The St. Louis Cardinals will be heading into a brand new era in 2023 without Yadier Molina behind the plate. Thankfully, they’ve found quite the replacement in Willson Contreras, who signed a five-year, $87.5 million deal with the franchise in the winter.
With a roster that’s packed with no shortage of talent, the Cardinals will be considered a contender in the National League after disappointingly losing in the Wild Card Series last year. With that being said, here are 4 bold predictions for Nolan Arenado and the Cardinals in 23′.
*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
4 bold predictions for Cardinals 2023 season
Tyler O’Neill bounces back, clubs 25+ homers
2021 was the coming out party for Canadian outfielder Tyler O’Neill, who hit .286 with 34 home runs in 138 games for St. Louis. But in 2022, O’Neill struggled to stay healthy, suiting up just 96 times. That resulted in him failing to find a groove at the dish, slashing just .228 with 14 long balls. However, this season will be a different story. While O’Neill didn’t exactly hit well in Spring Training, he did rake with Canada at the World Baseball Classic, going 8 for 13 with a pair of doubles and five walks. We all know the type of power the Cardinals slugger possesses. It’s just a matter of staying injury-free and getting consistent at-bats. As long as he does, expect O’Neill to be one of the team’s top power bats. We’re talking a minimum of 25 bombs.
Miles Mikolas emerges as the ace of the rotation
Although Adam Wainwright can still be effective, he’s no spring chicken anymore. The Cardinals need another starter to step up and be the ace of the rotation. That guy will be Miles Mikolas. With a contract extension likely coming soon, the righty has the chance to really prove his worth with a big campaign. After Wainwright suffered a groin injury, Mikolas will now get the chance to start on Opening Day, which is a huge honor. Last season, the 34-year-old made the All-Star Game thanks to a 3.29 ERA in 33 starts. Although the 12-13 record isn’t exactly phenomenal, Mikolas went out every fifth day and gave his team a chance to win. Mikolas does a great job of pounding the strike zone (39 BB’s in 202.1 innings) and induces a lot of groundballs (45.9% GB rate in 2022) which keeps his infielders busy. Mikolas is going to be the go-to guy for Oliver Marmol.
Nolan Arenado wins NL Gold Glove, finishes top-3 NL MVP
Arenado winning an NL Gold Glove is basically a regular occurrence at this point. He’s captured 10 of them in his career. The veteran is arguably the best third basemen in the sport and that won’t change this year. Add an 11th to the trophy case. Also, Arenado is going to be in the MVP mix again. He was neck in neck with teammate Paul Goldschmidt in 22′, finishing third in voting after hitting .293 with 30 home runs and 103 RBI. That came after a couple of years where he slashed around .255. Arenado is comfortable in St. Louis now and just performed well at the WBC. Alongside Goldschmidt, he’s a crucial piece to this organization’s success. Expect him to live up to the hype on both sides of the ball.
Cardinals win NL Central, fail to get past first round
This one will hurt Cardinals fans. It’s been a while since St. Louis had any real success in the postseason, last making the NLCS in 2019. That resulted in a sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals, who went on to win it all. Three years in a row, the Cards have crashed out in the Wild Card round. With the formatting now, they basically need to have either the best or second-best record in the National League to avoid the Wild Card. I doubt that will happen. The NL Central may be a tad stronger this year with some key additions for the Cubs and Brewers, but the Cardinals should still win their second straight title. That being said, they’re going to struggle in the playoffs. This rotation isn’t built for a deep playoff run and while there is firepower in the lineup, it doesn’t match up with other big spenders like the Phillies, Padres, and Mets.
The post 4 bold predictions for Nolan Arenado, Cardinals ahead of Opening Day appeared first on ClutchPoints.