Do the St. Louis Cardinals have the best outfield in all of baseball? They certainly have a case for it and check out why by reading below.
Do The Cardinals Have The Best Outfield In Baseball?
The St. Louis Cardinals outfield was a mainstay for the team last season. They were consistent in the field, oftentimes making plays to keep them in games or winning games. Not to mention their ability at the plate, the Cardinals could compete for one of the best outfields in all of baseball.
The one knock the Cardinals do have is that they led the MLB in errors by left fielders. Tyler O’Neill led the majors with nine errors last season. He did contribute with seven assists and helped turn one double-play. Tyler O’Neill won his second Gold Glove award last season for his defensive play.
In right field, there were only two teams that had more errors than the Cardinals, the Chicago White Sox, and the Boston Red Sox. The Cardinals did rank among some of the best in assists with 10 outfield assists.
In center field, the position that was locked down by Harrison Bader for most of the season, the Cardinals were even with assists and errors. Six each way but the Cardinals had the fourth most putouts in the center field position last season. Harrison Bader won his first Gold Glove last season, his first of hopefully many.
At The Plate
While the Cardinals took two of the three Gold Gloves in the outfield last season, the hitting by the three outfielders of O’Neill, Bader, and Dylan Carlson was very good as well. O’Neill solidified himself as a three or four-hitter in the Cardinals lineup with the power he showed. Bader could move back into the leadoff position after the season he had at the plate. Carlson finished third in Rookie of the Year voting, not too bad for himself.
The most impressive of the three at the plate last season was Tyler O’Neill. By far the longest season of O’Neill’s career, he went to the plate 537 times last season. O’Neill finished as a .286 hitter with 34 home runs and 80 RBIs. O’Neill did strike out a lot with 168 of them.
Harrison Bader improved so much at the plate last season and it was very noticeable. Batting .267 last season was a career-best for Harrison Bader. The point total jumped from .226 where he ended a season ago. Bader has never been known for his hitting, but if he can contribute in ways he did last season, that may break the stigma he carries to the plate.
Dylan Carlson was as advertised last season. Unfortunately, Jonathan India played out of his mind. India was someone that was overlooked coming into last season and he went on a tear in the summer months. Carlson finished with a .266 average with 619 plate appearances. The only critique on Carlson would be the strikeouts. He struck out 152 times last season.
Looking Forward to 2022
The Cardinals outfield will be a big part of the team’s success if they have any. Each of the three players will have a pivotal role in some shape or form. Whether it is at the plate or in the field if the Cardinals are going to win games, a big portion of their success has to come from the outfield.
If Tyler O’Neill can play a similar season to his last, he will once again be in the running for a Gold Glove, but also a good contract. O’Neill’s contract will be up at the end of the season and he will be eligible for free agency. If he can lower the strikeouts and hit over 30 home runs again this season, I like his chances of being extended.
For Harrison Bader, last year was a big step forward. He had struggled at the plate and seeing the ball the last few seasons. Watching Bader last season, you could see the conservative effort to not chase pitches, but he was not fooled too often. Bader could see himself in a new role this season batting wise if he can continue his good play at the plate.
Dylan Carlson will be a player of the future for the St. Louis Cardinals. There are so many things to like about this young kid. He has the defensive ability to win Gold Gloves and compete for defensive awards. He also has the ability to bat at different places in the lineup and will be a consistent hitter at the plate. Carlson will be loved by the fans for the next few years to come.
One thing we cannot forget is the emergence of Lars Nootbar. In 124 plate appearances last season for Nootbar, he batted .239 with 26 hits. He showed flashes of being a star player at the major league level, not only at the plate but also in the field. Nootbar will likely be the fourth outfielder on the roster this season with the ability to come off the bench as a pinch hitter as well.