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Vote on the 10th best prospect

Chase Davis won the vote last time, and Michael McGreevy was the only other player with significant votes.

Memphis Redbirds v Lehigh Valley IronPigs Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

I know what you’re thinking. That is not a picture of Chase Davis. You are correct. That is a picture of Michael McGreevy. As it turns out, when you search Chase Davis images using the system SB Nation gives you, you get a lot of pictures of Chase Field. And he just had to go to the one school that is in the same state as Chase Field. So, despite the fact that McGreevy gets the lead photo, Chase Davis is actually your #8 prospect.

However, the McGreevy photo selection is not random. He is your #9 prospect. Davis won by a decent margin, but there was a greater distance between McGreevy and the 3rd place vote getter than McGreevy and Davis. Two times larger in fact.

On top of that five players received between 4% and 7% of the vote, which suggests it would be pretty hard for one guy to suddenly get a lot of votes over McGreevy. Anything’s possible I suppose, but you would have to imagine McGreevy’s floor is the 29% he got last time, so in order to get more votes than McGreevy, someone would have to take away more than half of Chase Davis’ votes at minimum and there just isn’t a lot to suggest one player would separate themselves from the pack in that way.

But now it’s an open field. Truly anybody’s game. As for who to select, it’s getting harder than ever. I get to add two players though, and I’m going to make it easy on myself to get back into the swing of this. There are two players left who made last year’s top 20 who I feel will probably be a top 20 prospect. 2022 draftee Brycen Mautz and teenager Jonathan Mejia.

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 brings about a highly questionable hit tool with immense power potential. He has only one drawback, but its the drawback that has prevented many players from carving out MLB careers, and that drawback is strikeouts. He just doesn’t make contact enough. Good news: he’s the same age as someone who would be drafted in the 2024 draft. But that also means age is no longer a good excuse for struggles.

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

The tough thing about judging Bedell is that typically, you can maybe infer how high the Cardinals are on a prospect, and if they are high on that player, then we should probably adjust accordingly in the rankings. Except with Bedell, it’s impossible to tell. He was kept in High A all year, which would be a warning sign, except he was pitching healthy for the first time in a few years and also keeping him in High A may have been a ploy so nobody would select him for the 40 man.

He also wasn’t invited to spring training, but there’s a innings workload excuse there. Pitching in spring training games, especially as a pitcher trying to prove himself, is probably about as hard on the arm as pitching in a real game. Limiting those innings to actually game situations that matter is perhaps wise.

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

It’s funny that Bedell and Bernal are back-to-back, because I could probably say something similar about Bernal not getting promoted. It’s also sort of innings - innings behind the plate. He had never played a full season and nearly doubled his plate appearances from his professional career high. As he’s navigating what it’s like to have the demands of a full season as a catcher, having him also have to face more difficult pitchers at the same time may have been something the Cardinals wanted to avoid.

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 has a curiously low hit tool by Fangraphs, which is only interesting to me because statistically, that would not seem to be his ceiling. The scouting for his power being vastly better than what he’s actually showed is also interesting. It was in Palm Beach, notoriously difficult pitcher’s park.

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.

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.

Brycen Mautz (SP) - 22-years-old

Stats (Low A): 23 GS, 104 IP, 25.2 K%, 9.9 BB%, 49.5 GB%, 3.98 ERA/3.65 FIP/4.08 xFIP

Scouting: 30/35 Fastball, 60/60 Slider, 30/45 Change, 35/60 Command

Mautz struck out 18 batters in his first three starts and then started to work to improve his weaker pitches, and one way to improve those is to throw it more in game situations. Basically repetition. One consequence is that it’s going to lead to some rough starts and he allowed 4 runs each in his next three starts. Eventually he settled in to what are some pretty good stats for the season.

Jonathan Mejia (SS) - 19-years-old

Stats (Rookie): 131 PAs, .173/.331/.288, 18.3 BB%, 28.2 K%, .115 ISO, .242 BABIP, 75 wRC+

Low A: 33 PAs, .107/.242/.143, 12.1 BB%, 30.3 K%, .036 ISO, .167 BABIP, 22 wRC+

Scouting: 25/60 Hit, 20/45 Game, 30/45 Raw Power, 55/55 Speed, 40/55 Fielding

Mejia had what amounts to a lost year. He had an incredible season in the DSL, and the Cardinals probably wanted him to play a little earlier than the rookie level league starts and also just to get a taste of how ready he was for Low A. As it turns out, he wasn’t ready. That’s not a surprise for an 18-year-old. What was more surprising were his struggles in rookie ball. Good news? The eye he showed in the DSL seems legit.

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

On the flip side to Bedell, Rajcic was actually invited to spring training, and he’s only seen a few innings in the playoffs in AA, so he’s not meaningfully farther along than Bedell. Rajcic was also Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the organization. For someone who was a non-prospect before he ever threw a pitch, that’s a pretty meteoric rise.

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

If you’re a big ageist when it comes to prospect, Robberse is your guy. I’m determining ageist in this context by the way as a person where the age of the prospect at the level they’re at goes a long way. It’s why Dylan Carlson was a prospect despite being average statistically until he exploded in AA. Well, Robberse reasonably held his own in AAA at 21-years-old. For a limited sample, but he’s very young and already in AAA.

Poll

Who is the Cardinals #10 prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Joshua Baez
    (10 votes)
  • 7%
    Ian Bedell
    (45 votes)
  • 13%
    Leonardo Bernal
    (82 votes)
  • 21%
    Won-Bin Cho
    (129 votes)
  • 2%
    Jimmy Crooks III
    (15 votes)
  • 6%
    Adam Kloffenstein
    (42 votes)
  • 1%
    Brycen Mautz
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Jonathan Mejia
    (3 votes)
  • 15%
    Max Rajcic
    (94 votes)
  • 29%
    Sem Robberse
    (183 votes)
612 votes total Vote Now