Writers' predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals 2024 season

Our writers have submitted their predictions for the 2024 season!
Mar 26, 2024; Mesa, Arizona, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) celebrates
Mar 26, 2024; Mesa, Arizona, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) celebrates / Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
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The St. Louis Cardinals are ready to begin the 2024 season, and our writers have their predictions ready for this year's team!

Each writer submitted the following predictions:

Team MVP, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, one bold prediction, and a two-sentence summary of how the season will go for the Cardinals.

Let's check out the predictions!

Josh Jacobs (@joshjacoMLB)

Team MVP: Nolan Arenado

Following one of the most disappointing seasons of his career (both individually and as a team), Nolan Arenado is primed to have a bounce-back season and reestablish himself as a superstar in this league. In the first half of 2023, Arenado was an All-Star, posting a .850 OPS and 126 wRC+. Dealing with a back injury in the second half, his numbers fell off, posting a .663 OPS and 79 wRC+. I expect Arenado to be much closer to his All-Star self in 2024.

Breakout Hitter: Jordan Walker

With a strong rookie class around the league in 2023, Jordan Walker has somehow flown under the radar, making him a popular pick around the league to break out in 2024. Walker, who’s still younger than many prospects, posted a 116 wRC+ in his rookie season and saw his play at the plate get better and better as the year went on. 

Walker was a 120 wRC+ hitter after being called back up from his brief stint in Memphis, but what’s even more exciting is the step he took forward once his best friend Masyn Winn was called up. From Winn’s debut till the end of the season (152 PA), Walker posted a .871 OPS and 138 wRC+. Walker is primed to step into the national spotlight in 2024.

Breakout Pitcher: Zack Thompson

It was a bit of a roller coaster year for Zack Thompson in 2023, but the young lefty enters the 2024 season as the “next man up” in the Cardinals rotation, and there’s a good chance he becomes an established member of that group by season’s end.

All five starters in the Cardinals’ rotation are on free-agent contracts, contributing to way too much money being allocated to a rotation that has a very low ceiling. Part of the season the Cardinals have been weary to go after bigger name arms is the lack of cost-controlled arms in their rotation, and Thompson can be part of that solution going forward. Thompson has continued to refine his arsenal this past offseason, and by season’s end, I believe he’ll have earned a spot in the Cardinals’ rotation and be penciled into their 2025 five-man group as well.

Bold Prediction: The Cardinals' offense will be the third-best in all of baseball

Prior to the trade deadline and Brendan Donovan’s season-ending surgery, the Cardinals’ offense ranked top 8 in almost every major offensive category. And yet, their top 7 hitters only played in 10 games together all year. Full seasons from Walker, Nootbaar, Donovan, and Gorman will raise the ceiling of their offense, especially as that group continues to take steps forward in their development. If Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt improve upon their down years in 2023, this lineup can be the third-best in baseball behind the Braves and Dodgers.

Two-sentence team summary:

The Cardinals rebound back to their norm in 2024, winning the NL Central with a 90-72 record, and find a way to win their first playoff series since 2019. Even after making a signifcant upgrade to their rotation at the deadline, they won't be strong enough to take down the best of the National League in the NLDS.

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