Jameson McCurdy ( @J_macc14 on Twitter )
MVP: Nolan Arenado
Arenado improved offensively in so many ways in his second season in St. Louis. He is coming into this season fresh off a great performance in the World Baseball Classic, and in his brief time with the Cardinals in spring, it seems to be the year Arenado carries this team deep into the playoffs.
Cy Young: Jordan Montgomery
Montgomery was great for the Cardinals after acquiring him at the trade deadline last season. He is coming into this season expecting to be in the top 3 of the rotation and give the Cardinals a lot of innings. With the combination of Montgomery having the trust of the coaching staff placed in him and being a contract year, it seems like a perfect combination for him to have a big season.
X-Factor: Tyler O’Neill
Tyler O'Neill was the protection in the lineup for Goldschmidt and Arenado in 2021, but other than that it’s been a struggle at the big-league level with consistency and health. Playing time won’t be a given anymore with the outfield depth the Cardinals have. If he can get back to where he was in 2021, which I believe he definitely can, along with his elite speed and defense he will be a crucial piece to how far the Cardinals this year.
Two-sentence team evaluation:
The Cardinals have a lineup that consists of power, speed, versatility, and a good mix of veterans and rookies that can produce offense with the best of them. The pitching, preferably the rotation, needs to be healthy this season and they’ll have to find ways to win more games against tougher opponents outside of the NL Central with the new schedule set up.
Bold Prediction: Nolan Arenado wins the Triple Crown
It is becoming obvious to everyone that Nolan Arenado and the St.Louis Cardinals are a match made in baseball heaven. He loves this city, he loves playing for the Cardinals, and you know he’s eager to go deep in the postseason for the first time in his career. With the fiery edge he has playing the game, I think he never has a ceiling, he can always improve his game and strive for perfection. I know winning a Triple Crown is very rare to achieve, but if I had to bet on someone to win one in the near future, Arenado would surely be on that small list.