Can a team that finished with a 71-91 record and in last place in one of the worst divisions in MLB during the 2023 season bounce back and win the World Series? The odds may be stacked against the St. Louis Cardinals, but they have a chance to rebound in eye-opening fashion.

St. Louis is set to bring back stars such as Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. Young outfielder Jordan Walker may be on the verge of a huge season for the Cardinals, while the pitching has improved. The National League features no shortage of talent with ball clubs like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies.

So is there any reason to be confident in St. Louis' World Series chances?

Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt bounce back years

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) is congratulated by third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) after hitting a solo home run against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning at Busch Stadium.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Arenado and Goldschmidt are great players. They both underperformed by their lofty standards in 2023, though.

Arenado failed to win the Gold Glove at third base for the first time in his incredible career. He also slashed just .266/.315/.459/.774.

Goldschmidt, meanwhile, slashed .268/.363/.447/.810. Unlike Arenado, Goldschmidt was not even selected to the All-Star team.

The Cardinals first baseman unquestionably took a step back from his MVP 2022 campaign. At 36 years old, he still has enough talent to rebound. The same can be said for Arenado at 32 years of age.

In all reality, St. Louis' offense was not actually that bad in 2023. They were 12th in home runs, 19th in runs scored, and 13th in OPS. Sure, those are not incredible rankings but they aren't the usual numbers for a last place ball club.

So there's reason to be confident in their Arenado and Goldschmidt-led lineup, but the pitching was St. Louis' biggest question mark in 2023.

Cardinals addressed pitching concerns

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at CACTI Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Before we get into the Cardinals' offseason moves, let's take a look at just how bad their pitching was in 2023.

The quality start is an important statistic that tracks how well a starting pitcher performs in each outing. In order to earn a quality start, a pitcher must record at least six innings while allowing three or less runs.

The Minnesota Twins led MLB in quality starts in 2023 with 76, per Baseball Reference. League average was 56, with teams such as the Arizona Diamondbacks (57), Cleveland Guardians (57), Los Angeles Dodgers (53), and Pittsburgh Pirates (53) in this range.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, were the seventh worst team in this statistic, turning in just 48 quality starts.

St. Louis' pitching staff also checked in with the seventh worst ERA (4.81). It was a difficult year for Cardinals pitching but they brought in veterans Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn.

Gray has dealt with injury trouble in spring training. The Cardinals are hopeful he will be ready to return soon, however.

Miles Mikolas, a 2022 All-Star, will also play an important role in the rotation. If he can perform well after a difficult 2023 campaign it will go a long way toward this ball club finding success.

Adding Lynn and Gibson was important, and Mikolas' performance will be crucial. However, Sonny Gray will be the primary difference-maker as an ace.

Gray pitched for the Minnesota Twins in 2023 and recorded a stellar 2.79 ERA across 184 innings of work. He added 183 strikeouts and ultimately finished second in American League Cy Young voting.

Gray is now taking his talents back to the National League where he will lead the Cardinals rotation.

Will the Cardinals win the 2024 World Series?

Nothing is out of the question. The Dodgers, Braves, and Phillies are among the favorites. With that being said, the NL Central is wide open at the moment.

If St. Louis can book their ticket back to the playoffs and get hot in October, perhaps they can upset the best teams in the league and clinch a Fall Classic berth.