Jordan Walker's incredible rise with the Cardinals has gone under the radar

Cardinals coaches noted Jordan Walker's fantastic strides in 2023 and fans should be excited to see him play in 2024.
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages

Jordan Walker's rookie season might've been as turbulent as that of the 2023 Cardinals. With a midseason demotion to Triple-A and learning to play right field at the Major League level, he received much undue criticism from both Cardinals fans and national media.

Despite an impressive slash-line of .276/.342/.445/.787 with a 114 OPS+, the 21-year-old's poor defensive numbers resulted in a negative bWAR. While many have speculated if Walker will be moved to first base after Paul Goldschmidt's contract expires, the Cardinals' coaching staff has expressed faith in Walker's athleticism and ability to play outfield.

At the 2024 Winter Warm-Up, manager Oliver Marmol said that Jordan Walker has been working with Jose Oquendo on his defense this offseason at the team's facility in Jupiter. Both Marmol and Oquendo have expressed faith that Walker will make significant defensive strides this season. Moreover, as reported by site expert Josh Jacobs, Walker has built muscle mass this offseason weighing in at around 260 pounds, stating he feels much more explosive.

I interviewed first base coach Stubby Clapp alongside Josh and site contributor Sandy McMillan for the Noot News Podcast recently, and he expressed similar excitement for Walker's development. As a former utility man who played all three outfield positions, Clapp noted right field as the most difficult one to learn. Walker was immediately thrust into the difficult role of learning to play right field at the Major League level while playing right field at the Major League level, so of course the defensive results were not great immediately.

With Walker making strides this offseason both offensively and defensively, he might just break out in 2024 becoming one of the key contributors for the Cardinals. By becoming at least a league-average defender and increasing his launch angle which results in fewer ground balls, the sky is the limit for Walker's future in St. Louis.

Amidst the worst Cardinals season in decades, Walker's rise to the Major Leagues has gone criminally under the radar. Get excited to watch Jordan Walker in 2024. He might just be the missing piece to thrust the Cardinals into World Series contention.