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Tekoah Roby is your #4 prospect. Vote on the next prospect

Another voting round continues

American League Fall Stars v. National League Fall Stars Photo by Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Maybe a little later in the vote than expected, but Tekoah Roby was selected as the Cardinals #4 prospect. The right-hander was likely hurt by the fact that he is a new Cardinal and people have not quite gotten themselves attached to him in the way they have for Tink Hence or Victor Scott II. It’s incredibly satisfying to follow a prospect who plays their way onto top prospects list and you grow an attachment. Two months is not going to compete with that. That leaves the rankings at:

  1. Masyn Winn
  2. Tink Hence
  3. Victor Scott II
  4. Tekoah Roby

As I was deciding who to add, I realized I had something of a conundrum. We have a few players in last year’s top 20 who.... did not have a great 2023. And I’m not entirely sure where they stand. So I ask you guys to help me out and share your feelings on these players. And the first way to do that is vote if you think this player is a top 20 prospect.

Poll

Is this player a top 20 Cards prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Moises Gomez (Yes)
    (100 votes)
  • 11%
    Connor Thomas (Yes)
    (88 votes)
  • 63%
    No to both
    (470 votes)
  • 10%
    Yes to both
    (79 votes)
737 votes total Vote Now

Basically, Moises Gomez is the highest player on last year’s list still available, and that’s how I’ve chosen at least one of my two picks every time. And well, that may be premature. Hence the vote. As for who I’m actually adding, it’s Chase Davis for sure. He should have been on the last vote. So I’m skipping over Gomez and adding Joshua Baez, the 11th ranked prospect last year.

Joshua Baez (OF) - 21-years-old

Last year’s ranking: #11

Stats (Low A): 358 PAs, .218/.341/.383, 12.6 BB%, 34.1 K%, .164 ISO, .337 BABIP, 101 wRC+

I had assumed that with a top 20 prospect list to work off last year, that this year would be easier. But a good portion of the 10-20 prospects didn’t have especially good years. So I was trying to pick players and I realized nobody, as voted on by the readers, necessarily rose their prospect profile. Maybe kept it static.

Baez has a strikeout problem. He also is still young. He has enormous power potential that hasn’t been realized yet. On the plus side, he walks a lot. He may get to a point where he has to walk less to strike out less, but that’s a lateral move quite frankly. But he’s still young enough to change things.

Ian Bedell (SP) - 24-years-old

LR: Unranked (I had him 16th)

Stats (High A): 27 G (19 GS), 27.2 K%, 8.7 BB%, 39.3 GB%, 2.44 ERA/3.50 FIP/3.72 xFIP

It would have been nice to see him in AA at least a little bit but whether it was the Cardinals trying to not get him picked in the Rule 5 draft or being laser-focused on keeping him healthy without disrupting his schedule, there were extenuating circumstances probably unrelated to performance.

Now that he’s completed a healthy season, I have to think that the Cardinals will be more aggressive with him in 2024. I don’t mean skip AA, but I do mean that if he dominates in the first half like he did last year, he won’t stay in AA all year. He’s not young for his level, though it’s not his fault.

Chase Davis (OF) - 22-years-old

LYR: Not in organization

Stats (Low A): 131 PAs, .212/.366/.269, 19.1 BB%, 26 K%, .058 ISO, .310 BABIP, 91 wRC+

This is a difficult profile for me to write because I primarily focus on stats. I’m a stats-driven prospect guy. Well, you need to throw out the stats for Davis. Whatever you felt about him when the Cardinals drafted him, that’s how you should feel now. That is a 34 game-sample coming off the heels of a college season.

I know a lot of you are like me though, being stats-driven, and will probably not ignore his performance in Low A. (I will though)

Gordon Graceffo (SP) - 24-years-old

LYR: #4

Stats (AAA): 21 G, (18 GS), 86 IP, 20.9 K%, 11.6 BB%, 41.8 GB%, 4.92 ERA/4.69 FIP/5.21 xFIP

I’m not sure Graceffo should be considered a top 100 prospect, but the swiftness with which people kind of soured on him is kind of incredible. Almost as swift as his rise to being a top 100 prospect. He was drafted in the 5th round and his dominance in Low A as mostly a reliever went unnoticed. He then just utterly destroyed High A pitching for 8 starts and that was pretty much all he needed to do to become a top 100 prospect. Yes, I know it’s not statistically-driven.

He held his own in AA, but as I said in the last post, I was surprised how bleh his AA numbers were. It was understandable, but the Cardinals would have been justified to have him repeat AA. But they promoted him to AAA and he essentially had a lost year to injury. And now, most people have disregarded him. Graceffo is pretty young still: he’s the same age as Bedell.

Cooper Hjerpe (SP) - 23-years-old

LYR: #7

Stats (High A): 10 G (8 GS), 41 IP, 29.8 K%, 14.6 BB%, 43.2 GB%, 3.51 ERA/5.68 FIP/4.16 xFIP

AFL: 7 G, 8.1 IP, 40.5 K%, 16.2 BB%, 4.32 ERA

We will see ultimately how you guys vote on Hjerpe this year, but he was a victim of outsized expectations. It was not an unpopular opinion to think Hjerpe would skip all the way to AA and pitch well in AA. Not to sabotage any of last year’s draft picks, but it’s kind of important that we actually see players play.

But at the same time, Hjerpe did barely play in High A and he actually pitched fine. He just had both an adjustment problem, which is normal, and a home run problem. Most of his issues stem from his first few starts. In his last four starts, he struck out 29% of batters and walked just 10% for a 1.54 ERA. I feel like he has to repeat High A, but he’ll probably get promoted very quickly if he pitches well.

Michael McGreevy (SP) - 23-years-old

LYR: #9

Stats (AA): 3 GS, 18.2 IP, 22.5 K%, 1.4 BB%, 67.3 GB%, 1.45 ERA/2.30 FIP/3.22 xFIP

AAA: 24 GS, 134.1 IP, 18 K%, 6.2 BB%, 52.4 GB%, 4.49 ERA/4.52 FIP/4.37 xFIP

McGreevy had extremely similar 2022 and 2023 seasons. In 2022, he started the season in High A, struck out an above average about of hitters and walked nobody, leading to a quick promotion where his elite control turned into good control, which when combined with his below average K rate, led to unimpressive, albeit average-ish numbers. In 2023, he started the season in AA, struck out an above average number of hitters and walked nobody, leading to a quick promotion to AAA where his elite control turned into good control, which when combined with his below average K rate led to unimpressive, slightly below average numbers.

By virtue of opportunity, there’s not a very good chance he repeats this formula again or something has gone very wrong if McGreevy is starting games after just 3-8 starts. But the basic principle could certainly happen: he walks nobody and strikes out just enough to dominate AAA and then he approaches average in the majors where he can’t quite manage to walk nobody. I will again denote how young McGreevy is, even younger than Graceffo.

Sem Robberse (SP) - 22-years-old

LYR: Not in organization

Stats (AA): 18 GS, 88.2 IP, 23.1 K%, 8.9 BB%, 42.7 GB%, 4.06 ERA/4.61 FIP/4.12 xFIP

AAA: 8 G (7 GS), 26.2 K%, 14.3 BB%, 38.9 GB%, 4.84 ERA/5.58 FIP/4.84 xFIP

Robberse is another player on this list where his age cannot go unremarked upon. Robberse was signed out of the Netherlands at the age of 17 back in 2019, which is how he was already Rule 5 eligible, requiring the Cardinals to add him to the 40 man. Promotions are not made in a vacuum: much like Bedell maybe not getting promoted to AA to prevent him being selected in Rule 5, Robberse was probably promoted to AAA because he needed to be added the 40 man roster.

It was a mixed bag, but he did finish strong like Hjerpe. He struck out 34.5% of batters, though he did walk 12.6%, but this combination was enough to be highly effective. It’s not likely a sustainable set of numbers for Robberse at the MLB level, but he was a 21-year-old thrown into AAA for the first time. Now that he’s got his feet wet, he’s in a good position to explode as a prospect.

Tekoah Roby (SP) - 22-years-old

LYR: Not in organization

Stats (AA): 14 GS, 58.1 IP, 28.9 K%, 6.3 BB%, 38.8 GB%, 4.63 ERA/3.54 FIP/3.59 xFIP

AFL: 5 GS, 13.2 IP, 28.1 K%, 9.4 BB%, 5.93 ERA

I’m not necessarily confused that Victor Scott was selected ahead of Roby, that’s not my specific confusion. My confusion, deriving from a personal opinion, is how you guys have such drastically different opinions on Hence and Roby. I see them as essentially equal. But Hence ran away with his vote and Roby couldn’t beat Scott. And I just don’t see Hence and Roby as that different.

Roby spent most of 2023 injured, which may provide my answer, though he did also come back and make four starts. Four starts where he struck out 42.3% of batters while walking just 6.8%. He was dominant enough that I would be kind of surprised if he’s not in AAA to begin the season, even though it wasn’t that many starts. They’ve certainly promoted pitching prospects on less, as you can sort of see with some players on this list already.

Thomas Saggese (IF) - 22-years-old

LYR: Not in organization

Stats (AA): 567 PAs, .318/.385/.551, 8.6 BB%, 22.9 K%, .233 ISO, .379 BABIP, 142 wRC+

AAA: 63 PAs, .207/.270/.345, 4.8 BB%, 22.2 K%, .138 ISO, .256 BABIP, 51 wRC+

It’s crazy to me how every prospect the Cardinals got back from the trading deadline was both relatively close to MLB ready and also super young. Feels like you normally have to pick one or the other. Saggese very much fits into this boat, being just 22-years-old for the 2024 season and with 13 AAA games experience under his belt.

It feels like, based on the comments, Saggese will be hurt by the fact that it’s hard to see a role for him in the Cardinals, but I cannot stress enough that when it comes to ranking prospects, this should have no impact on your vote. This happened last year and I don’t really understand voting on prospects this way. You should basically ignore the existence of the MLB team in my opinion and pretend they have a clear starting path no matter what. And then ask yourself, how did they perform with this shot?

Poll

Who is the Cardinals #5 prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Joshua Baez
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Ian Bedell
    (14 votes)
  • 7%
    Chase Davis
    (63 votes)
  • 9%
    Gordon Graceffo
    (81 votes)
  • 6%
    Cooper Hjerpe
    (53 votes)
  • 4%
    Michael McGreevy
    (40 votes)
  • 3%
    Sem Robberse
    (29 votes)
  • 66%
    Thomas Saggese
    (566 votes)
850 votes total Vote Now