We’re getting awfully close to the beginning of the regular season, so I think it’s time to start ramping up the posts. I don’t have a lot of interest carrying this into the regular season, though I imagine the last couple picks might need to. Nonetheless, I’ll do what I can in the meantime and post an extra post this week. For the #14 prospect, you all selected Connor Thomas, who has been on the ballot for a while at this point. Oddly, he’s received a decent percentage his entire run, just never got first. That leaves the list at:
- 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
- Connor Thomas
I’ve been waiting to add this guy until it felt like Brycen Mautz got more than a few votes, and we’ve reached that time. I’m adding third round pick from the 2022 draft Pete Hansen, also a lefty. My rationale was quite simple: I found it difficult to see him getting selected before Mautz, being a round later than Mautz. So as long as Mautz didn’t look like he had any chance of being picked, I could prioritize other players. I think this is the first time he might actually get selected, thus Pete Hansen goes on the board.
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
There is a little bit of uncertainty around Bedell, since we don’t know anything about his progress this season. But if he can ever manage to stay healthy, he should pitch in High A. I’m sure the most important thing this season it for him to have a relatively healthy season, with the second being performance. Which will make it somewhat difficult to grade him as a prospect. He at least looked good in his rehab innings, even if it took him a bit longer than hoped.
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
I’m curious if Cho will be sent to Low A, and if he will be, if he will be sent immediately to Low A. Sometimes, the Cardinals like to promote the teenagers who have never played a full season closer to the middle of the season to help them adjust. Low A is already a big jump for those players, no need to also make them have the stamina to play a full season. I’m also curious to see if Cho’s power potential comes around this upcoming season.
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 looks promising just looking at his stats and his scouting, which portend a decent hitting catcher who can stick at catcher, no easy feat. But the sample size is little and he hasn’t been truly tested quite yet. A full season at High A should answer, or at least alleviate these concerns.
Pete Hansen (SP) - 22-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2022 Draft, 97th overall
Stats (College): 107.2 IP, 27.7 K%, 4.4 BB%, .230 BAA, 3.76 ERA
Scouting (TCN): Pete Hansen: 40/45 FB, 50/60 SL, 45/55 CB, 40/50 CH, 50/60 command
I’ll have to forgive Hansen for going to the University of Texas, but he did pitch well. That scouting reporting, as long as the one for Mautz, is provided by VEB’s Blake Newberry in his feature on The Cardinal Nation blog. Interestingly, he actually he has four pitches rated, which neither Mautz or Hjerpe had.
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
Loutos followed the path of Kodi Whitley, which is maybe not a comparison that will help him on this list. But he went undrafted in a 20 round draft - Whitley was drafted after the 20th round back when more rounds existed. He started his season in High A and finished in AAA, just like Whitley in 2019. Whitley later made his MLB debut in 2020 though there were some extenuating circumstances that aren’t going to be there for Loutos. But still, Cards fast track players who they believe him, and he was very fast fracked. Loutos is also a year ahead of Whitley - Whitley was 25 in the 2020 season.
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
The only thing that sucks about drafting a bunch of college starters who the Cardinals deem to have too high of a workload to throw any professional innings is that we get no data. I need data. I love following minor leaguer stats and we got nothing from any of the first three rounds. This is probably fine for the people who aren’t into scouting, but that’s not me. I NEED DATA.
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
With most of prospects, and depending on your skepticism on Scott’s scouting, you are unsure of the non-hitting parts and feel like you have a pretty good handle on the hitting. With Scott, the hitting is the question. The fielding and the baserinning appear to be near elite, so it’s all about his bat. He had a good professional debut, but it still may have relied a bit too much on the wildness of Low A pitchers, which he can’t rely on as he gets deeper in the minors. Or at least that’s usually how it works.
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
Unlike the college pitchers who didn’t throw any professional innings, but whom - health permitted - should throw a full season in 2023, Willis is a different story. The story, more or less, is how many innings will he throw and how will the Cardinals handle him throwing those many innings. Will he be shut down until the middle of the season and get the Tink Hence treatment? It remains to be seen, but I expect him to throw some innings in Low A by the end of the season.
Who is the #15 prospect?
This poll is closed
Ian Bedell, SP
Won-Bin Cho, OF
Jimmy Crooks III, C
Pete Hansen, SP
Ryan Loutos, RP
Austin Love, SP
Brycen Mautz, SP
Inohan Panigua, SP
Victor Scott III, OF
Alec Willis, SP