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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Kareem Haq (@KareemSSN)

Team MVP: Willson Contreras

After a tough start to his Cardinals career, Contreras settled in and was the team's best hitter by the end of the season. In his final 63 games of 2023, he slashed .330/.424/.589 with a 176 wRC+. Defensively, Contreras has put in a lot of work in the offseason, and I'm eager to see how that translates into games (I've been impressed so far this Spring).

Breakout Hitter: Ivan Herrera

Herrera had a phenomenal season at Triple-A last year (147 wRC+). He massively improved his Hard-Hit%, Sweet-Spot%, and upper percentile EVs, boosting his unimpressive .128 ISO at Triple-A in 2022 to .203 last year. Herrera was also outstanding in the Caribbean Series and had a great Spring Training, and I expect him to carry that onto the regular season.

Breakout Pitcher: Riley O'Brien

O'Brien has some of the best pure stuff in the Cardinals system with a high 90s sinker and deadly sweeping curveball. He led the Cardinals with a 127 Stuff+ grade (Eno Sarris' model) in Spring Training. In 10 innings this Spring, he only allowed 1 run with an 8:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. I expect O'Brien to play a pivotal role in the Cardinals' rejuvenated bullpen this year.

Bold Prediction: Cardinals bullpen finishes top 5 in ERA

The Cardinals found relievers at great value this offseason, and I'm super bullish on this group overall. They have a great mix of established, dependable relief pitchers and solid depth with guys like Nick Robertson, Wilking Rodriguez, and John King in Triple-A. 

Two-sentence team summary:

The Cardinals had an embarrassing 71-91 season in 2023, but I envision them winning 82-84 games this year as a fringe playoff team. The pitching depth is much stronger and in better shape if they deal with the inevitable injury bug. I also think the bullpen has the potential to go from one of the worst in baseball to one of the best.