Outfielder Lars Nootbaar
This might be a bit too bold, but if the Pirates give Henry Davis more time behind the dish, they’ll look on the market for another outfielder. But potentially, one of the best outfielders on the trade market could be Lars Nootbaar. The St. Louis Cardinals have a wealth of outfielders and could look to deal with some of their OF talent this off-season. Nootbaar is arguably the best among them.
Nootbaar is an underrated player. Last season, he hit .261/.367/.418 with a .344 wOBA and 118 wRC+ through 503 plate appearances. While he hit for less power in 2023 compared to his 2022 campaign, with a .157 ISO, his plate discipline was still outstanding. He struck out in just 19.7% of his plate appearances while walking at a 14.3% rate. Nootbaar had the 10th-highest walk rate among all players last season.
Nootbaar only has the potential to get better. Along with better numbers in 2022, he posted a .435 xSLG% and .355 xwOBA. He’s also the youngest player we will talk about today, as the 2024 campaign will only be his age-26 season. He’s even a whole season away from arbitration, so he has four years of control remaining.
On top of being a good hitter, Nootbaar is also a quality fielder. He can play all three outfield positions to an above-average level and totaled +3 DRS and OAA last year. He logged 570 innings up the middle but also saw nearly 400 innings combined between left and right field. Nootbaar would cost a lot, however, which is why I said it might be a little too bold to go after him. But if the Cardinals are willing to at least listen on some of their outfielders, including Nootbaar, I don’t see why the Pirates wouldn’t at least check the price tag and consider it.