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Cooper Hjerpe is once again your #7 prospect. Vote here for the next prospect

In a race between three first-rounders, the 2022 one beat the pack.

Surprise Saguaros v. Scottsdale Scorpions Photo by Chris Coduto/MLB Photos via Getty Images

I probably should have seen it coming. I mentioned in last post that while Gordon Graceffo won pretty easily, there were four other players who received at least 12% of the vote. That difference of opinion carried over to the vote for the #7 prospect. It focused on three players, all of whom received at least 20% of the vote. In fact, for a good while, the vote was essentially tied between Cooper Hjerpe and Chase Davis. I hadn’t checked the vote in at least a day and thankfully for my sake, Hjerpe did put a little separation between the two, ultimately winning by 16 votes.

It was debated last round in the comments, but there are essentially no wrong answers at this point. There is a huge mix of prospects who are in the same tier, and hard to distinguish between each other, which is sure reflected in the voting. That leaves the list at:

  1. Masyn Winn
  2. Tink Hence
  3. Victor Scott II
  4. Tekoah Roby
  5. Thomas Saggese
  6. Gordon Graceffo
  7. Cooper Hjerpe

So, we’re at the point where I’m only adding one player to the voting. And I’m going to select players slightly differently. Including the seven players selected as the top 7, there will be 18 prospects debated at this point. My goal in picking players is not to pick who I imagine the 18th best prospect will be. Or least not necessarily. If I don’t think there’s even a small chance they will get significant votes right now or in a few votes from now, they aren’t going on the list yet. And maybe there’s nobody I could pick who would. But the player I feel has the best shot is Jimmy Crooks III. So he’s going on the list.

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+

Scouting: 20/40 Hit, 20/60 Game Power, 60/70 Raw Power, 50/40 Speed, 40/50 Fielding

Baez is actually a perfect example of the perils of adding the “18th best prospect in the system” I mentioned above. Baez was voted as the 11th best prospect last season and he was the 12th prospect I added to the vote. But his 2023 didn’t raise his stock. So there was just about no chance he was going to be a top 10 prospect. And three votes later, he’s still getting just 1% of the vote. He would almost certainly be on the vote by this point though.

Ian Bedell (SP) - 24-years-old

LR: Unranked (I had him 16th)

Stats (High A): 27 G (19 GS), 96 IP, 27.2 K%, 8.7 BB%, 39.3 GB%, 2.44 ERA/3.50 FIP/3.72 xFIP

Scouting: 40/40 FB, 55/60 CB, 40/50 CH, 35/60 Command

Not to keep carrying about my selection process, but well I’ve covered a few of these names too many times to add anything new to the profile section. Bedell, though it hasn’t led to being a serious candidate, was somebody most of this site wanted to protect from the Rule 5 so I thought there’s a chance the readers are really, really high on him. Ironically, him not getting selected may have hurt his standing on this list.

Leonardo Bernal (C) - 20-years-old

LR: #11

Stats (Low A): 323 PAs, .265/.381/.362, 15.2 BB%, 17 K%, .097 ISO, .319 BABIP, 111 wRC+

Scouting: 20/50 Hit, 20/40 Game Power, 40/45 Raw Power, 40/40 Speed, 35/55 Fielding

Bernal, on the other hand, was one of the easiest selections I’ve had to make so far, with a ranking to look to from last year, and a season that probably didn’t meaningfully change how people might feel about him. So I had a pretty good idea of where he might land on this ranking. Which is actually why he was added relatively late in the game. (At least one comment thought he should have been added earlier than he was)

Won-Bin Cho (OF) - 20-years-old

LR: #15

Stats (Low A): 452 PAs, .270/.376/.389, 14.2 BB%, 21.7 K%, .119 ISO, .341 BABIP, 114 wRC+

Scouting: 30/40 Hit, 35/55 Game Power 50/60 Raw Power, 50/50 Speed, 30/50 Fielding

Cho is an interesting prospect, because I do honestly kind of feel like a lot of the hype about him was because he has a pretty great social media presence. He is good at marketing himself. But I cannot stress enough, for me at least, how different it is for an 18-year-old to play reasonably well in rookie league ball and a 19-year-old to play reasonably well in Low A. He still has concerns, but I can’t hate on that plate approach.

Jimmy Crooks III (C) - 22-years-old

LR: #16

Stats (High A): 477 PAs, .271/.358/.433, 10.9 BB%, 21.2 K%, .162 ISO, .329 BABIP, 122 wRC+

AFL: 49 PAs, .186/.265/.233, 6.1 BB%, 20.4 K%, .047 ISO, .242 BABIP

I don’t have an OPS+ or wRC+ for those AFL numbers, but you probably don’t need it to know that’s not very good. Crooks was clearly overmatched in the AFL, and to be fair, I believe the AFL is typically considered between AA and AAA. And he hasn’t even played at AA yet. One positive, if you want to look at this way, is he really didn’t strike out much. The AFL numbers however shouldn’t overshadow what he did in High A at 21-years-old as a catcher.

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+

Scouting: 30/50 Hit, 35/55 Game Power, 55/60 Raw Power, 50/50 Speed, 30/50 Fielding

In the battle of first round picks, Davis narrowly lost this past vote and I believe while he had the same percentage as Hjerpe, he was leading by a couple votes for most of Monday. Nothing has helped Davis more than me including scouting, which suggests Davis’ potential has no real weaknesses.

Adam Kloffenstein (SP) - 23-years-old

Stats (AA): 17 GS, 89 IP, 27.6 K%, 8.9 BB%, 51.3 GB%, 3.24 ERA/3.47 FIP/3.37 xFIP

AAA: 9 (8 GS), 39 IP, 21.2 K%, 12.7 BB%, 45.2 GB%, 3.00 ERA/5.78 FIP/5.60 xFIP

Scouting: 45/45 FB, 60/60 SL, 45/50 CH, 45/50 Command

As you can see, Kloffenstein had seem to figure out AA, so the Cardinals chose to promote him. He did not pitch particularly well, though given the run environment, not as bad as it looks. I see it as the Cardinals wanting him to get a head start on the difficulties of AAA. He had already made 35 AA starts, and his numbers were very good in the current season. Hopefully, he hasn’t hit a wall in AAA and instead manages to make the adjustment.

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

Scouting: 40/45 FB, 55/60 SL, 45/50 CB, 40/55 CH, 55/60 Command

It’s interesting to me how important fastball seems to be. Because at least from a potential point of view, that seems to be his only weakness. He’s a 1st round pick who had above average numbers in AAA at 22-years-old with relatively promising scouting numbers.... except his fastball isn’t great. It’s fascinating.

Max Rajcic (SP) - 22-years-old

LYR: Unranked

Stats (Low A): 12 GS, 62 IP, 28.6 K%, 3.8 BB%, 36.2 GB%, 1.89 ERA/3.08 FIP/3.50 xFIP

High A: 11 GS, 61.1 IP, 21.9 K%, 7.2 BB%, 36.4 GB%, 3.08 ERA/3.21 FIP/4.02 xFIP

Scouting (via TCN): 45/50 FB, 40/45 SL, 55/60 CB, 50/55, CH, 50/60 Command

Sometimes, the Cardinals can tip their hand about a prospect and they may very well have done so by inviting Max Rajcic to spring training. It may mean nothing. Ian Bedell wasn’t invited though that very well may be an innings management thing as spring training innings are still game-time innings on the arm. (IMO, especially for a dude looking to impress) Rajcic was invited. Make of it what you will.

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

Scouting: 40/45 FB, 50/55 CB, 55/60 CH, 40/45 Cutter, 35/60 Command

Robberse had less of an argument for promotion to AAA though he ended up pitching better. He was merely fine instead of good in AA, but because a few extra homers, that’s kind of how he pitched in AAA too. Though the shape of that was much different. He pitched terribly for his first four games, and pretty great for his last four. Hopefully, the last four indicate he’s going to have a breakout season.

Hypothetically, this is a two-man race, though that doesn’t mean it will be. Removing one element of a three-man race sometimes leads to a breakaway winner or sometimes another third guy emerges. We shall see.

Poll

Who is the Cardinals #8 prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Joshua Baez
    (7 votes)
  • 3%
    Ian Bedell
    (26 votes)
  • 4%
    Leonardo Bernal
    (31 votes)
  • 6%
    Won-Bin Cho
    (44 votes)
  • 0%
    Jimmy Crooks III
    (5 votes)
  • 40%
    Chase Davis
    (266 votes)
  • 2%
    Adam Kloffenstein
    (18 votes)
  • 29%
    Michael McGreevy
    (195 votes)
  • 4%
    Max Rajcic
    (33 votes)
  • 6%
    Sem Robberse
    (40 votes)
665 votes total Vote Now