5 issues to observe with the St. Louis Cardinals, Blues and past in 2023

ST. LOUIS – The 2022 calendar yr definitely set the bar excessive for St. Louis sports activities in 2023.

It will likely be difficult to prime a yearlong cycle that produced many milestones and reminiscences, together with a powerful outing for Cardinals legend Albert Pujols, a Blues victory within the coldest out of doors hockey sport ever and an NBA Finals hosted by St. Louis native Jayson Tatum. .

That mentioned, there’s lots to stay up for in 2023. As Gateway Metropolis sports activities followers ring within the new yr, here is a fast take a look at 5 issues value following for the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues and extra in St. Louis sports activities. .


1. Adam Wainwright’s delivery yr

Somewhat than retire with longtime teammates Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright opted for another season earlier than he hangs up the bars. Wainwright is simply 5 wins away from 200, however wants 16 in his senior yr for sole possession of second place all-time in Cardinals historical past.

Uncle Charlie has stood the take a look at of time comparatively effectively (190 innings pitched on common within the final three non-COVID seasons), and lining him up for house matchups (2.84 profession ERA at Busch III) might assist the Cardinals get as a lot out of him as potential. potential as a result of his profession ends in 2023.

2. “WILSON!”

For the primary time in nearly 20 years, Yadier Molina won’t be the principle catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. The torch was handed to longtime Cubs backstop, three-time All-Star and 2016 World Collection champion Willson Contreras.

Willson’s workload ought to be pretty regular (5 800-plus inning seasons), and he’ll be tasked with adjusting to the Cardinals’ pitching workers. Spring coaching can be an important time to study the varied strengths of his workers, corresponding to Adam Wainwright’s signature curve and Ryan Helsley’s warmth. Familiarity with the NL Central ought to assist as Contreras finds a rhythm to steer St. He craves a aggressive edge after his brother William joined the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers this offseason.

3. One other spherical of Goldy-Nado

Enter yr three with two MVP-caliber Cardinals. Nook infielders Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado completed because the High 2 WAR leaders of 2022 amongst Nationwide League place gamers and Goldschmidt loved the primary MVP honor of his profession with a .317/.404/.578 slash line.

The Goldy-Nado duo is anticipated to put up huge numbers once more, however there’s room for enchancment, at the very least in what their manufacturing means from a staff standpoint. Each had barely decrease batting averages with runners in scoring place than their whole marks and hit simply .232 collectively from September on. Bettering such splits might assist the Cardinals keep away from extended staff slumps in offense at key instances, corresponding to final season’s tough midsummer stretch and within the NL Wild Card Collection.

4. Every opponent on schedule

For the primary time in franchise historical past, the Cardinals are scheduled to play all 29 MLB opponents and all 15 main league opponents in a season. The 2023 season even begins with an interleague house sport towards the Toronto Blue Jays. The change means fewer division video games, together with matchups towards key foes just like the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, however installs a extra aggressive steadiness inside the league.

Divisional matchups will proceed to be essential, and successful the NL Central continues to be in all probability the Cardinals’ best path to the postseason, however there’s a better emphasis on video games with a number of proficient American League rosters to face St. The Cardinals must regulate rapidly after posting a 45-41 report towards non-NL Central foes and a .500 end in league play in 2022.

5. Possible arrival of Jordan Walker

Ranked the sixth finest prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, Jordan Walker simply completed a powerful 2022 marketing campaign for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. The 2020 first-round decide loved a .306 batting common, 68 RBI, 100 runs scored and an almost 20/20 marketing campaign, displaying promise as an on a regular basis common from an offensive standpoint.

The Cardinals ought to extremely take into account selling Walker in 2023 to attempt to maximize his contributions with a number of regulars close to his prime years. When his debut comes, the Cardinals must get inventive with the place Walker takes the sphere. Walker, developed as a 3rd baseman, will seemingly be restricted on the scorching nook so long as Nolan Arenado is wholesome. Some potential spots he might seem are left discipline (putting Tyler O’Neill or Dylan Carlson in middle) or designated hitter. The spring can be a giant take a look at to see the place he can play and if he can keep offensive consistency alongside the way in which.


1. Development of two younger constructing blocks

St. Louis used the 2022 offseason to safe forwards Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou for the lengthy haul with matching contract extensions. Their offers now signify the 2 richest contracts in staff historical past and present a dedication to a youth motion (each underneath 24).

Early returns recommend the contracts may very well be value it with Thomas almost producing at a point-per-game clip (32 factors in 35 video games) and Kyrou heating up in December (15 factors in 11 video games). Each can be tasked with taking extra ice time in 2023 (about 19 minutes every this season), lowering turnovers (47 giveaways mixed in 2022-23) and successful extra puck battles no matter whether or not cut up or collectively on a line.

2. Improvement of first-round picks

If the Blues are actually dedicated to a youth motion, they might want to preserve an in depth eye on their prime prospects. Of their final three first-round picks (Jake Neighbors -2020, Zac Bolduc -2021, Jimmy Snuggerud -2022), solely Neighbors has seen NHL motion to date.

Neighbors is seeking to discover a groove after beginning the 2022-23 NHL marketing campaign with only one purpose in 13 video games. Bolduc discovered a spark with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL with 54 factors in 28 video games. Snuggerud begins his first school season with the College of Minnesota with 27 factors in 20 video games. Neighbors might return this marketing campaign with a bit of extra scoring and physicality, however Bolduc and Snuggerud are higher bets for NHL debuts for the brand new season subsequent fall.

3. Reorganize particular groups

In latest playoff runs, the Blues have shocked opponents with an efficient energy play and penalty kill models. St. Louis discovered itself within the High 5 in each particular groups charges final season, although the story is a bit totally different coming into 2023. The Blues are in the course of the pack in energy play proportion (22.77%) and within the backside 5 in penalty kill ( 70.93%).

Assistant coaches Steve Ott and Mike Van Ryn might work out some new methods with the brand new yr, particularly with power-play quarterback Torey Krug anticipated to overlook a number of weeks to start out 2023. Maybe the Blues might take into account some unconventional choices on each models, corresponding to Noel Acciari for a scoring contact on the facility play or the greatness of Alexey Toropchenko on the penalty kill.

4. Contract years and commerce deadline method

One harsh actuality the Blues could must cope with in 2023 is that much more key items of the 2019 Stanley Cup champion staff may very well be gone. Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Barbashev are all unrestricted free brokers on the finish of the season if the Blues don’t conform to new contracts with them.

Coming into the brand new yr simply exterior the playoff image, the subsequent few weeks could decide the destiny of all three. Falling sufferer to a different lengthy shedding skid (like earlier this season) might immediate St. Louis to discover trades and proceed with a youth motion led by Thomas and Kyrou. Blues beat writers have reported anti-scout sightings in latest house video games, although it is unclear who could be on the transfer and the way quickly. The commerce deadline for the 2022-23 season is ready for March 3.

5. Challenger or pretender?

The Blues, who’ve overcome some huge reputational deficits in recent times, sit 4 factors out of a play-off spot going into the brand new yr. Normal supervisor Doug Armstrong was adamant in the beginning of the yr, he doesn’t wish to “rebuild” the squad and believes that the staff is able to an eleventh remaining in 12 years.

One encouraging development that would profit the Blues, they’ve extra video games remaining towards groups exterior the playoff image than not, 24 to 21, together with a big energy of schedule edge within the final full month of the common season in March. One development that wants a fast repair for a playoff run, higher luck at house. Take out a four-game house successful streak, the Blues are simply 3-7-2 at Enterprise Heart this yr. St. Louis has heavy house benefit in January and February, and whether or not that pushes the Blues again into the playoffs or not can be telling in regards to the present marketing campaign.

Past the Cardinals and Blues

The yr 2023 may very well be monumental for different sports activities groups and figures within the St. Louis space…

1. St. Louis CITY SC will debut on February 25 and host their first match on March 4, including to a robust St. Louis soccer footprint boosted by robust SLU’s latest males’s and ladies’s soccer seasons.

2. The Battlehawks return within the 2023 renewal of the XFL, led by former Rams tight finish Anthony Becht as coach and former Heisman runner-up AJ McCarron at quarterback.

3. St. Louis native and Boston Celtics ahead Jayson Tatum continues his push for MVP because the fifth-leading NBA scorer (31 factors per sport).

4. Mizzou (12-1), Illinois (9-4) and SLU (9-5) create some nice competitors as to which school basketball staff with ties to the STL area will thrive probably the most come March.

5. Lindenwood begins its first full yr of Division I athletics, already resulting in some success in school soccer (7-3) and large matchups in hockey.


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