This is how the St. Louis Cardinals can find playing time for all of their young bats
With so many players needing every day at-bats, the Cardinals can get creative to find them all playing time
The St. Louis Cardinals have a variety of questions they need to answer as they head into the 2023 season. How will their rotation hold up and when will they add arms to it? How good is their bullpen? Which relievers deserve to make the Opening Day roster?
But the question that may be the hottest among the fan base right now actually has to do with a really, really good problem to have. With so many position players worth of playing time to start the year, how will the Cardinals find consistent at-bats for all of them?
This is a very real, and very important question that the Cardinals' front office and coaching staff will have to answer as they approach Opening Day and the early parts of the season. But let's be clear, this is a very good spot to be in. Some fans have taken this "uncertainty" as a sign that the Cardinals just don't have "clear options" for their starting lineup. It's quite the opposite. St. Louis has so many good options that it's hard to know who will actually be able to play for them.
While the tendency when looking at potential lineups is to think of the team's best nine players and leave little room for anyone else, that's just not how teams view roster construction these days. Oli Marmol showed last year that he wants to be creative with how lineups are constructed depending on matchups, hot hands, and proper rest for players. This creates a lot of extra opportunities for players to find at-bats and will be the key to the Cardinals getting all of their players enough playing time.
Brandon Kiley of 101 ESPN captured this really well last week, and I think it's worth looking at his chart for an idea of how the Cardinals playing time could be broken down early in the season.