Jim Bowden just put out one of the worst Cardinals takes we've seen this year

I know a lot of people are down on the Cardinals in 2024, but Jim Bowden's ranking of their lineup is about as bad of a take as I've seen.
San Diego Padres v St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals ranked between the top 6 and top 8 in almost every major offensive category before the MLB trade deadline last year. Why is that important? Well, that's the timing of Brendan Donovan's season-ending surgery, and the Cardinals officially selling, and so we saw a number of random names taking at-bats throughout the second half as the club finished the season.

The core of this lineup is returning. Nolan Arenado is expected to bounce back, and even if he's not an MVP candidate again, many believe he'll be much better than slightly above league average at the plate. Willson Contreras was one of the best hitters in baseball during the second half, so a full season of him comfortable behind the plate should yield better results. This isn't to even mention Paul Goldschmidt, or the number of young bats who can take steps forward in Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman, Lars Nootbaar, and Brendan Donovan.

So when I took a glimpse at Jim Bowden's rankings of Opening Day lineups (subscription required), I thought to myself "Hm, I wonder if he'll see their upside and rank them in the top 5 this year?". Well, I scrolled down to number ten, and the Cardinals still hadn't shown up. My skin was already crawling a bit, but then I had to keep scrolling.

All the way down to number 17.

Jim Bowden had 16 different lineups ranked higher than the Cardinals come Opening Day.

I'm sorry, but that is one of, if not the, worst takes I have seen about this Cardinals team all offseason.

Maybe he's factoring in Lars Nootbaar not being available for a few games? Nope. Nootbaar was one of the people he named as a key part of this lineup, so I'm not even sure he was thinking he'd be missing any time. Let me name some of the lineups he had above the Cardinals...

Chicago Cubs
Seattle Mariners
Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers

Yes, he had the Milwaukee Brewers lineup ranked over the St. Louis Cardinals this year.

I don't blame national writers for not considering the Cardinals as a top-5 lineup in baseball this year. That's an aggressive take on my end, based on the idea that the lineup is healthy and guys continue to take steps forward in their development. But I have a hard time wrapping my head around how the Cardinals can be at worst a top-8 lineup in baseball with down years from their veterans and only have 10 games where their top 7 hitters played in together, and somehow be much worse in 2024 when their young guys should get even better.

Bowden isn't the only person who I find to be criminally low on the Cardinals' lineup. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com had the Cardinals' lineup outside his top 10 groups among many honorable mentions.

We are so close to the beginning of the regular season, so it's only a matter of time before we get to see the results do the talking. If the Cardinals lineup can only muster up being the 17th-best group in baseball this year, they are due for another disaster of a season, and we may even be looking at the beginning of a mini-rebuild or retool. I don't see the lineup that way at all, so we'll see what ends up happening here in the near future.