I truly did not know who VEB would pick for the #9 vote, and there wasn’t much of a hint in the two previous votes. Michael McGreevy got just 4% of the vote for the #7 prospect, which tied him with two other prospects and was also less votes than another prospect who wasn’t Matthew Liberatore or Cooper Hjerpe. He probably would not have been my guess for the #9 vote, but again I had not a lot of information to use to make that guess.
Here’s the list so far:
- Jordan Walker
- Masyn Winn
- Tink Hence
- Gordon Graceffo
- Alec Burleson
- Ivan Herrera
- Cooper Hjerpe
- Matthew Liberatore
- Michael McGreevy
I’m going to do something a little different this time and it’s related to who I’m adding this week. I’ve been contemplating when to add relievers to this list as I have no real idea how this group would value relievers, who are a bit more likely to make the majors than most of the 10 to 20 group, but carry a limited amount of value. Well, that ends today. I’m adding Freddy Pacheco.
Because I’m adding a reliever, I’m using that an excuse to get a head start on how people feel about the rest of the relievers in the system. I will add another reliever at some point, probably more than one, but there’s not a good way for me to determine which particular reliever is one who this group will end up liking. I can see an argument for a few to be in a top 20, and it’s not realistic for me to guess which one will click. So I’m going to list four relievers in the minors, pick your favorite, and that’ll give me a clue.
Pick your favorite reliever among these choices
This poll is closed
If you’re wondering about a couple names missing, I am disqualifying two 30+ year-old relievers in the form of Wilking Rodriguez and Logan Sawyer. I think they can technically be called prospects in the sense that they have 8 days of service time between them, but once you turn 30, sorry I’m not calling you a prospect. I already am uncomfortable with Jake Walsh on this list. If I am missing a reliever who isn’t 30, let me know, but I think this covers the legitimate reliever prospects in the system who may make a top 20.
Here’s the obligatory mention of how the scouting grades work. 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.
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
Fun fact about Baez. If you look at his page on either Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs, you will notice he is actually 19-years-old right now. But this upcoming season is his age 20 season. The reason I am pointing this out is that if he were born three days later, it would be his age 19 season. At some point you have to draw a line for these things, but he is as young as a “20-year-old” could possibly be.
Other than that, if you’ve read a few of these, you know the story. Contact issues, but kills the ball.
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
While we’re pointing out ages, LawBird made an interesting point. No catchers play in Low A in their age 18 season and among the few that maybe sneak through, none of them play well. Yadier Molina and Ivan Herrera were both 19 when they played in Low A. If they were that aggressive in the first place, they may very well have him play High A at 19-years-old. One huge advantage of making Palm Beach the Low A squad is you aren’t as scared to aggressively promote hitters to High A.
Jimmy Crooks III (C) - 21-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round of the 2022 Draft, 127th overall
Stats (Low A): 96 PAs, .266/.396/.468, 12.5 BB%, 22.9 K%, .203 ISO, .333 BABIP, 149 wRC+
Scouting (TCN): 35/55 Hit, 40/60 Power, 35/50 Field, 55/55 Arm, 40/40 Speed
At the end of the year, Crooks III was the catching counterpart to Bernal and that will probably continue in High A. At least, Crooks III certainly seems like to go to High A. I think the most encouraging thing about Crooks III is that despite being a clear bat-first catcher, there is some optimism he will actually stick at catcher, which is usually the issue with the type of catching prospect he is.
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
One thing I noticed about Gomez’s scouting - and I’ll stress I am not a scout - but it seems like his game power may be low? Maybe I’m crazy here, but hitting 39 homers at AA and AAA seems like it should suggest better than 40 game power. And in fact, I’d even say his potential game power should be higher than 50. Now I’m speaking purely on the power. He’s always going to have contact issues, but it seems like he has more power than the scouting suggests both right now and in the best version of him for the future.
Austin Love (SP) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2021 MLB Draft, 90th overall
Stats (High A): 25 GS, 125.2 IP, 26.8 K%, 9.2 BB%, 47.3 GB%, .366 BABIP, 5.73 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 3.79 xFIP
Scouting: 50/50 Fastball, 55/55 Slider, 40/50 Change, 45/55 Command
It’ll be interesting to see how Love reacts to Springfield, which is a very difficult place for a pitcher to pitch. It’ll go a long way towards determining his status as a prospect. He’s not particularly young for the level, and he was pretty hittable in High A. That said, his advanced stats were significantly better than his results and hopefully that’s more indicative of how he’ll pitch than his ERA.
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
Until his most recent season, Mautz mostly operated as a reliever in college. And it’s appropriate enough that he’s considered a significant reliever risk, although the Cardinals are going to try him at starter for as long as possible presumably. He does have the pitch arsenal to start, I think it’s mostly the unorthodox delivery that has scouts thinking reliever. Whether they are correct or not to be worried about that, I cannot say.
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’ve compared the two before, but Mejia brings to mind Malcolm Nunez. They aren’t really similar as prospects - one is a shortstop and one ended up becoming a 1B/DH prospect - but the way in which their DSL performance will translate to the states. Nunez had a 238 wRC+ in the DSL, then went straight to Low A and bombed, and did okay at Johnson City, but he never did become the can’t miss prospect he looked like he could become.
Which brings me to Mejia. He’s a shortstop and as of now the scouting says he has above average potential there which gives him a huge advantage over Nunez. If he can hold his own in Low A - if he indeed is sent there that is - he is likely to rise in the prospect rankings quickly.
Freddy Pacheco (RP) - 25-years-old
Acquired: Signed out of Venezuela in November 2017
Stats (AAA): 33.2 IP, 32.6 K%, 9.1 BB%, 36.6 GB%, .205 BABIP, 2.41 ERA/2.97 FIP/3.92 xFIP
Scouting: 70/70 Fastball, 55/60 Slider, 30/40 Command
Interestingly, Pacheco had better stats in AAA than he did in AA, and I don’t know how much of that was Springfield being a harder place to pitch or if he actually did pitch better, but it’s definitely encouraging either way. The same thing happened in 2021. He had significantly better stats in AA than he did in High A and you can’t blame that on the park. I don’t know if he’s just a better pitcher as the season goes along, but if it remains true, he could become an effective weapon in the MLB later this season.
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
I chose to share Panigua’s Low A stats for two reasons, even though I usually defer to showing a player’s stats at his higher level. Because he pitched more of the season in Low A by a lot and also because it seems likely he was tired by the time he pitched in High A. I don’t know if we can blame that on his not very impressive performance, but he threw 46.1 IP in 2021 and by the time he pitched in High A, he had already thrown 99 innings. He threw an additional 38.2 IP in High A. Kind of odd actually, as I would have thought they’d try to manage his innings a bit more. That’s a huge leap.
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
You know the deal, Thomas has mediocre stats in AAA the past two seasons, but struck out over 30% of hitters in the AFL with a low walk rate in a huge hitter’s environment and the question mostly is how much to pay attention to those 20+ innings. There is a potential reason he pitched better, which is he finally mastered his cutter, but it’s still not a large sample against a larger sample of him being mediocre. You decide how much faith to have in the AFL stats.
Who is the Cardinals #10 prospect?
This poll is closed
Joshua Baez, OF
Leonardo Bernal, C
Jimmy Crooks III, C
Moises Gomez, OF
Austin Love, SP
Byrcen Mautz, SP
Jonathan Mejia, SS
Freddy Pacheco, RP
Inohan Panigua, SP
Connor Thomas, SP