Revisiting 6 freezing cold takes from the 2023 Cardinals season

As bad as 2023 was for the Cardinals, these 6 predictions might've been worse...
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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Freddy Pacheco will be the Cardinals' best rookie in the first half of 2023

This isn't really a freezing-cold take, but more of an odd one. In essence, we predicted that Jordan Walker wouldn't be called up immediately, and another rookie would step up to start 2023 instead. Once Walker was called up, we expected him to be the most impactful rookie, but to start the season it would be a more under-the-radar name. In 2022, Andre Pallante was that under-the-radar reliever who had a fantastic Spring Training and never stopped producing.

In 2023, we expected Freddy Pacheco to fill that role. However, due to injuries and setbacks at Spring Training, Pacheco never once took the mound for St. Louis despite being on the 40-man roster. As a result of these injuries, the once-promising arm of Pacheco was designated for assignment. The Detroit Tigers claimed him off waivers, and Pacheco would not even have a chance to debut in 2023.

Many believed letting Pacheco go rather than letting him recover from his injuries was a mistake by the Cardinals at the time. However, the Tigers would DFA Pacheco after he underwent Tommy John Surgery, only for him to clear waivers and re-sign with the club on a minor league contract. If Pacheco had stayed healthy and on the Cardinals' roster, he might've been an impactful bullpen arm, but for now, he'll remain an intriguing what-if.

Jordan Walker was called up for Opening Day and was sort of the best rookie in the first half of 2023 by default. There's an argument to be made between him and Alec Burleson, but Walker's offensive numbers were much better. Both suffered from subpar defense, Walker's being particularly bad, but in a season as abysmal as 2023 was for the Cardinals, a "best rookie" probably wouldn't have the most stellar season anyway.