Well, can’t say I saw this one coming. Freddy Pacheco is no longer a Cardinal. He was claimed off waivers between today’s post and the vote for the #13 prospect. He has been on a few votes thus far, but I guess we should consider it good timing that we haven’t actually voted him into this list yet? I don’t know, it was weird all around. In the meantime, as the headline says, Jonathan Mejia was voted as the #13 prospect. Here’s the list so far:
- Jordan Walker
- Masyn Winn
- Tink Hence
- Gordon Graceffo
- Alec Burleson
- Ivan Herrera
- Cooper Hjerpe
- Matthew Liberatore
- Michael McGreevy
- Moises Gomez
- Joshua Baez
- Leonardo Bernal
- Jonathan Mejia
By virtue of Mejia getting selected and a second player getting removed from the vote due to no longer being a Cardinal, I am going to add two players to the vote once again. The first selection is easy enough. Remove a reliever, add a reliever. You guys helpfully showed me which reliever to select in a past vote, and that reliever is Ryan Loutos. Second selection was a bit harder, but since this pitching prospect doesn’t really have a great comparison point, better safe than sorry and add him ahead of guys who I’m pretty sure aren’t in danger of being selected immediately. That pitcher is Ian Bedell.
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.
Ian Bedell (SP) - 23-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 MLB Draft, 122nd overall
Stats (Complex + Low A): 5.2 IP, 34.5 K%, 10.3 BB%, 53.3 GB%, 3.17 ERA/1.75 FIP/1.99 xFIP
Scouting: 40/45 Fastball, 55/60 Curve, 40/50 Change, 35/60 Command
Ian Bedell was drafted in that soon-to-be infamous 2020 draft and it sure would be sweet if he could add to the legend of that draft. He got screwed by the pandemic and then he injured himself in his first game of 2021, and needed Tommy John surgery. The injury took him out for most of 2022, and he was only able to pitch a few innings in rehab. But at least those were a dominant few innings of rehab.
Won-Bin Cho (OF) - 19-years-old
Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent out of South Korea in January 2022
Stats (Complex): 100 PAs, .211/.400/.316, 20 BB%, 27 K%, .105 ISO, .313 BABIP, 118 wRC+
Scouting: 20/40 Hit, 25/55 Game Power, 45/60 Raw Power, 40/40 Speed, 35/50 Fielding
This is where prospects become prospects. Cho had a good sampling of games in the complex league. Didn’t have much power, but had a ton of patience. He has a lot of power potential, which he doesn’t really need to show in 2023 to still be a good prospect. But what he probably needs to do is perform at Low A. And 18-year-old doing well in the complex leagues is interesting, a 19-year-old performing well is someone to pay attention to.
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
Crooks III is suffering from two things that hold him back from being higher on this list. A relatively small size of plate appearances - there’s no question if he did what he did in 400 PAs, I think he would be higher on this list. He would also probably would have seen High A before he reached 400 PAs which would also give him more bonus points.
The second thing - and this one may actually be fair - is the catcher tax. It’s been mentioned in the comments that the relative disappointment of Carson Kelly and Andrew Knizner, plus Ivan Herrera not being instantly ready is souring some people on catching prospects. Catching prospects probably just have the biggest hurdle, having to consume entirely too much information while also being able to frame and hit somewhat.
Ryan Loutos (RP) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in July 2021
Stats (AAA): 27 IP, 22.1 K%, 9.2 BB%, 52.8 GB%, .471 BABIP, 6.33 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 3.91 xFIP
Scouting: 60/60 Fastball, 45/50 Curve, 60/60 Command
One may look at those stats and wonder why he’s on this list. But two things help put that into context. The first is that he went undrafted in the 2021 draft and made it to AAA to finish the 2022 season. That is not how it usually works. The second is that he started 2022 in High A and pitched well enough at two levels to pitch at AAA at all. Plus, his strikeout, walk, and groundball rates suggest he should have had better results and he actually pitched fine.
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
Now that he’s officially past his Fangraphs ranking, part of my motivation for adding Love when I did was that Fangraphs ranked him 12th in the Cardinals system. It is clear VEB readers do not agree as he does not seem particularly close to being selected. But the 3rd rounder essentially had his first professional season last year - and at least by advanced stats - held his own at High A. But it’s clear he’s going to have to adjust to AA quickly to remain an interesting starting pitching prospect.
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
Given the scouting, it seems like Mautz could become a good reliever fairly quickly at the major league level. But, being such a high round draft pick, I’m sure the Cards are hopeful he can stick at starter. He’s sort of one of those high reward, high floor picks, where they presumably feel if things don’t work out, he can always fall back on being a good reliever. And since he has two pretty close to MLB pitches already, I wonder how he would do as early as next season in a bullpen. But I do want to see what he can do as a starter first.
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
Missing from those stats is a not great eight starts in High A, somewhat influencing by an enormous innings jump (46.1 IP in 2021, 137.2 IP in 2022). But he’ll start the year in High A, and given he’s already gotten an eight-start head start, hopefully he be dominant and able to secure a promotion to AA to finish out 2023. Yet another pitcher with a not great fastball, a weird motif in the Cards system.
Victor Scott II (OF) - 22-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, 157th overall
Stats (Low A): 142 PAs, .222/.358/.389, 16.9 BB%, 18.3 K%, .167 ISO, .262 BABIP, 115 wRC+
Scouting (TCN): 35/50 hit, 35/45 power, 55/65 field, 50/50 arm, 70/70 run
I’ll point this out for every blurb I write about him, but Scott II had 13 stolen bases to 3 caught stealing. So he’s presumably very fast and at least by the scouting, can also field. That’s a great place to start. So mostly the question is about his bat, which so far has gone reasonably well. I do hope his can manage higher BABIPs.
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
Thomas struck out over 30% of the batters he faced in the AFL and walked less than 5% of batters. Compare that to his AAA stats and you may be confused. AAA is probably harder, but not that much harder to explain those stats. And this was in a hitting happy environment with an average OBP of about .360. He used a cutter he recently learned, but only began to trust. But as I’ve said many times, it’s all about to 25 innings versus the rest of his minor leaguer career.
Alec Willis (SP) - 20-years-old
Acquired: 7th round of 2021 MLB Draft, 211th overall
Stats (Complex): 6 G, 11.1 IP, 34.8 K%, 4.3 BB%, 42.9 GB%, 1.59 ERA/2.94 FIP/2.28 xFIP
Scouting: 40/50 Fastball, 45/55 Curve, 30/50 Change, 20/50 Command
The second pitcher on this list who essentially was only able to throw rehab innings. Well, sort of. In the case of Willis, his inning were probably more deliberate. He was injured for most of 2021 and did return late, but the Cardinals probably just wanted to make sure he threw some innings, but didn’t want to push. He may get the Tink Hence treatment in 2023, which will likely not make it any easier to evaluate him as a prospect.
Who is the #14 prospect?
This poll is closed
Ian Bedell, SP
Won-Bin Cho, OF
Jimmy Crooks III, C
Ryan Loutos, RP
Austin Love, SP
Byrcen Mautz, SP
Inohan Panigua, SP
Victor Scott II, OF
Connor Thomas, SP
Alec Willis, SP