Ranking the St. Louis Cardinals who will benefit the most from new rule changes
#1 - Tommy Edman
Baserunning, hitting, and defensively, Tommy Edman may have benefited the most out of any single player this off-season with the addition of the shift.
After stealing 32 bases in 2022 and 30 in 2021, Edman has established himself as one of the best base stealers in baseball to this point. His elite skills in swiping bags will only be more valuable now, and you could see Edman stealing 40-50 bags this season. Larger bases, timing a pitcher's move to the plate, and only two pick-off throws to first will make Edman's life on the base paths even more successful.
Edman is one who has historically hit worse as a left-handed hitter against right-handed pitching, but that may see a significant improvement as well this year. His .260 wOBA against the shift was significantly lower than his .345 wOBA without the shift on against him, so there is reason to believe he will take strides forward there as well. Also, getting on base more means more opportunities to steal as well.
Lastly, Edman's incredible defense will be valued even more highly than it was before. His range and sure-handedness will come in handy at one of the most difficult defensive positions in the game. Should Masyn Winn come up in the next year or two, Edman could shift back over to second base and easily be the most valuable defensive second baseman in baseball, and perhaps the most valuable second baseman today.
Huge opportunities to improve in all facets of the game should see Edman gain an even higher standing within the game of baseball this year, and cement himself as a core member of this Cardinals team for years to come.