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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Greg Simons (@GregSimonsSays)

Team MVP: Willson Contreras

Building on his excellent performance at the plate in the second half of 2023, as well as the experience of being in the organization for his second campaign, Contreras will assume a strong leadership role with the Cardinals, a job few other players seem interested in taking on.  He’ll help Sonny Gray provide another terrific season as the team’s ace, and if the rest of the rotation performs as even an above-average group, credit will be given to the calming presence and steady guidance of their star catcher.

Breakout Hitter: Jordan Walker

After his rookie season was deemed fine instead of outstanding, Walker will continue making improvements in right field.  That comfort, familiarity, and growing confidence on defense will allow him to put more focus on hitting, and that should be scary for opposing pitchers.  Walker is unlikely to be in National League MVP discussions this soon, but he just might finish 2024 as the Cardinals’ best bat.

Breakout Pitcher: Zack Thompson

Injuries happen, especially to pitchers, and Thompson is poised to take advantage of the opportunities he will receive.  With Gray starting the season on the Injured List, Thompson already has a rotation slot to begin the year.  If and when other starters are sidelined, whether by the inevitable aches and pains or a lack of performance, Thompson will be ready and waiting to take his turn every fifth star and deliver a surprisingly strong performance.

Bold Prediction: Victor Scott II steals over 40 bases

Scott has 66 games played at Double-A and zero appearances at Triple-A.  He was supposed to start the year in the minors with Tommy Edman in center field for St. Louis. But Edman’s wrist remains an issue, pushing him to the IL.  His replacement, Dylan Carlson, was injured in the next-to-last game of spring training and will join Edman among the wounded.  The result?  Scott was given the Opening Day nod in center, and he’s going to run with the opportunity - literally.  He tied for the minor league lead with 94 stolen bases last season, and now he has the chance to prove what he can do with that speed in the majors.  A 40-steal performance in less than a full-time role over the course of the 2024 campaign will make it clear Scott is one of the fastest players in the game.

Two-sentence team summary:

Just about everything went wrong for St. Louis last season, and while there’s no guarantee a similar number of things will bounce their way this year, the law of averages has to help to some extent.  Getting back to 90 wins is unlikely, but an 86-76 finish and a Wild Card spot look like they're in the cards for the Cards.