Predicting who makes St. Louis Cardinals Opening Day as Spring Training begins

Which brave and talented men will lead the Cardinals to victory next year?

St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins / Sam Navarro/GettyImages
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Catchers (2) -- Willson Contreras, Ivan Herrera

This position was also easy to fill out. With Andrew Knizner off the roster, the backup spot was granted to Ivan Herrera. Herrera, 23, has been putting on a show in the Caribbean series, and he is well deserving of a Major League roster spot. Contreras will take the reigns as the lead backstop for the Cardinals next year, though his time spent behind the plate will likely be capped around 110-120 games. His bat is too valuable to leave out of a lineup, so expect Contreras to be the designated hitter on occasion.

Pedro Pages is waiting in the wings should either one of Contreras or Herrera get injured, but if both stay healthy all year, this catching tandem could rank among the best in the National League let alone in all of Major League Baseball.

Infielders (6) -- Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, Nolan Arenado, Masyn Winn, and Matt Carpenter

5 of the 6 players listed above are obvious. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are fixtures on the corners, and they remain in 2024. Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman will be fighting for second base starts, but the odd man out will happily take designated hitter at-bats. Masyn Winn has every opportunity to be the team's starting shortstop, but he isn't penned in. Underperformance in spring could detract from his starting spot.

If Winn starts in the minors, this list gets a bit more convoluted. The other challenging aspect of this exercise is who gets the 26th spot. Two months ago, the answer would've been Richie Palacios, but he was traded. One month ago, it was an open competition between Luken Baker, Jared Young, Buddy Kennedy, Jose Fermin, or even Thomas Saggese. Since then, however, Matt Carpenter has returned on a 1-year, $740,000 contract. Given his leadership, familiarity with the organization, and a guaranteed major league contract, it is likely Marp will get the final spot.

I wanted to go bold with the final roster spot and throw in someone like Cesar Prieto or Thomas Saggese, but Carpenter's guaranteed contract complicates things. He's not a very exciting 26th man, but it will be refreshing to see Carpenter back in St. Louis.