It’s difficult to say whether a player being 2nd in the vote is an indication they will be the next choice, but for Monday’s particular vote, that was the case. Burleson was a distant 2nd behind Gordon Graceffo for the #4 spot, and ended up taking home the #5 Cardinals prospect. Three players had between 15 and 20% of the vote though, so really it’s anyone’s guess who will be picked for the 6th slot.
Here’s the update so far:
- Jordan Walker (87% of the vote)
- Masyn Winn (44%)
- Tink Hence (56%)
- Gordon Graceffo (58%)
- Alec Burleson (36%)
I mentioned last week that I came up with five names to add to the voting over the next three votes, which means I already knew who I was adding before I wrote a word of this. I also indicated that parallel prospects dictates the choices to some extent. If this prospect isn’t selected, I can’t see Prospect B being selected. That’s my logic anyway.
The two new additions are catching prospect Leonardo Bernal, whom I suspected would not get selected over Ivan Herrera. With Herrera a legitimate contender to get the most votes this round, it’s time to add him to the list. And another legitimate contender is Cooper Hjerpe. I reasoned there was no way Brycen Mautz was getting selected before Hjerpe. Since I don’t know exactly who will be chosen, I figured a one-week head start made sense, so that you can get the prospect in your mind.
Feel free to skip this part if you’ve already read it or understand how scouting is graded, but if you don’t, this is necessary to understand it. Scouting is graded on a 20 to 80 scale, with 50 being average. 40 is one standard deviation below average, 60 is one above. It’s meant to grade the rarity of their skill in that category. You’ll see two numbers, the first of which is their scouting grade right now and the second number is their potential. It’s meant to show where they are now, and how close they are to reaching their potential.
I’ll use Jordan Walker as an example again, because it’s fun. His actual power is graded at 55 right now and his potential is 80. 55 is marginally above average power and 80 is Aaron Judge. You will not see any 80s in any category moving forward. You might not even see 70s.
Joshua Baez (OF) - 20-years-old
Acquired: 2nd Round of 2021 Draft, 54th overall
Stats (Low A): 79 PAs, .286/.418/.540, 13.9 BB%, 38 K%, .254 ISO, .484 BABIP, 170 wRC+
Scouting: 20/40 Hit, 25/60 Game Power, 60/70 Raw Power, 50/40 Speed, 40/50 Field
Baez has received a grand total of 217 plate appearances in his professional career, but he should at least double that this season. It’s difficult to read too much into the strikeouts given he was 19 in Low A and he also hit the cover off the ball whenever he did manage to make contact. That said, you have to hope he can make a serious dent in the strikeouts because striking out well over 30% of the time in the minors does not strike me as a recipe for MLB success.
Leonardo Bernal (C) - 19-years-old
Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent out of Panama in January 2021
Stats (Low A): 171 PAs, .256/.316/.455, 7 BB%, 18.7 K%, .199 ISO, .280 BABIP, 117 wRC+
Scouting: 20/50 Hit, 20/40 Game Power, 40/45 Raw Power, 40/40 Speed, 30/55 Fielding
Bernal didn’t spend that much time in Low A, and Roster Resource has him repeating Low A, so I am curious how aggressive they are with Bernal. One benefit of Palm Beach being in Low A and not in High A though, is that, even though Peoria isn’t exactly hitter friendly, you aren’t going to be dissuaded from being aggressive due to the park. Easy enough to see why I added him. At an extremely young age, Bernal had a well above average hitting line and his potential is above average defense at catcher.
Moises Gomez (OF) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Signed as minor league free agent in November 2021
Stats (AAA): 244 PAs, .266/.340/.541, 10.2 BB%, 34.4 K%, .275 ISO, .353 BABIP, 128 wRC+
Scouting: 30/35 Hit, 40/50 Game Power, 60/60 Raw Power, 40/40 Speed, 40/40 Defense
To understand the appeal of Moises Gomez, it might be simplest to just share this picture:
I'm ready to watch this mammoth of a man named Moises Gomez hit moonshots at Busch Stadium for the Cardinals. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/Vp0j8tgObq— Cardinal fan (@CardinaIfan) February 14, 2023
It conveys what his stats also say: he hit ball far. The main question with Gomez, and the issue that has plagued his minor league career is his strikeouts. He makes Tyler O’Neill look like Tony Gwynn with how much he strikes out.
Cooper Hjerpe (SP) - 22-years-old
Acquired: 1st round of the 2022 MLB Draft, 22nd overall
Stats (College): 17 GS, 103.1 IP, 161 strikeouts, 23 walks, .180 BAA, 2.53 ERA
Scouting (TCN): 50/60 Fastball, 45/55 Slider, 45/55 Change, 45/55 Command
I wasn’t sure how much fans would buy into a guy who hasn’t thrown a professional inning so his results have been probably the most surprising so far. It’s not difficult to see why. He has a funky delivery with fantastic advanced stats in college who is a lefty. He grades out, according to our very own Blake Newberry, as above average in potential in all of his pitches and his command. It’ll be interesting how aggressive they are: I suspect he will start in High A.
Ivan Herrera (C) - 23-years-old
Acquired: Signed as amateur free agent out of Panama in July 2016
Stats (AAA): 278 PAs, .268/.374/.396, 13.7 BB%, 18.7 K%, .128 ISO, .318 BABIP, 111 wRC+
Scouting: 50/60 Hit, 40/45 Game Power, 50/50 Raw Power, 50/40 speed, 40/50 fielding
I don’t know what the deal is in Panama, but two of the catching prospects on this list were signed out of Panama. One is a fringe top 100 (due to what I suspect is prospect fatigue personally) and the other could be well on his way soon enough with a good 2023. Herrera has some defensive questions he needs sorted, apparently his handling of the staff because there is a lot of things a catcher must process. It came easy to Yadi, it doesn’t not come easy to everyone (not to say Yadi didn’t also work hard, but he’s clearly a unicorn)
Matthew Liberatore (SP) - 23-years-old
Acquired: Traded with Edgardo Rodriguez for Randy Arozarena, Jose Martinez, 2020 supplemental 1st round pick
Stats (AAA): 22 GS, 115 IP, 23.4 K%, 8.3 BB%, 36.4 GB%, 5.17 ERA, 4.63 FIP, 4.27 xFIP
Scouting: 40/45 Fastball, 50/55 Slider, 60/60 Curveball, 45/55 Change, 55/70 Command
I’m oversimplifying, but Liberatore has somewhat become a stats versus scouting guy. That’s not exactly right as there are people on this very website who use scouting to defend Liberatore in the comments, but Liberatore’s best argument for being high on this list is in the projections, frankly.
He has really good projections. ZiPS projects him as a 2 WAR starter in 26 starts, which basically means they already see him as an above average starter. You may not completely buy into that, but it’s not coming from nowhere. And that’s hard to ignore.
Brycen Mautz (SP) - 21-years-old
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2022 MLB Draft, 59th overall
Stats (College): 15 GS, 90.2 IP, 129 Ks, 22 BBs, .256 BAA, 3.87 ERA
Scouting (TCN): 45/55 Fastball, 50/60 Slider, 35/50 Change, 55/60 Command
Scouting provided by Newberry once again, as Fangraphs does not have any scouting information on Mautz so far. Mautz strikes me as someone who might be a bit harder to buy into because he doesn’t have the eye popping stats that Hjerpe does. He also does not have an article about how he’s a pitching unicorn and the best college draftee. But Blake’s scouting suggests a strong pitcher already who should rise quickly as well.
Jonathan Mejia (SS) - 18-years-old
Acquired: Signed as amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in January 2022
Stats (DSL): 208 PAs, .267/.418/.479, 15.9 BB%, 23.1 K%, .212 ISO, .348 BABIP, 145 wRC+
Scouting: 25/60 Hit, 20/45 Game Power, 30/45 Raw Power, 55/55 Speed, 40/55 Fielding
To use an example already on this list, Bernal was jumped straight from the DSL to Low A and he held his own. I wonder if they plan to do the same with Mejia or will he spend 2023 mostly in the complex leagues. The Cardinals have had a tendency to throw prospects into the fire and adjust if they don’t succeed, but will jump up this list if he can spend the year in Low A and not suck.
Michael McGreevy (SP) - 22-years-old
Acquired: 1st round of the 2021 MLB Draft, 18th overall
Stats (AA): 20 GS, 99 IP, 18.4 K%, 6.3 BB%, 48.7 GB%, .319 BABIP, 4.64 ERA/4.85 FIP/4.49 xFIP
Scouting: 40/45 Fastball, 50/55 Slider, 45/45 Curveball, 30/50 Change, 45/55 Command
I think I might push back on that command potential, just because I feel like McGreevy at his best has better command than a 55. He walked 3.4% of batters in Low A and 2.2% in High A before finding his first struggles in AA. And he still had a below average walk rate in AA too. He’s just 22, so I would imagine he will be repeating AA and I would not be surprised if we saw his walk rate fall again. Maybe not 3% good, but lower than 6.3% I’d guess.
Connor Thomas (SP) - 25-years-old
Acquired: 5th round of 2019 MLB Draft, 155th overall
Stats (AAA): 25 GS, 135 IP, 17.9 K%, 6.5 BB%, 51 GB%, 5.47 ERA/4.53 FIP/4.29 xFIP
Scouting (TCN): 40/45 Fastball, 50/55 Change, 55/60 Slider, 50/55 Cutter, 55/60 Command
I will once again thank Blake for sharing his scouting with me from The Cardinal National website. Thomas’ scouting looks pretty similar to Liberatore, where the main weakness is the fastball. But again, Thomas is a pretty simple equation: how much do you buy into his AFL stats? He dominated the league and if it’s suggestive of this upcoming season, he’s probably in the 2024 rotation.
Who is the Cardinals #6 prospect?
This poll is closed
Joshua Baez, OF
Leonardo Bernal, C
Moises Gomez, OF
Cooper Hjerpe, SP
Ivan Herrera, C
Matthew Liberatore, SP
Byrcen Mautz, SP
Michael McGreevy, SP
Jonathan Mejia, SS
Connor Thomas, SP