(2) - Willson Contreras and Andrew Knizner
No surprises here. Contreras will be replacing Yadier Molina behind the plate this year and look to bring an elite bat to the position that the Cardinals have not had since 10 or so years ago during Molina's MVP candidacy runs. While many have knocked Contreras for not being great behind the plate, his arm, which does grade out among the top in baseball, should be a great asset in a year when stolen base attempts are expected to rise significantly. With how much of an advantage Molina created in the run game for St. Louis, this is a big deal.
Andrew Knizner will likely serve as Contreras’ backup to start the season, but as I speculated recently, I could easily see Herrera replacing him midway through the year. With Contreras hopefully catching 120 games or so, allowing Herrera to get everyday playing time in Memphis, for now, is a good call for his development.
(7) - Paul Goldschmidt, Brendan Donovan, Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez, and Paul DeJong
Again, pretty chalk here when it comes to my picks. Yepez may belong better in the outfield category, but I would imagine he sees some time at first base, which is why I placed him here. Yepez will likely serve most of his time at DH though.
Another DH candidate for the club is Nolan Gorman, but as I talked about in a past article, the ideal world is that he sees the most games at second base next year and allows Brendan Donovan to play all over the diamond. Gorman's bat, if it plays to his potential, would make him one of the best-hitting second basemen in baseball, which is a huge asset to this club. Donovan will play every day, but I don't imagine that will be as a "primary" second baseman, rather he will see time at shortstop, third base, first base, DH, and maybe outfield as well.
Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Tommy Edman will likely lead the team in games played this season, as the former two are MVP candidates that they need in their lineup as often as possible, and Edman lack's a true backup unless Paul DeJong bounces back or the team is good giving a lot of time to Donovan there. The only player I see potential in dropping from the roster is DeJong, as the Cardinals have acquired multiple depth shortstops this off-season that could replace him if his last shot does not go well.