In each season from 2011 to 2023, the St. Louis Cardinals have had a unique leader in bWAR. For a team with such consistent success, this is a remarkable feat and a testament to the depth they’ve had during this stretch. They get consistent contributions from many different players and aren't as reliant on a few star players as other powerhouse teams. Some of these players are future Hall of Famers. Some of them were highly touted prospects who showed flashes of greatness. And some are one-year-wonders who fans might've forgotten about. Each has his own unique story, so let’s take a look back at these 13 unique players:
2011: Albert Pujols (5.3)
This streak started in 2011 and for obvious reasons. 2011 was Pujols’ 7th consecutive season leading St. Louis in bWAR and the 9th of 11 seasons where he accomplished the feat. Pujols’ Cardinals resume speaks for itself, hitting 445 home runs to a career 1.037 OPS and a 170 OPS+, arguably the greatest 11-year stretch to start a career ever.
Pujols’ slash line in 2011 was rather disappointing for his standards (.299/.366/.541/.906) but still good enough to finish 5th in MVP voting. While a wrist fracture in mid-June might’ve contributed to the dip in his numbers, no Cardinals fan will ultimately care as the Machine propelled the Redbirds to a magical Postseason run culminating in a World Series title.
Had Pujols stayed in St. Louis, this list would probably look a lot different, and he might've dominated this list for years to come cementing himself as the greatest Cardinal of all time. But ultimately we'll never know. With Albert leaving the Cards in free agency in the 2011 offseason, let’s see what happens next.