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Fan vote lists this Cardinals outfielder among top five in MLB at his position

MLB Network is spending the baseball offseason going position-by-position through its ‘Top 10 Right Now’ lists and in one of the recent fan votes, a Cardinals outfielder got some quality recognition from the fans.

When the Fan List for the Top 10 right fielders in MLB dropped on Wednesday afternoon, Lars Nootbaar landed in fourth place on the list. That placed the 25-year-old Cardinal ahead of big names like Ronald Acuna Jr., Kyle Tucker and Fernando Tatis Jr.

Though Nootbaar probably hasn’t had the personal career accolades yet to land so favorably on the lists of the so-called experts, it’s clear that MLB fans believe in Nootbaar’s ability to take another meaningful step forward in his game in 2023.

The Cardinals have already publicly backed Nootbaar for an everyday role in their outfield for the coming season, which is something he wasn’t afforded out of the gate last year. Nootbaar spent the early portion of the campaign shuffling back and forth between St. Louis and Memphis before finally settling into a key role for St. Louis in the second half of the year.

Despite the inconsistent playing time, Nootbaar finished 2022 with 14 homers and a .788 OPS in 247 plate appearances. That was good for a 126 OPS+, meaning Noot performed 26% above league-average at his position offensively last season.

Can Nootbaar raise his game to an All-Star level in 2023? It’s something the Cardinals might be banking on as they reportedly refused to include him in trade discussions back when they were searching for a catcher upgrade earlier in the offseason.