It is now May, which means it’s probably time to check in on the minor leaguers. I’m not going to pick every name in the minor league system, but I’ll try to target relevant names and anybody who is standing out for one reason or another. It’ll be a bit easier than later in the year, since there’s only four minor league teams playing right now. I’ll just get right to it.
Jordan Walker - VEB’s #1 prospect
Stats: 8 G, 37 PAs, .188/.297/.281, 10.8 BB%, 24.3 K%, .094 ISO, .227 BABIP, 53 wRC+
Walker hit a homer in his second game in Memphis and has not done a whole lot since then. That remains his only extra base hit so far. If you want to look at the bright side, Walker has more walks in 37 PAs than he did in 78 MLB PAs. Patience was an issue in St. Louis. One concern is that he got hit by a pitch yesterday and got pinch-hit for in his next plate appearance. Not sure if it’s precautionary or we’ll see an IL trip soon.
Masyn Winn - VEB’s #2 prospect
Stats: 32 G, 153 PAs, .257/.340/.419, 9.8 BB%, 20.3 K%, .162 ISO, .300 BABIP, 94 wRC+
He is very close to doing the exact same thing he did in Springfield. And he got off to a slow start. He has a 117 wRC+ since April 11th. Arbitrary date, sure. It’s also a period of time where he has all three of his doubles, all five of his homers, and one of his two triples on the year. He was pretty punchless to begin the year, that changed. Very encouraging start for the 21-year-old.
Gordon Graceffo - VEB’s #4 prospect
Stats: 5 GS, 22 IP, 20.6 K%, 10.3 BB%, 40 GB%, 4.91 ERA/4.93 FIP/5.33 xFIP
Not the greatest start, and to make matters worse, Graceffo was placed on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. Not that I think we should have thought otherwise anyway, but I don’t think he’s an option for 2023 at the big league level unfortunately.
Ivan Herrera - VEB’s #6 prospect
Stats: 20 G, 87 PAs, .237/.363/.447, 15.4 BB%, 25.3 K%, .300 BABIP, 105 wRC+
Every stat is updated with the exception of wRC+, because the Redbirds played yesterday and Herrera went 1-3 with a double, a walk, and a strikeout. But the important indicator of his progress is his defense, or gamecalling, or preparation or whatever it is that is plaguing Willson Contreras, and the Cards don’t think Herrera is up to speed yet. Difference is, Herrera can be in the minors.
Matthew Liberatore - VEB’s #8 prospect
Stats: 7 GS, 39 IP, 32.1 K%, 9.4 BB%, 50 GB%, 2.77 ERA/3.09 FIP/3.08 xFIP
Yeah I mean, he might not be ready for the big leagues, but he’s got nothing left to prove in AAA. As soon as a spot opens up - and I think Steven Matz got himself another start - Liberatore will be in the majors. I also speculated that he may be used as a sixth starter with one off-day between now and the end of the month.
Michael McGreevy - VEB’s #9 prospect
Stats: 2 GS, 12.2 IP, 15.7 K%, 7.8 BB%, 61.5 GB%, 3.55 ERA/4.19 FIP/4.32 xFIP
Kind of a weird twist of fate that suddenly McGreevy is ahead of Graceffo. He’ll have to either not walk as many batters - and 7.8% is not a lot at all - or strike out more hitters, but if he can do either of those things with a 50% GB rate or better, I don’t see why he can’t be an MLB starter.
Moises Gomez - VEB’s #10 prospect
Stats: 27 G, 119 PAs, .248/.286/.422, 3.4 BB%, 25.2 K%, .174 ISO, .304 BABIP, 72 wRC+
One might be encouraged by the K rate except it seems like he’s making a concerted effort to not strike out as much at the expense of being patient. So he’s not walking either. And the power hasn’t been there yet. I’m still hoping the Cards can figure out a way to trade him for something of value, personally.
Connor Thomas - VEB’s #14 prospect
Stats: 7 GS, 38 IP, 16.3 K%. 7 BB%, 50.8 GB%, 5.21 ERA/4.24 FIP/4.62 xFIP
Thomas pitched yesterday, and I tried my best to incorporate the stats into his numbers. His FIP and xFIP are not updated however. He struck out 3 to no walks and didn’t allow a homer in 5.1 IP, so I’m guessing his FIP either won’t be affected or will improve, but he didn’t get many groundballs, so his xFIP will probably get worse. (He had three earned runs and five runs allowed overall)
Guillermo Zuñiga - #VEB’S #15 prospect
Stats: 9 G, 8.1 IP, 25.7 K%, 5.7 BB%, 47.8 GB%, 5.40 ERA/5.52 FIP/4.38 xFIP
If one were to wonder why Zuñiga was sent down, his stats are fine, but nothing special. Also he just got to AAA. It’s fine that he’s not in the majors for now.
Andre Pallante - on the 40 man
Stats: 5 G, 9.2 IP, 36.8 K%, 5.3 BB%, 72.7 GB%, 2.79 ERA/1.20 FIP/1.96 xFIP
People have noted that Pallante has not been moved to the rotation yet and that’s pretty much the only reason he should be in the minors. I mean look at those numbers. However, here’s an interesting trend - in order of appearance he faced 6, 6, 8, then 9 and 9 batters. In his last outing, he threw 38 pitches. This could all be a strange coincidence of course. This could also just be trying to inflate his innings to prepare for next year. I’m not sure. Maybe if Liberatore gets called up, he might get some starts in AAA with Graceffo injured.
Jose Fermin - still injured
Stats: 31 G, 133 PAs, .309/.429/.700, 17.3 BB%, 24.1 K%, .391 ISO, .333 BABIP, 179 wRC+
Well, Baker’s doing what he needs to do to be put back on the radar. That said, he had a 78 wRC+ last season and this is his age 26 season. Probably going to need to do this for more than a couple months. He’s definitely on the wrong team to get an MLB opportunity.
Stats: 29 G, 137 PAs, .204/.365/.269, 17.5 BB%, 19.7 K%, .065 ISO, .259 BABIP, 79 wRC+
As punchless as his offense appears to be, I think he could rather easily run a 10% or higher BB rate at the MLB level. It just might come with a .300 slugging percentage.
Stats: 27 G, 115 PAs, .304/.368/.461, 7 BB%, 17.4 K%, .157 ISO, .358 BABIP, 112 wRC+
Pretty much doing what a use in case of emergency minor league depth is supposed to do.
Stats: 12 G, 21.2 IP, 27.2 K%, 8.7 BB%, 48.3 GB%, 2.49 ERA/2.88 FIP/3.89 xFIP
He was in my top 20, at #18, and it’s looking like a good decision so far. Multi-inning reliever with a good amount of strikeouts, not too many walks (especially important given last year), and some groundballs.
Stats: 7 G, 11 IP, 34.8 K%, 8.7 BB%, 44 GB%, 3.27 ERA/4.29 FIP/3.77 xFIP
He’s been a little homer happy in Memphis, but otherwise he’s pitching pretty well. His 34.8 K% is easily a professional high for him, with a previous high of 30.9% in High A last year. He’s still just 24.
Stats: 23 G, 98 PAs, .276/.347/.402, 9.2 BB%, 23.5 K%, .126 ISO, .359 BABIP, 101 wRC+
Springfield is the wasteland of our minor league system now that Michael McGreevy is promoted and Inohan Paniagua is injured. Pages’ defensive rep is rock solid, but his MLB future lies in his what his bat can do. Respectable line so far.
Stats: 24 G, 102 PAs, .256/.360/.628, 12.7 BB%, 29.4 K%, .372 ISO, .261 BABIP, 150 wRC+
I don’t know if they have anywhere to play him, but there’s really no reason for Redmond to be in AA. He’s in a similar spot to Baker and probably missed his chance as a future Cardinal by not having a very good season in his age 25 season. Difference is, Redmond is still in AA.
Stats: 26 G, 105 PAs, .253/.308/.516, 6.7 BB%, 37.1 K%, .263 ISO, .365 BABIP, 109 wRC+
What an incredibly weird line for a player like Antico. Did Fangraphs insert this wrong? Not a lot of walks, lots of strikeouts, lots of power and in the end he’s about where you’d expect. I don’t know what to make of this start.
Stats: 25 G, 110 PAs, .323/.391/.465, 10 BB%, 20 K%, .141 ISO, .384 BABIP, 130 wRC+
A product of system with lots of outfielders is that someone like Koperniak is stuck in Springfield. He should also be in Memphis. He had a 106 wRC+ in 437 PAs last season. And he’s 25.
Stats: 5 GS, 18 IP, 23.3 K%, 7.8 BB%, 31.1 GB%, .424 BABIP, 9.50 ERA/4.36 FIP/5.38 xFIP
This line is a real rollercoaster, huh? Pretty solid K/BB ratio, then barely any balls hit on the ground, then a ridiculous BABIP against, then a super high ERA, but wait respectable FIP? And then the not very good xFIP.
Stats: 5 G (3 GS), 20.2 IP, 23.3 K%, 8.9 BB%, 47.3 GB%, 3.05 ERA/3.33 FIP/4.84 xFIP
He must have re-upped with the Cardinals because I’m pretty sure he was eligible for minor league free agency. Only 24, this under the radar prospect has gotten off to a pretty good start.
Stats: 8 G, 9 IP, 31.1 K%, 6.7 BB%, 37 GB%, .556 BABIP, 8.00 ERA/2.14 FIP/3.23 xFIP
Unless Logan is a unicorn - and it’s only been 8 innings - he’s probably been unlucky. His stuff seems to translate to professional ball. He has a pretty great strikeout rate and a pretty good walk rate. Doesn’t get a lot of grounders, but as you can see by FIP and xFIP, he gets enough. But that BABIP against is a tough one.
Stats: 11 G, 15 IP, 40.6 K%, 7.8 BB%, 40.6 GB%, .321 BABIP, 7.80 ERA/5.78 FIP/2.65 xFIP
My god. Playing in a huge hitter’s park over a one-month sample sure produces some wacky results. Granillo is striking out 40% of hitters! 40%. And has a 7.80 ERA. He has allowed 14 total hits in his 15 innings, but five of them have been homers.
Tink Hence - VEB’s #3 prospect
Tink Hence pitched a simulated game today, looked good and was throwing hard. Per @peoriachiefs telecast. @KareemSSN— Herk (@RIPPEY720) May 7, 2023
He has not allowed a run in Peoria in 7.2 IP, although he has been nowhere near as dominant from a K/BB perspective. But also 7.2 IP. Hopefully he’s back soon.
Cooper Hjerpe - VEB’s #7 prospect
Stats: 5 GS, 21.2 IP, 30.6 K%, 15.3 BB%, 34.7 GB%, .222 BABIP, 4.98 ERA/6.67 FIP/4.29 xFIP
Probably not the start people envisioned when they made him the 7th prospect of this system. At the very least, people were getting way ahead of themselves in assuming he could be in Springfield quickly. He has struggled with control and has allowed six homers already.
Jimmy Crooks III - VEB’s #16 prospect
Stats: 20 G, 87 PAs, .224/.395/.284, 21.8 BB%, 23 K%, .060 ISO, .319 BABIP, 113 wRC+
Again, one month of games is producing some weird ass results. Crooks has walked a ton and not struck out much but has had nearly zero power thus far, but despite that he has an above average hitting line.
Inohan Paniagua - VEB’s #19 prospect
Hasn’t pitched due to injury
Victor Scott - 2022 5th rounder
Stats: 24 G, 111 PAs, .289/.351/.464, 6.3 BB%, 17.1 K%, .175 ISO, .329 BABIP, 21 SBs/1 CS, 130 wRC+
I feel again pretty good about my divergence from the group on this one. I had Scott as my 17th best prospect in the system and aside from not walking as much, only good news about Scott. And yes, that is 21 stolen bases to 1 caught stealing in 24 games. Maybe we can have a newfound appreciation for his defense having witnessed some bad outfield defense to start the year.
Stats: 22 G, 95 PAs, .215/.305/.278, 12.6 BB%, 27.4 K%, .063 ISO, .298 BABIP, 73 wRC+
This may look bad, but he’s a 20-year-old in High A who essentially had the same stats at the level below. The Cardinals evidently really, really believed in his defense. He’s a shortstop.
Austin Love - Currently injured after two starts
Stats: 5 GS, 22.2 IP, 25.3 K%, 5.3 BB%, 33.3 GB%, 3.57 ERA/3.88 FIP/3.42 xFIP
All of that seems great, though the only issue is that Baker isn’t young. He’s 24. Not his fault, he was 22 when drafted. Hopefully, his numbers can improve a bit more and he get a Springfield promotion.
Stats: 7 G, 16 IP, 43.1 K%, 9.7 BB%, 19.4 GB%, .467 BABIP, 1.13 ERA/2.30 FIP/2.69 xFIP
These numbers are outdated, because Bedell actually started a game yesterday. He threw 4 scoreless innings with one hit allowed and one walk. And he’s slacking apparently, because he only struck out 4. Another top 20 pick by me (#16) that I’m feeling just great about.
Joshua Baez - VEB’s #11 prospect
Stats: 15 G, 61 PAs, .220/.311/.420, 11.5 BB%, 36.1 K%, .200 ISO, .333 BABIP, 98 wRC+
Would love to see that strikeout rate go down. I’m having trouble believing in him until it does to be honest. He’s not especially young at this point for the level he’s at either (20).
Leonardo Bernal - VEB’s #12 prospect
Stats: 18 G, 77 PAs, .343/.416/.493, 11.7 BB%, 13 K%, .149 ISO, .375 BABIP, 153 wRC+
Ummm, can we put this guy in Peoria already? He seems to be too good for this level.
Won-Bin Cho - VEB’s #15 prospect
Stats: 20 G, 78 PAs, .164/.282/.328, 12.8 BB%, 20.5 K%, .164 ISO, .184 BABIP, 75 wRC+
Well this is where the term small sample size was meant to be used. Cho has a good walk rate, good strikeout rate, decent power.... and a horrible BABIP. Over a 78 PA sample, it’s literally impossible to say whether this is deserved or not. (Minor league BABIP is more indicative of true talent than in the bigs) So we’ll just have to wait and see.
Brycen Mautz - VEB’s #17 prospect
Stats: 6 GS, 25.1 IP, 24.6 K%, 11.4 BB%, 50 GB%, .290 BABIP, 4.26 ERA/4.09 FIP/4.51 xFIP
After a really strong start, Mautz has had a rough go of it. In his first three starts, he had 19 strikeouts to 3 walks. In his last three starts, he has 9 strikeouts to 10 walks. Hopefully, he can get back into form, but I would say neither of the top two 2022 picks are pitching as well as you’d hope, but no reason for concern yet.
Pete Hansen - 2022 3rd round
Stats: 5 GS, 23.1 IP, 30 K%, 11 BB%, 37.9 GB%, .339 BABIP, 4.63 ERA/3.98 FIP/3.89 xFIP
Only comment is that it’s weird that the top three picks, all college pitchers, seem to be struggling with control. Would have guessed high college picks would be the opposite.
Max Rajcic - 2022 6th rounder
Stats: 5 GS, 25.2 IP, 26.5 K%, 2 BB%, 44.6 GB%, .227 BABIP, 2.10 ERA/3.35 FIP/3.25 xFIP
SEE? This is what I expect out of college pitchers. And holy hell coming out of nowhere is this dude with the best debut of the 2022 college pitchers.
Stats: 7 G, 10.1 IP, 38.9 K%, 8.3 BB%, 47.1 GB%, 0.87 ERA/2.34 FIP/3.10 xFIP
Nunez is 21-years-old. He had 11 walks to 7 strikeouts with 9 earned runs in 6.2 IP last year. That is quite the turnaround. Something clicked. I don’t know if he’s for real, but he clearly improved. I mean you can’t luck your way into this kind of statistical improvement.
Stats: 16 G, 65 PAs, .217/.250/.333, 4.6 BB%, 47.7 K%, .117 ISO, .433 BABIP, 60 wRC+
Not traditionally a good sign to have a .433 BABIP with a 60 wRC+. This 58th overall pick in the 2019 draft might not work out.
Stats: 25 G, 106 PAs, .330/.387/.596, 6.6 BB%, 13.2 K%, .266 ISO, .346 BABIP, 164 wRC+
Defintely props to Yeager for making the most of his opportunity, but he’s 24 in Low A. I’m only sharing his stats because of how good they are.
Yet to Debut
#13 VEB prospect Jonathan Mejia (though I expect him to debut in Palm Beach before the rookie leagues begin), #20 VEB prospect Alec Willis (also will probably debut in Palm Beach; he’s on an innings limit), and #21 VEB prospect Reiner Lopez, who will debut in the DSL at 17.
That’s not everyone - far from it, but it’s just about everyone who may make the major leagues someday. Was going to make this a two-parter, but the random non-prospects in AA and AAA are actually interesting and it’s just too many names to list the same for High A and Low A.