At the beginning of the 2023 season, there was a lot of talk surrounding how the St. Louis Cardinals would balance playing time amongst their young players. With how bad things started for the team, the conversation quickly turned negative as the team seemed to lack continuity in the lineup.
As it does every season, injuries began to happen to the team and it quickly "cleared" the log jam they were feeling. As of late, the Cardinals have seemed to find their fits around the lineup and are gelling, but they have also been eagerly awaiting the return of outfielder Lars Nootbaar.
Now that Nootbaar has returned from the Injured List, we got our first look at what the Cardinals lineup may look like now, which begs the question, who will get "squeezed" from the lineup moving forward?
Is Dylan Carlson the odd man out in the Cardinals' lineup? I don't think its that simple
Monday's lineup was a big step in the right direction for St. Louis. My only real "gripe" would be moving Jordan Walker into the number five spot, but otherwise, it makes a ton of sense for St. Louis.
Making Walker the DH keeps his hot bat in the lineup while protecting themselves from his defensive miscues. Tommy Edman has been playing incredible defense out in center field, so keeping him there works really well. But what is the plan with this lineup moving forward?
In all honesty, I think St. Louis is going to be prioritizing the playing time of these nine guys and Dylan Carlson. I think it's likely that we see one of Paul DeJong, Nolan Gorman, Edman, or Carlson get a day off each day, and then configure their defensive alignment based on who is sitting that day.
This group of players has been some of the streakiest for St. Louis this season. Here are each of their numbers at the plate over the last seven games.
Nolan Gorman: .037/.161/.037, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4 BB, 13 SO
Tommy Edman: .238/.407/.524, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 4 SO
Paul DeJong: .296/.296/.556, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 10 SO
Dylan Carlson: .190/.320/.238, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 6 SO
As you can see, Edman and DeJong are the two guys who have been producing the most as of late, but even those two guys have been struggling over the last month. Gorman looks completely lost at the plate right now. Carlson started off hot coming off the IL but has cooled a bit.
Many have wondered why Carlson got the boot from Monday's lineup, but I don't think that ends up being the theme every game like it was early on in the season. I still see him playing multiple times a week and could earn even more playing time if he gets hot.