For the 19th prospect in the system, there was again a wider variety of votes. Half of the players received at least 10% and the leader only received 21%. In fact, for at least part of Monday, I was afraid it would be a tie. But in the end, Inohan Paniagua separated himself from the rest. Thus, the top 20 prospects stands 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
- Won-Bin Cho
- Jimmy Crooks III
- Brycen Mautz
- Guillermo Zuñiga
- Inohan Paniagua
And we’ve reached the end of the voting today. The timing worked out relatively well. Would have I preferred to finish this earlier? Yes, yes I would. But we’re going to get all the votes out before Opening Day, which I’m happy about. On Friday, I’ll share the vote for the 20th prospect, and I think that’s as good a time as any, since it’s an off-day.
Which leaves the matter of who else to add to the voting. I ran a poll featuring the names Zane Mills, Dionys Rodriguez, and Patrick Romeri, but they very nearly got outvoted by “I don’t like any of these guys.” Mills got most of the vote, and though he hasn’t struck out people yet, he will be 22 in AA this season. Romeri too is crazy young and even though his development was interrupted by the COVID season and injuries last year, will still be 22 in High A.
Another player I thought I’d be able to add was Pedro Pages, but the voting by you guys just didn’t justify it. Pages would have been my pick if I was running a poll for the 21st best prospect though. But in the end, there was one choice only. Pages received the 2nd most votes behind the overwhelming favorite Mike Antico in a poll of close-to-the majors prospects. In the vote for the teenage prospects, Jeremy Rivas was 2nd place. But Rivas received a higher percentage than Pages and that was with more options. Rivas it is as the final pick.
Mike Antico (OF) - 25-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 8th round of the 2021 Draft, 241st overall
Stats (High A): 321 PAs, .255/.358/.405, 12.8 BB%, 23.7 K%, .150 ISO, .330 BABIP, 116 wRC+
Stats (AA): 275 PAs, .233/.327/.383, 10.9 BB%, 24.4 K%, .150 ISO, .289 BABIP, 85 wRC+
Antico was drafted at 23-years-old, which is how he finds himself in AA at 25 in his third professional season. I’m not sure his bat is the reason he is on the list. You can make an argument I suppose, but it’s a difficult one. No, people voted on him to make this list because of his centerfield defense and speed. He has stolen 74 bases to 8 caught stealing in his minor league career, an insane rate. Worst case, maybe he can be the Cardinals’ Terrance Gore.
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
I am extremely biased to like Ian Bedell. He went to Mizzou, my alma mater, and he is also a member of the 2020 draft. I’m greedy. I’m rooting for best draft of all time at this point. Bedell is the best, maybe the only, chance to add to Jordan Walker, Alec Burleson, Masyn Winn, and Tink Hence, which is already absolutely insane. And maybe it’s that bias that leads me to have a lot of hope for him, and a weird attachment to how unhittable he looked during rehab in leagues he should be unhittable in, especially throwing one inning at a time.
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
Speaking of good drafts, it’ll be interesting to see how the funky arm slot, left-handed draft will turn out. Two of them are already on this list. Hansen is another version of that. The main question for all three is can they stick at starter. That’s both an injury concern and developing other pitches concern. Though Hansen has the most starter repertoire of the three (the other two have three scoutable pitches), though there’s that pesky weak fastball.
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
If you listened to the podcast posted earlier today, you’ll note that I picked Ryan Loutos as my pick for who will be a bullpen fixture at the end of the year. So I’m high on the guy. A lot of that is related to how he seemingly adjusted to each level. Yes, I recognize the high ERA at AAA, but the K/BB numbers are still solid, plus a high groundball rate. It was also his third level of the year. That said, he has his work cut out for him. He’s behind Wilking Rodriguez (on the IL now), Jake Walsh, and Guillmero Zuñiga, all of whom are ahead of him simply by being on the 40 man. Not to mention the three lefties also on the 40 man in the minors.
Reiner Lopez (RHP) - 16-years-old
I want to say something new about Lopez, but I really have nothing to say about this guy that Blake Newberry hasn’t already said better than I would:
“One thing that jumps out to me is that he sits 89-93 already and with his weight listed at just 196 pounds, it’s east to project some extra velocity on him. But the thing that stands out the most is right at the beginning of the scouting report. “He features a three quarters to over-the-top arm slot and a simple repeatable delivery.” Most 16 year olds don’t have repeatable deliveries and especially not 6’8” 16 years old who have a lot of extra length on their limbs to coordinate.”
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
I sort of hate Fangraphs for posting him at 12th, because it made me add him earlier than I planned to, and I really didn’t need to. And now here I am, trying to come up with something to say about him. Nothing original coming. Love had pretty good advanced stats, but was weirdly hittable. But it was also his first professional season proper so maybe now that he nows the grind, he will pitch well in AA.
Jeremy Rivas (SS) - 20-years-old
Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela on July 2019
Stats (Low A): 471 PAs, .245/.309/.301, 7.9 BB%, 22.1 K%, .056 ISO, .316 BABIP, 78 wRC+
I don’t have scouting information on Rivas, but there’s really only one thing to know: he is really good at defense. At least I think. Haven’t laid eyes on him myself. The Cardinals seem to think so. I’m not sure if he’ll repeat Low A or get promoted to High A, but given he was a non-roster invitee to spring training, I think High A. Look at his bat. If they send him to High A, they think he’s Brendan Ryan on defense. He’s also super, super young. They may also be promoted him because he needs to be added to the 40 man or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft after the 2023 season. Not a huge concern to be taken at the moment, but they can’t exactly slow-play him either, because he’ll be eligible for minor league free agency at quite a young age.
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
Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but Scott is essentially the version of Mike Antico that was drafted at the normal age college players are drafted at. Antico was drafted at 23, Scott II at 21-years-old. Scott is also a speed and defense guy whose bat is the main question. He will spend his time in High A, and it’ll be interested to see if his walk rate can sustain, which may be determined by his propensity to hit the ball hard.
Jake Walsh (RP) - 27-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 16th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, 484th overall
Stats (AAA): 13 G, 15.1 IP, 34.9 K%, 11.1 BB%, 26.5 GB%, 1.17 ERA/2.86 FIP/3.73 xFIP
Scouting: 60/60 Fastball, 50/55 Curve, 30/35 Change, 35/40 Command
I had not realized Walsh had such good stats in AAA to be honest. Too many walks, not enough groundballs, but striking out over a third of hitters for a reliever is a very good start. He struck out 5 hitters out of his 15 batters faced in the majors too. Six of those hitters got on base, but still. Despite the small sample size, his stuff will probably play, if he can stay healthy and if he can get the opportunity. And if he can survive Opening Day without getting DFA’d. All of those factors.
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
Willis is exciting, because it feels like he’s ready to break out. Another arm with injury issues - that’s kind of pitching in 2023 - he had insane strikeout to walk ratios in rookie ball. He presumably pitched well enough to earn a promotion to Low A. If we don’t immediately see him though, I’m guessing it’s for innings-related reasons. Tink Hence didn’t debut until May 19th. We may see something similar for Willis, given how few innings he’s thrown the past two seasons.
Who is the #20 prospect?
This poll is closed
Mike Antico, OF
Ian Bedell, SP
Pete Hansen, SP
Ryan Loutos, RP
Austin Love, SP
Jeremy Rivas, SS
Victor Scott II, OF
Jake Walsh, RP
Alec Willis, SP
Reiner Lopez, RHP