Ranking the 10 most important St. Louis Cardinals players for the 2024 season

There's many crucial players to the Cardinals' success in 2024, but who are the most important?

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Aaron Doster/GettyImages
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The 2023 was dreadful and a combination of underperformance and poor roster construction led the St. Louis Cardinals to a dark place. With a roster as deep as it is, there will be many key contributors for the Cardinals to ensure 2024 doesn't go the same way, but some players' success and health are more critical than others. Here are the 10 most important Cardinals players ranked.

Site expert Josh Jacobs, site contributor Sandy McMillan, and I aggregated our respective lists which we shared on the Noot News Podcast, but here I'll break down my personal list.

#10 - Ryan Helsley

In the first half, the Cardinals were on pace to break records for blown saves, and this was largely due to a bullpen that was incomplete, ineffective, and largely injured. Jordan Hicks was ineffective for much of April before bouncing back, Giovanny Gallegos wasn't his usual self after an abysmal WBC performance, JoJo Romero's emergence wasn't until later in the season, and All-Star closer Ryan Helsley was injured for much of the early part of the season.

The season started poorly for Helsley as he blew a few saves in the first month of the season and he landed on the IL with a forearm strain. However, he returned later in the season looking like his old self, recording a 0.77 ERA in his final 11 outings of the season. Due to the departure of Jordan Hicks, and the rest of the bullpen not performing as expected, Helsley's success is critical as one of the few trusted high-leverage arms. However, now that the Cardinals have acquired veterans Andrew Kittredge and Keynan Middleton to bolster the back end of the bullpen, the Cardinals will rely much less on Helsley than they did in 2022 and 2023.

Hopefully, the new arms will allow Helsley to rest on days after pitching so the Cardinals can preserve his health for a prolonged Postseason run in 2024. Regardless, his health and performance as the definitive closer is extremely important.