Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Noot Witness


I think after a month some of the frenzy has evened out in the NL Central. The Cardinals had a rough start but have at least amassed 13 wins, thanks to a series against the Mets bringing out their best attributes. The Pirates started super strong thanks to scheduling but have now tied the Cardinals in wins. The Cards could potentially sneak out of last place for the first time this season. All that remains is for this team to actually show combined hitting progress.

That's really how I would sum up this generation of Cardinals teams. You bring some really good hitters to St. Louis, call up some excellent people, get them in a lineup and they don't do anything. Jordan Walker, unless he eventually gets it together, is looking like one of the biggest missed opportunities in Cardinals history. The Cardinals have had a lot of setbacks, but failed prospects isn't really one of them; famously they've produced a ton of stars in the last decade or so that have found MLB success either with the Cards or elsewhere. This year alone they have Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, Lars Nootbaar, Alec Burleson and Masyn Winn, they're all homegrown and they seem to be working. But Walker, and Victor Scott, seem to be evidence that this farm system is beginning to spoil, at least if the big guns are rushed. 

Hell, even the young players who've made it up that have seen MLB success are struggling. Lars Nootbaar is doing a lot of things right this year, but he's hitting below .200 at the moment. As is Nolan Gorman, one of two Cardinals sluggers with 35 strikeouts, the other being Paul Goldschmidt. Donovan's looking decidedly normal, hitting only .229. And Burleson is still really searching for an identity on this team. Now, for all of those guys there's somebody like Masyn Winn, who's playing extremely well. Winn is a .300 hitter with defensive perks, they need people like that. But everybody on this team either can only turn on one of those abilities...or they're, like, in their 30s and can't really play defense anymore [Goldy, Crawford and Arenado, sadly].

The best thing about this team has been the pitching, because the Cardinals have all these contracted guys actually playing well for them, which...as sad as it is to see no homegrown aces on this team [except for Lance Lynn, but...he's left and come back], at least something's working. Sonny Gray's been awesome in his first 4 starts, he's in full early 2023 'no one can hit him' mode. Lynn and Gibson are also holding up pretty well. JoJo Romero and Andrew Kittredge have been very keen pickups that have paid off so far. This team can keep runs down, they just can't outscore people.

I do think the Cardinals have a shot at getting out of last, but it'll take a lot of hitters getting hot at once, which...COULD happen, but is looking difficult at the moment. It sucks to see people like Brendan Donovan and Paul Goldschmidt looking helpless, but here we are..

Coming Tonight: One of the best hitting outfielders in the game, who's probably thinking about other places he wants to play after this year. 

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