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Marmol Optimistic Early Season Power Struggles Will End

In the first two weeks of the MLB season, the St. Louis Cardinals featured a power struggle, but team manager Oli Marmol wasn’t worried. The team has hovered around .500 and is last in the NL Central Division. While it’s too early to panic, the team’s power-hitting struggles cause concern. If the Cardinals hope to contend in 2024, part of that equation has to be the power hitting.

Marmol Optimistic Early Season Power Struggles Will End

The Cardinals currently sit tied for 24th in the league for home runs with nine. Five home runs through 12 games behind the Central Division-leading Brewers. Nolan Gorman’s three home runs in the last three games put him in the team lead for dingers. The team is slugging .343, which puts them at 24th in the league, but even that paints the team in a good light compared to advanced stats. The Cardinals are only producing hard-hit balls (95+ mph off the bat) on 11.6% of their swings, according to Baseball Savant, which is the third worst in the league. The pop off the bat needs to come for the Cardinals to start racking up wins.

“Our offense hasn’t clicked the way we want it to; we’re aware of it, and it’s a matter of time before those guys get going,” said Cardinals Manager Oli Marmol after Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Phillies.


What’s The Problem?

The glaring issue has been heart-of-the-order and perennial all-star Paul Goldschmidt. The Cardinals first baseman has hit just .182 this year with a .250 slugging percentage and one home run as his only extra-base hit. He’s hitting just 8% of his swings for hard-hit balls and found the barrel on just one of his Batted Ball Events. While Spring Training results aren’t much to put stock of, Goldschmidt’s slow start was coming after slugging just .255 with a .128 batting average this Spring.

Fellow star Nolan Arenado is also lagging to start this season. The third baseman has a .245 batting average and is slugging .306 without a home run. Arenado is producing hart-hit balls on just 13.6% of his swings and hasn’t found the barrel yet this season, according to Baseball Savant.

Despite these early season struggles, Marmol isn’t worried about his heart-of-the-order batters.

“Those are guys that’ll tell you that they’re working through it. Plain and simple,” Marmol said of Goldschmidt and Arenado after the team’s 5-3 loss to the Phillis on Monday. “We’ve seen it before where they have a stretch where they don’t feel great, and then it clicks overnight, and they take off. So my concern level is very low.”

Where Else Could Power Come From For The Cardinals?

If the Cardinals want to start putting runs on the board, Goldschmidt and Arenado will likely have to heat up. Fortunately, Goldschmidt is just two years removed from an MVP season where he slugged a career-best .578. A regression to harder-hit balls seems likely. Arenado had a slow start in 2023, hitting just two home runs by the end of April before hitting 14 in May and June.

Nolan Gorman appears to be heating up, hitting three home runs in the past three games. The Cardinals are also getting decent production from the catcher spot, with starter Wilson Contreras and fill-in Ivan Herrara hitting 17 hard-hit balls between them this year.

“We’ve got two catchers who can hit, which is good,” Marmol said in Monday’s post-game press conference.

The Cardinals will have reinforcements coming, too, with Lars Nootbaar nearing a return. The outfielder has been rehabbing in Memphis, and the team is optimistic he can return as soon as this week. The eventual return of Dylan Carlson will also help, who was slugging .521 with three home runs in Spring Training before a collision in the outfield with Jordan Walker put him on the injured list. Tommy Edman’s eventual return should also help the team, and the switch-hitting utility man has speed and pop that can push the team for extra-base hits. However, there is no timetable for Carlson or Edman to return yet.

Main Photo Credits: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


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