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Thomas Saggese is your #5 prospect. Vote on the next prospect here

To nobody’s surprise, the former Texas Ranger won the vote.

Wichita Wind Surge v Frisco RoughRiders Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images

In what is perhaps the least shocking result of this short feature, Thomas Saggese won in a landslide to become VEB’s #5 prospect in the Cardinals’ system. He wasn’t exactly neck and neck with Tekoah Roby, but he was the only other prospect to receive significant votes. I mentioned in my Roby post that fans sometimes don’t form a connection with newly acquired prospects, but this may be the rare exception since Saggese exploded with Springfield. We actually got to witness him, as a Cardinal, raise his prospect profile. That makes the top 5 so far:

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

Also in last post, I had you guys vote on what you thought about two players who made the top 20 last year and the results were pretty conclusive: I don’t need to worry about adding them to the vote anytime soon. Moises Gomez and Connor Thomas, the 10th and 14th prospects last year respectively, had about 3/4th of the voters not thinking they were a top 20 prospect. I’m not saying they won’t get added to the vote at all (though they might not!), but clearly it isn’t a priority.

As to who I’m going to add, I have typically been picking one player who ranked the highest in last year’s vote and then picking a player where, for one reason or another, I was nearly completely in the dark on what you guys thought about them. I’m going to buck the trend this time and pick two players from last year’s top 20. Both players were within the top 15, didn’t really do anything to make you think less of them, and it’s a slightly weaker system. And since adding two more players makes 14 players either already chosen or currently voted on, they clearly need to be on the vote now. So welcome to the vote Leonardo Bernal and Won-Bin Cho.

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+

Baez has a rather significant, and obvious, strikeout problem. When he makes contact, great things happen. He just doesn’t make contact enough. But he has a little bit of time. He’s the same age as college-aged juniors will be, which also means he’s not particularly young for his level for the first time. So 2024 marks an important year for him.

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

I saw some people fretting about his age, but he’s only really played one professional season, aside from a few innings in 2021 and 2022. That’s the price of Tommy John. Like there’s clearly a big difference between Bedell and Inohan Panigua, also 24 and going to AA (that’s not a sure thing actually). Panigua has pitched in parts of five seasons. Bedell has done the most he could do, so far.

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+

I’ll admit I’m not entirely sure why Bernal never saw High A. I’m choosing to believe it was for two reasons: it’s easier to work on your defense if you’re not also concerned about your hitting and to work on his stamina to play in a full season. He also never really blew the league away, which may have also been a factor. I’ll be shocked if he’s not in High A to begin 2024 though.

I’m also not sure what happened to Bernal’s power, really the only negative aspect of his 2023. He more than doubled his walk rate, while lowering his K rate, and adding about 40 points of BABIP to his line. Low A is Palm Beach now, so I’m not going to worry yet.

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+

I’ll give you guys credit on this one. I thought his placement on a top 20 list was premature. But he did deliver. Or rather, he essentially repeated his rookie league numbers at a higher level. But there’s a difference between an 18-year-old with a 118 wRC+ in rookie ball and a 19-year-old with a 114 wRC+ in Low A.

He’s theoretically got power upside, though it has been in hibernation so far. But he has shown a good eye and cut his K rate at a more advanced level. The next step is power.

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.

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

To give you a glimpse of the offensive environment of where the Memphis Redbirds play, the International League scores 5.5 runs per game and pitchers held a 5.18 ERA. Easy enough to digest, but imagine Graceffo if the league average ERA was 4.15. His line would be 3.89 ERA/3.66 FIP/4.18 xFIP. You can’t tell me we don’t think higher of Graceffo if he had that line. He essentially pitched like an average pitcher in AAA.

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

Hjerpe didn’t really quell his detractors in 2023. He has reliever risk and injury concerns and.... he got injured and walked a bunch of guys. He does have the fairly high floor of being a probable good MLB reliever, but he was obviously drafted with the eye towards starting. And maybe he can. 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

It must be said that my defense of Graceffo should also be applied to McGreevy, but even more so. His triple slash line is downright good compared to the league average. And he did it at 22-years-old. The downside of McGreevy is evident: he doesn’t strike anybody out. But if he gets enough groundballs and is stingy enough about the walks, he might not need to, as potentially unexciting as that may be.

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 was immediatley promoted to AAA after the trade to St. Louis. 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.

Poll

Who is the Cardinals #6 prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Joshua Baez
    (7 votes)
  • 4%
    Ian Bedell
    (42 votes)
  • 3%
    Leonardo Bernal
    (26 votes)
  • 4%
    Won-Bin Cho
    (40 votes)
  • 17%
    Chase Davis
    (151 votes)
  • 31%
    Gordon Graccefo
    (267 votes)
  • 11%
    Cooper Hjerpe
    (99 votes)
  • 13%
    Michael McGreevy
    (111 votes)
  • 12%
    Sem Robberse
    (105 votes)
848 votes total Vote Now