Ranking the Cardinals biggest threats in the NL Central in 2024

While the National League Central is one of the weakest divisions in Major League Baseball, there are still some tough teams. Which teams pose the biggest threat to the Cardinals in 2024?

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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The St. Louis Cardinals had control of the National League Central for the better part of two decades. Since 2000, the Redbirds have won the division 11 times. In the remaining 11 years in which they didn't win the division, they made it into the postseason as a Wild Card in 5 of those seasons.

The Chicago Cubs had a run from 2015-2017 in which they were the favorites in the division; the Brewers have been led by a strong starting rotation in recent years; the Pirates have shown the possibility of contention, especially in the mid-2010's. However, things appear to be changing quickly.

The most recent MLB.com midseason prospect rankings placed the Cardinals' farm system 22nd overall. The trade deadline moves provided some boost, but the graduation of Nolan Gorman, Jordan Walker, and others in recent years sure brought down the team's high-end prospect talent. The other 4 division rivals in the NL Central have farm systems that are ranked much higher. The Reds are ranked 5th overall, the Cubs are ranked 4th, the Brewers are ranked 3rd, and the Pirates have the second-best farm system in all of baseball.

In addition to the worst farm system in the division, the Cardinals' 2023 season has left fans worried about the team's future control of the division. Underperformance and questionable management are definitely concerns for this team in the future. While the Cardinals have a lot to do to even contend in the division next year, they would be wise to keep a close eye on their counterparts in the NL Central.

Which teams in the National League Central pose the biggest threat to the Cardinals in 2024 and beyond?