Jordan Walker, OF
Best-case scenario: Rookie of the Year
Jordan Walker displayed eye-popping numbers through much of Spring Training and rightfully made the Opening Day roster. Walker has all the tools and hits rockets off the bat, and he’s already one of the favorites for Rookie of the Year, competing with Corbin Carroll in most projectors’ eyes. He looks like the complete package and could be a linchpin in the Cardinals’ lineup, providing thump for years to come.
Worst-case scenario: Has trouble adjusting to the major leagues
After Walker hurt his shoulder in a headfirst slide about midway through Spring Training, his numbers dipped. While it could be a result of the injury, Walker has also faced more major league-caliber pitchers in the back half of spring. He didn't walk much in the spring, and there’s a chance that he could be ticketed to Memphis if pitchers find a way to exploit him. That could lead to questions about whether the Cardinals promoted him too soon.
Jake Woodford, RHP
Best-case scenario: Holds on to rotation spot
If Jake Woodford proves that his strong spring is for real, he might be able to keep a spot in the rotation after Adam Wainwright returns from injury. He likely wouldn’t move Wainwright to the bullpen, but if someone else in the rotation has proven ineffective or has gone to the injured list by that time, Woodford might be able to mitigate that loss.
Worst-case scenario: Minor league depth
If Woodford doesn’t display the kind of dominance in the regular season that he did in the rotation and can’t even keep a solid grasp on the long relief role he was originally slated to possess, the Cardinals could use his one remaining option to let him try to figure out his problems in Memphis and possibly place Andre Pallante in his long relief spot.
The Cardinals could go many different directions this season based on how some key players shake out, and this overview should give fans a decent look at what their floors and ceilings might look like.