The case for and against the Cardinals as the NL Central favorites in 2024

Out of everybody in the NL Central, the Cardinals have been the most active, having added three starting pitchers to their rotation. But is it enough to make them favorites to win the NL Central?

Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three / David Berding/GettyImages
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Why the Cardinals should be NL Central favorites

We discussed it in the first slide, but the Cardinals were very quick to upgrade their rotation. No, it doesn't make them World Series contenders, but they got three viable starters to fill the holes.

Finally, they have an ace. Sonny Gray is a guy you can trust to start Game 1 of a playoff series. The Brewers have Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta. But if Burnes is traded the Brewers should slip a bit in the Central. That could pave the way for the Cardinals to take advantage of one of the weakest divisions in the league.

As of right now, it's hard to say who the clear favorite is. But since the Cardinals have done the most, I think an argument could be made that they are the best team in the division at the present moment.

What could give the Cardinals a significant edge is the health of their position players. Lars Nootbaar went on the IL three times last year. Nolan Gorman went on the IL twice, while Brendan Donovan missed the final two months recovering from Tommy John surgery and Nolan Arenado missed the final week with a back issue.

But if everybody remains healthy, the Cardinals' offense could prove to be a strength and guide them to another NL Central title. Gorman, Donovan, and Nootbaar are only going to get better, and the same can be said about Jordan Walker. If everything goes to plan on the offensive side and the rotation gives them the innings they need, the Cardinals have a path to the top of the division.