Rating the ratings: Evaluating MLB The Show 24's judgment of the top 6 Cardinals

MLB The Show 24 just released its overall ratings of the top six St. Louis Cardinals in the game, and some of them could cause gamers to raise an eyebrow.

St. Louis Cardinals Photo Day
St. Louis Cardinals Photo Day / Elsa/GettyImages
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The release of MLB The Show is one of the best days of the year for the gamer and baseball fan, but those who play as the St. Louis Cardinals in 2024 might feel a pang of disappointment compared with last year when looking at the ratings of the players on their beloved Redbirds. MLB The Show released its list of the top six Cardinals by their overall ratings to start the season. Let's dig into them a bit.

Paul Goldschmidt — Overall: 91 (2023 overall: 96)

Paul Goldschmidt was rated as the top player on the Cardinals at the beginning of the year for MLB The Show 23, and that continues this season. The difference? Five. His overall rating dropped from 96 to 91, and I have to agree with that stat reduction. It's slightly surprising that it's not even lower given his career-worst season, where hit a paltry (for his standards) .268 and was only adequate in the field, but being just two years removed from an MVP award will likely lend Goldschmidt some grace for at least a bit longer.

Sonny Gray — Overall: 89 (2023 overall: 80)

After what was perhaps the best season of his career, Sonny Gray received a nine-point bump in the ratings for this iteration of the game. It was a well-deserved reward, as Gray finished second in American League Cy Young Award voting. Although one might argue for a bigger jump given his second-place finish, 2023 was a down year for elite pitching. Gray will be the best Cardinals pitcher in MLB The Show since Adam Wainwright nearly a decade ago and just beat out the 88 overalls of Jack Flaherty and Carlos Martinez a few years back.

Ryan Helsley — Overall: 87 (2023 overall: 86)

After an elite 2022 that saw Ryan Helsley jump from an overall in the 60s in MLB The Show 22 to an 86 in the following edition, he slipped a bit in 2023, as his ERA rose by over a full run. Despite that, Helsley's overall rating actually went up a point for this year's game. One point isn't much of a difference, but I would have expected Helsley to slip by at least three points after his walk rate nearly doubled in 2023. I don't know how to explain San Diego Studios' thinking here — perhaps they believed they underrated Helsley last season — but I'll be happy to have a lockdown closer.

Nolan Arenado — Overall: 86 (2023 overall: 94)

I believe the studio gave Nolan Arenado a bit of a raw deal with this rating. A nagging back injury clearly curtailed his defensive aptitude last season, and it's likely that his defensive erosion, however artificial, will show up in his attributes. We can't disregard his hitting, where he had his worst full season, with a .266 average, but given his likely return to form on defense, I think this rating will become a bit higher in future roster updates. On the other hand, if Arenado's hitting continues to wane, he might bleed overall points even more quickly in subsequent versions of the game as his star dims with age.

Willson Contreras — Overall: 84 (2023 overall: 83)

No complaints here. After a slow start to his Cardinals career, Willson Contreras got hot at the plate and led the team in OPS in 2023. Catcher defense isn't as important in The Show as it is in real life (at least, I don't think framing is an attribute in the game, although that would be cool), so unless a player's attributes are weighted differently depending on the position they play when it comes to gauging their overall rating, Contreras should be even more valuable to the team than the 84 suggests.

Tommy Edman — Overall: 84 (2023 overall: 84)

On the surface, Tommy Edman might possess the most surprising rating of anyone on this list. He had an OPS of only .705 last season, but his rating is a strong example of how speed and defense, while not valued as highly as hitting in today's baseball, still make up more overall points than perhaps is realistic for a player in MLB The Show. Edman's primary position will switch from shortstop to center field in the upcoming game, and while his exceptional defense will be valuable there, it might be missed at shortstop, where his character will face a slight attribute penalty if he plays in one of his secondary positions.

I was initially surprised that Nolan Gorman is not in the top six Cardinals for the starting roster of MLB The Show 24 given his excellent hitting ability, but his subpar contact skills and his mediocre defense are likely to blame given that those attributes are probably seen to be just as important as power.

Players' ratings will change every few weeks, so be on the lookout for ascending and descending players on the Cardinals. For more insight on MLB The Show throughout the year, check out Game Sided, the home of FanSided's video game community.

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