ST. LOUIS – Echoes of “NOOT” are becoming a norm at Busch Stadium, and one of the St. Louis Cardinals’ youngest hitters is backing that up with his elevated gameplay.
Lars Nootbaar, a 24-year-old outfielder, is making his mark as the Cardinals push for a fourth straight postseason berth. The MLB sophomore surged to a .284 batting average in August behind five home runs, 15 RBIs and 22 runs scored.
Nootbaar’s 23 walks last month were third in all of baseball, only behind perennial MVP candidates Juan Soto and Aaron Judge. The plate discipline has helped the outfielder earn more starts in the leadoff spot in recent weeks, a spot where he is both setting up and adding to big rallies.
Among his recent heroics on offense…
- A walk-off hit to cap a comeback against the Cubs (Aug. 4)
- A three-hit, two-walk night in a blowout against the Diamondbacks (Aug. 21)
- An opposite-field home run to break up a no-hit bid against the Braves (Aug. 28)
- An insurance two-run home run in a marathon 13-inning win (Aug. 31)
Nootbaar’s two-run, 13th-inning blast on Wednesday helped secure a road series win against the Cincinnati Reds and put a cherry on top of a month in which the Cardinals rallied to a six-game division lead over the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Being able to get in there more consistently has helped me out of ton,” Nootbaar told Bally Sports Midwest last month. “Making some mechanical adjustments and mental adjustments, doing things that I would’ve liked to have done earlier in the season, but trying to make the adjustments now midseason, keep working and going forward with those.”
The extra-inning blast gave Lars Nootbaar ten home runs at the big-league level. It’s the first time he has reached double digits in that department in any season between his college, minors and majors career. An in-depth report from John Soteropulos of DriveLineBaseball.com, published ahead of the 2022 season, outlined how Nootbaar changed some mechanics to generate more power.
“The story of Lars Nootbaar is unique, inspiring, and very insightful,” said the report. “This is a guy who used a canceled 2020 MiLB season to change the trajectory of his career. In just under two years, Lars Nootbar increased his average bat speed by 8 mph. He prioritizes his training and finds a way to get his work in, regardless of circumstances.”
Defense also remains a point of pride for Nootbaar. Among his most recent highlights from the outfield….
- Leaping catch and diving catch in tight wins against the Yankees (Aug. 5-6)
- Long-range diving catch against the Rockies (Aug. 18)
- Multiple outfield assists against the Braves (Aug. 26)
“He’s done a phenomenal job,” said Cardinals manager Oli Marmol via Bally Sports Midwest on Nootbaar. “He’s hungry. He’s always ‘What’s next for me?’ whether it’s on the bases or offensively. You’re seeing him continue to better himself. We’re more than happy with his body of work.”
Nootbaar and the Cardinals return to action Friday with a three-game series against cross-state rival Chicago Cubs to kick off Labor Day weekend.