While the 2023 season is in full swing, it's never too early to think about what the 2024 roster may look like
Before the St. Louis Cardinals began the 2022 season, I wrote about how the club was ready to compete that season, but that their real championship window may be opening up in 2023 or 2024. As I sit here today, I feel even more confident in that take.
Not just because the Cardinals fizzled out in the Wild Card Series last year, but because of the way they have positioned this roster to grow and evolve between now and July 2024. For as fun as last year's team was, this season is showing why the Cardinals have been so hesitant to move on from their young core, and how they are now positioned to not only see improvements internally from those guys but can also now address their major needs when the right time comes.
Already this season, we have seen the emergence of Nolan Gorman as an All-Star level 2B/DH option with elite middle-of-the-order power. We got to see the debut of Jordan Walker, and he will be rejoining the roster to produce again in the near future. Lars Nootbaar has built off of the hype he got over the offseason and is one of the most promising young outfielders in baseball. Not to mention guys like Tommy Edman, Brendan Donovan, Alec Burleson, Dylan Carlson, and Juan Yepez, let alone Masyn Winn who is knocking on the door.
On the pitching front, we've seen the return of Matthew Liberatore after a rocky 2022 sesaon, and he now looks ready to be a quality rotation arm for the club. While Miles Mikolas has reemerged as a very good number two starter, the real excitement is in their pipeline, with guys like Tink Hence, Cooper Hjepre, Gordon Graceffo, and Michael McGreevy all making their ways toward St. Louis. Again, that doesn't even include arms like Zach Thompson, Connor Thomas, Guillermo Zuniga, and Brycen Mautz.
While I don't think any of us would say they are a championship contender in their current state, it's not all that difficult to see how an aggressive trade deadline or offseason can set this team up to be a true contender in 2024.
While of course it's too early to tell what this team will look like come Opening Day in 2024, I want to predict what I think the Cardinals' roster will look like when that day comes. Even if the Cardinals do not go in this exact direction, I think it will give you a glimpse of why I am so optimistic about their chances over the next few years.