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Ivan Herrera is the #6 prospect. Who is the #7 prospect?

Three players, all with between 179 and 177 votes, make this the closest race by far.

MLB: JUL 01 Cardinals at Phillies Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I had not prepared for this contingency. We had a tie. A full-blown tie. Two players tied for the exact same amount of votes. Three players, in fact, had the exact same percentage. Matthew Liberatore, who was relatively close but not on my radar to surpass the other two names, tied for first with 175 votes with Ivan Herrera. With exactly one vote behind is Cooper Hjerpe.

Those were the results on Sunday morning. Unbeknownst to me, the poll was still open. I usually close the polls at 11:59 pm the day after I run my post. The default poll provided by SB Nation stays open for like two weeks for some reason. And I guess I hadn’t edited it. Point being, I had a whole plan for how to approach this, wrote my whole post, and was trying to decide on who would be the headline photo. I used that to check which names had photos in the SB Nation vault, and I checked using the most recent poll results. When I noticed.... this.

The number of votes changed. Since I was under the impression I had closed the poll, this confused the hell out of me, until I realized I hadn’t closed the poll. Completely new format unnecessary, Ivan Herrera does in fact have the most votes. Barely. Makes my job way easier. Here’s the update:

  1. Jordan Walker (87% of the vote)
  2. Masyn Winn (44%)
  3. Tink Hence (56%)
  4. Gordon Graceffo (58%)
  5. Alec Burleson (36%)
  6. Ivan Herrera (26%)

Instead of my usual spiel, since this will run long, I’ll explain my added names in their profile. Also, 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

It’s worth pointing out that if the Cardinals place Bernal in High A, he will be on pace to make the majors at 22-years-old. If he takes exactly one level at a time at each level that is, which doesn’t always happen. But he could easily start next season at High A because he was an above average hitter in Low A. One might be a bit worried about the workload, because he had just 45 games played. But I suppose that would be an issue in Low A or High A.

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

Gomez is the AAA version of Joshua Baez, a man who has severe strikeout issues who nonetheless hits the hell out of the ball when he makes contact. And if you’ve seen a picture of him, you’d understand why. He is very, very strong. How far can power take a player? We’re about to find out with Gomez, who doesn’t really have any other tool to his game. (Actually he probably has a strong arm, though I’ve always found it weird that arm was one of the five tools since it barely matters - guess we only recently found that 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

Not much new to say about Hjerpe. You’re either bought into the funky delivery with the great advanced college stats or you want to see him throw a professional inning. Or maybe the latter group now feels he’s placed appropriately. We shall see.

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

Again you know the deal. Since I suspect the race is him versus Hjerpe, it might very well be one of the most extreme examples of upside versus certainty. I suppose how you vote determines which you value more. Though admittedly Liberatore does have more upside than that simplistic competition suggests while Hjerpe also seems as likely as one could to pitch in the majors without having thrown a professional inning.

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

VEB’s Blake Newberry, who also writes at The Cardinal Nation (TCN), which is where I get the scouting figures from recent draftees (and Connor Thomas, whom Fangraphs did not rank last year), rates Mautz as a two-pitch pitcher with great command whose changeup needs improvement but also can become an effective pitch on its own. I would largely not expect a combination of more than two average pitches with greater than average potential and above average command from someone not drafted in the 1st round, so this makes sense.

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

I genuinely am curious what the Cardinals do with Mejia this season. They have three options to my mind. They could have him play the majority of the season in the complex leagues. They could send him to Palm Beach to play Low A ball immediately. Or they might want him to go to Low A, but maybe not make him play a full season right away since he only played 45 games in the DSL. Bernal, for example, played his first Low A game on June 8th. Mejia might get the same treatment.

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.

Inohan Panigua (SP) - 23-years-old

Acquired: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in December 2017

Stats (Low A): 99 IP, 26.9% K%, 5.8 BB%, 43.7 GB%, .272 BABIP, 2.18 ERA/3.01 FIP/3.62 xFIP

Scouting: 35/40 Fastball, 55/60 Curveball, 40/50 Change, 35/60 Command

Panigua was my second choice and he was actually one of my original five choices back when I picked out five names to add for the next four spots. And he was always the plan to be the first solo add, but well, this tie has changed things. Panigua pitched most of the season in Low A, which is why I chose those stats and not his High A stats. He will most likely be repeating High A too since he wasn’t that great there, if you’re wondering where he’ll start 2023.

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

There’s really only so many different ways I can say the same thing. Thomas, to date, has not been considered much of a prospect (by most I should add), but hypothetically speaking, a cutter could change things. It certainly changed things in the AFL where he dominated a hitter friendly league. But for now, the AFL is really all we have to go on, which makes him a tough person to place on a list such as this. So good luck to you all.


Who is the Cardinals #9 prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Joshua Baez, OF
    (20 votes)
  • 1%
    Leonardo Bernal, C
    (8 votes)
  • 5%
    Moises Gomez, OF
    (29 votes)
  • 40%
    Cooper Hjerpe, SP
    (206 votes)
  • 39%
    Matthew Liberatore, SP
    (202 votes)
  • 0%
    Byrcen Mautz, SP
    (0 votes)
  • 3%
    Michael McGreevy, SP
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Jonathan Mejia, SS
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Inohan Panigua, SP
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Connor Thomas, SP
    (19 votes)
511 votes total Vote Now