become a major topic at camp, and the club is at least exploring the idea of adding another option via free agency. I looked at five potential options earlier today that they may look to sign. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has talked openly about his desire for one of his former teammates to fill that role, something I covered in the piece as well.

There are a variety of other factors to watch today as well beyond the shortstop conversation. Against the Mets, we get to see the young, dynamic outfield of Lars Nootbaar, Victor Scott II, and Jordan Walker. While Walker and Nootbaar are entrenched starters, Scott is hoping to have a strong camp and push his way into that conversation. Against the Mets, we'll see Dylan Carlson in center field flanked by Alec Burleson and Michael Siani.

On the mound, Zack Thompson draws the start against the Mets while Matthew Liberatore will duel against the Marlins. Both guys are fighting for the opportunity to be the Cardinals' sixth starter, whether that's in a six-man rotation to begin the season or as the "next man up" if an injury happens. Both guys could also feature in the bullpen mix as well, so each time they take the mound will be an audition for either role.