With a lot of uncertainty surrounding the St. Louis Cardinals outfield entering the 2023 season, fans can at least take solace in the fact that one of their main outfielders from a season ago is putting in the work this offseason and is ready to claim one of the starting outfield jobs.
Lars Nootbaar went back and forth from the big leagues and Triple-A Memphis, but late in the season, he secured his spot as the team’s starting right fielder.
The 25-year-old is well known for his defense, but his offense is slowly improving.
Nootbaar hit .228 with 14 home runs in 2022.
On Twitter, a video surfaced of the young star putting in some time to work on his hitting.
Average Bat Speed during this session was 76.6mph 📈 pic.twitter.com/jtIVSxL0OC
— Andrew Aydt (@AndrewAydt) January 2, 2023
This has to make Cardinals fans feel pretty good about Nootbaar heading into 2023.
Nootbaar has yet to play a full season in the Major Leagues, but if he can provide a spark in the Cardinals lineup with his bat, then St. Louis could have one of the best lineups in all of baseball.
It would also help them out in terms of figuring out their outfield.
Both Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson are coming off of seasons in which they were slowed down by injuries.
Nootbaar finished the 2022 season as the leadoff hitter for the Cardinals.
The 25-year-old was at the top of the order for both of the Cardinals postseason games in the Wild Card Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Cardinals are fortunate to have plenty of outfield depth, but Nootbaar could prove to be the X-factor for the team in 2023.