These five Cardinals will outperform their projections for 2024 season

Today we are diving into five Cardinals position players who the ZiPS projections seem to be criminally low on.

St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins / Sam Navarro/GettyImages
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Lars Nootbaar

2024 ZiPS projection: 136 G, .242/.344/.441, 19 HR, 60 RBI, 114 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR

2023 final stat line: 117 G, .261/.367/.418, 14 HR, 46 RBI, 118 wRC+, 3.2 fWAR

2022 final stat line: 108 G, .228/.340/.448, 14 HR, 40 RBI, 123 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR

Much like Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar has been on an upward trajectory in terms of production and development since the 2022 season. During the second half that year, Nootbaar exploded offensively, posting a 138 wRC+ and putting together his blend of power and on-base skills to become a real threat at the plate.

We saw a lot of that again in 2023, but the problem for Nootbaar was being able to stay on the field. He experienced multiple fluke injuries that kept him out for prolonged stretches and struggled to get into a groove. Once he would, another injury would occur, and he'd be sidelined once again. And yet, Nootbaar still managed to post a 118 wRC+ in the 117 games he played in 2023.

Nootbaar will be the starting left fielder on Opening Day and should play almost every day for St. Louis. Yes, he needs to prove he can stay on the field this year, but there's zero reason to think he won't be extremely productive at the plate if he's healthy.

And yet, ZiPS, as it did with Donovan, sees Nootbaar posting a career-low wRC+ and regressing from an on-base standpoint. It does have him regaining that power from 2022, but for some reason, believes Nootbaar's higher average and on-base percentage from 2023 will come back down to earth.

Once again, I really doubt the projections here. Nootbaar should be an integral part of the Cardinals' everyday lineup, and his continued progression from a plate discipline standpoint and being able to drive the ball consistently should lead to more success in 2024. Take the over on Nootbaar and you will not regret it.