Off the field, no. In development, no. They continue to be one of the teams pushing toward the edge and out in front of stuff. Are they the vanguard? No. They have been surpassed by some teams, and they know it, and they've spent in the past year and continue to work to make up that ground they lost. One area where they continue to be ahead -- or at least setting the pace -- is the Dept. of Performance and the work/studies being done there about injuries and recoveries, and how to improve preventative work/workouts to avoid injuries before they happen, not just expedite recovery and return. The Cardinals are one of the teams heading that shift.
Now, on the field. On they field they are making up ground because, yes, the past few years they weren't as aggressive with analytical strategy as other teams. This was true with pitching decisions. This was definitely true with shifts. The Cardinals were, at one point, the team that didn't shift against Anthony Rizzo. Stubbornly so. Having asked that question so many times -- "So, you're telling me you know something about Rizzo that the other teams, with a lot of smart people, haven't figured out yet?" -- it was apparent that the decision was going to be based on the best outcome, not the statistically likely outcome. Same with some of the pitching moves. This old ground. The Cardinals are past it -- and have moved rapidly in a modern direction on the field, with strategy.