The A-Team: How did the potential 2024 Cardinals lineup perform in 2023?

With the 2024 roster nearly set, I wanted to look at how those players performed in games in which they mostly played together last year.

St. Louis Cardinals v Cleveland Guardians
St. Louis Cardinals v Cleveland Guardians / Ron Schwane/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 6
Next

April

April featured two primary absences: Lars Nootbaar due to a thumb injury and Masyn Winn due to his age and lack of experience. Jordan Walker also missed the last few games due to his demotion on April 26th. Aside from those three absences and general rest days for veterans, the Cardinals featured a lineup with at least seven of its 2024 players twelve times. The team went 2-10 in these games.

Two of those losses were at the hands of Jake Woodford, and one loss was due to a blown save by Ryan Helsley. In one game, St. Louis was only without Masyn Winn. The other eight players started that game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 16th. The team won 5-4 and had a batting average of .300. Lars Nootbaar went 1-2 with three walks; the team hit 5-13 with runners in scoring position.

The Cardinals' best players throughout April averaged only 3.17 runs per game, and they hit just .243 during the season's first full month. Paul Goldschmidt, Nootbaar, and Nolan Gorman all started off the season strong in April, but the rest of the team, particularly Nolan Arenado, did not perform up to their usual levels. When your best players struggle, the whole team feels it; the Cardinals' best players did not perform in April last year, thus leading to the team's tumultuous start to the season.

May

The month which featured one of the most consistent lineups was in May last year, the same month the Cardinals went 15-13 as a squad. If they would have had a similar winning percentage for the entire season as they did in May, the Cardinals would have ended up winning 86-87 games, and that would have been enough to be the second Wild Card team in the National League.

The team's best players also played well in thirteen games together. They finished the month with a 7-6 record, and the offense really took off. Their runs per game nearly doubled to 6.46 when at least seven of the nine 2024 starters played together, and their batting average rose to .245 for the month. Lars Nootbaar continued his hot start, and Willson Contreras began turning it around once he became a full-time designated hitter.

With Masyn Winn still in AAA and Jordan Walker being demoted in late April, the veterans of the roster were able to shine. On May 15th, the Cardinals played perhaps their best game of the season; they beat the Milwaukee Brewers 18-1 and every single player who had an at-bat got a hit except for Juan Yepez.

Toward the end of the month, the Cardinals' hitting with runners in scoring position woes began to rise to the surface. on May 24th, 26th, 27th, and 29th, the Cardinals' best players went just 2-23 with runners in scoring position; they lost three of those four games in turn. Nolan Arenado also began heating up in May.