With the 21st selection of the 2023 MLB Draft, the Cardinals selected outfielder Chase Davis. Davis looks like a very good pick, but who knows how these things turn out. If you want to read some scouting of Davis, I compiled a few opinions here.
But if you’ve been following the Cards and their draft selections, more than the first round matters. In fact, the Cards have gotten very good value out of the 2nd day picks, rounds 3-10. In 2016, they drafted Zac Gallen in the 4th round, Tommy Edman in the 6th, and Andrew Knizner in the 7th. In 2018, they drafted Brendan Donovan and Lars Nootbaar in Rounds 7 and 8. In 2019, they drafted Andre Pallante and Connor Thomas in Rounds 4 and 5. Ian Bedell was a 4th rounder in 2020 and Gordon Graceffo a 5th rounder in 2021.
You get the point. Historically speaking, someone selected today is going to become a factor of some sort of the Cards. And as you can see, pretty wide variety of results. You’ve got an ace, a 4-5 win middle infielder, a backup catcher, a utility man who looks like a 3 WAR player, a 2-3 WAR or better outfielder, a middle reliever, a backend starter, and a couple of promising prospects. That about covers the gamut in fact.
So let’s look at those players drafted in today’s draft:
Travis Honeyman, OF - 21-years-old
Keith Law on Honeyman, who had him 46th in his rankings:
‘Honeyman’s an aggressive, high-contact hitter who put the ball in play in 77 percent of his plate appearances this year for the Eagles, and is very good at spoiling two-strike pitches to keep himself alive and avoid the strikeout. He’s a much better fastball hitter than offspeed, and hasn’t had trouble with velocity so far, with a scissor-kick swing that helps him make a lot of hard contact. He’s an average runner who mostly plays right, and will at least have to work to show he can handle center. Honeyman is 6-foot-2 and has some projection left, which makes me think he might be a pick for a team that thinks they can tweak his swing and get some more strength on him to tap into 20-homer power like the Dodgers did with Will Smith.
Quinn Matthews, LHP - 22-years-old
From the MLB writeup on Matthews:
“The 6-foot-5 left-hander brings four pitches and plenty of funk and deception to the mound. He can dial his fastball up to 94 mph, and it averages just over 91 mph, but his best pitch is his low 80s changeup, which features a ton of fade to both miss bats and get ground-ball outs. He throws his tight slider around the same velocity, and he also has a slower low-70s curve with three-quarter shape to it.”
Mathews has a deep four-pitch mix he commands well to keep hitters guessing. His fastball sits 90-94 mph out of a low slot and plays up with his ability to command it in the bottom quadrants of the strike zone. His best secondary pitch is a plus, 80s changeup that he sells with his arm speed and disappears below the zone for swings and misses. He can both locate and bury his sweeping, low-80s slider for strikes against hitters on both sides of the plate, and he also has a below-average but usable mid-70s curveball he’ll mix in to keep batters guessing. Mathews holds his stuff and control deep into games and has an advanced feel for mixing his pitches. He projects to be a back-of-the-rotation starter and will be one of the first college lefthanders selected.
Zach Levenson, OF - 21-years-old
After hitting well in the wood-bat Northwoods League, he’s once again displayed some right-handed thump as a regular in the Hurricanes’ lineup this spring. Most of Levenson’s value comes in his bat and power potential. He’s slugged well over .500 in his Miami career and reached double-digit homers this spring. The over-the-fence pop has come to his pull side, and while he doesn’t strike out a ton, especially for someone with that kind of power, it’s a bit of a grooved swing. He has punished fastballs but struggled more with breaking stuff. Levenson gets high marks for how hard he plays the game and how he competes, but he’s just an adequate defender who has a fringy arm.
Jason Savacool, RHP - 21-years-old
In the rotation for three years, he’s built a reputation as a dependable workhorse. A strong right-hander, Savacool doesn’t light up the radar gun, but he does have a usable four-pitch mix. He typically tops out at 93 mph with his fastball, sitting around 91 and throwing it with good sink to get a ton of ground-ball outs, though he can elevate with a four-seamer occasionally. His low-80s angular slider has more depth and tilt than sweep and it can miss some bats, while his changeup has good sink that generates weak contact and swings-and-misses. He can mix in a slower get-me-over curve as well. Savacool hasn’t been quite as sharp this spring as he was a year ago, when he earned first team all-Big Ten honors, but he has a good track record of throwing a lot of strikes.
Charles Harrison, RHP - 22-years-old
Harrison pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in his four-year career at UCLA and had his best season this spring, posting a 1.38 ERA with 37 strikeouts and eight walks in 26 innings. Despite his bullpen-only history, Harrison has shown enough traits for teams to think he can start. His fastball sits 92-93 mph and touches 95-96 with crisp command in the strike zone. His wipeout, mid-80s slider is plus pitch with late sharpness that generates foolish swings from righthanded hitters. He also has a potentially average changeup with heavy run and a fringy curveball he can flip in for a strike. Harrison commands his entire arsenal and gets through innings quickly. He has a good delivery and arm action, leading to the belief he can start with his four-pitch mix and above-average control. Harrison still has to prove he can hold his stuff over longer outings. He projects to be a solid, low to mid-leverage reliever even if starting doesn’t work out.
Ixan Henderson, LHP - 21-years-old
The 21-year-old has an intriguing arsenal by itself but there’s still some projection in Henderson’s body as he has a lean 180 pounds on his 6’2” frame. Adding some strength and gaining a few more ticks of velocity would help an already deceptive fastball play up even more and would help tighten up a good sweepy slider.
On top of that, Henderson is athletic on the mound and has a good strike-throwing ability which really rounds out his profile. There’s some projection and development needed here but there’s some real talent too and Henderson has a chance to end up being one of the better pitchers in this Cardinals draft class.
I really like 8th rounder Ixan Henderson. Athletic, low arm slot lefty with deception and a sneaky fastball paired with a good sweepy slider.— Blake Newberry (@bt_newberry) July 10, 2023
Still needs some changeup development but I'm a big fan of him at this spot.
Christian Worley, RHP - 21-years-old
Christian Worley is a pitcher who belongs higher in the draft based purely on arm talent but likely fell because he missed most of the 2023 season with an arm injury. In fact, Worley hasn’t pitched very much throughout his college career, throwing just 26 ⅔ innings through his first two seasons prior to tossing just 10 innings before his injury this year.
In terms of pure stuff and arm talent, I think Worley is better than any other pitcher drafted by the Cardinals so far. He’ll need to get healthy and add some refinement but there’s a whole lot to work with here.
Christian Worley might end up the Cardinals most valuable player from this draft. Big believer in the athlete there. Bummer he got hurt. Had him a second rounder in February.— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) July 10, 2023
Caden Kendle, OF - 21-years-old
Defensively, Kendle has played all three outfield positions, including playing center field exclusively in Alaska. He does have decent speed, so there’s a chance he’ll get a trial run up the middle and could stick there but his arm is good enough to handle either of the corner spots too after he threw out 6 runners from the outfield grass this year.
Kendle has a bit of an all around profile but doesn’t seem to have any real standout tool.Shout to TeddyRugby for providing the vast majority of the scouting reports I posted here in the comments of the previous article. Otherwise, you’d just be reading names and a “I guess he’s good.” And of course Blake. His thoughts on all the draft picks are at The Cardinal Nation.