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Won-Bin Cho is your #11 prospect. Vote on the 12th prospect.

MILB: AUG 25 Florida State League - Cardinals at Tarpons Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last year, Won-Bin Cho was selected as the 15th best prospect in the Cardinals system, and I will admit I thought that was a bit of an aggressive ranking. I actually was pretty convinced you would all vote for him in top 10, because relative to his 2023, he raised his prospect profile a lot. More than four spots on a team list I would think. But that’s the beauty of seeing the future, fans of his saw this coming and ranked him appropriately.

As for who to add, it’s somewhat rare to be in a position where it’s pretty clear who will win the next few votes, just not the order in which they’ll be picked. Like there are only a few guys who are getting any votes, so unless I really whiffed on someone who hasn’t been added, I’m basically trying to collect the right group for the 15th best prospect at this point. And there’s at least a couple obvious guys to pick, the first of whom is going to be Cesar Prieto, acquired at the deadline for Jack Flaherty.

We are getting close to that time where I have to add a reliever to the voting and I have just about no hints on which relievers you’ll favor. So I put up an early poll so I can get a sense of where at least you place the relievers against each other and I can know who to put on the list first. I’m doing it now not because my plan is to add a reliever to the next vote, just to have more information to work with.

So pick your favorite reliever:

Poll

Who is the best prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Ryan Fernandez
    (171 votes)
  • 19%
    Andre Granillo
    (87 votes)
  • 19%
    Edwin Nunez
    (87 votes)
  • 20%
    Matt Svanson
    (91 votes)
436 votes total Vote Now

Quick review, but Fernandez was plucked from Boston in the Rule 5, so there’s a weird mix of guaranteed MLB production or... just not in the organization. Granillo is a 24-year-old who struggled in AAA in a limited sample, but has struck out at least 30% of batters every stop before. And Nunez is mostly just upside for now, but he throws high 90s with a potential great changeup. He’ll see AA at some point in 2024 as a 22-year-old. Matt Svanson was another player acquired at the deadline who dominated at both High A and AA and should be in Memphis pretty quickly.

Those are probably going to be the only true relievers who may go on this list. Zuñiga was 18th last year, did not make a ton of progress, got DFA’d and benefited from the high of the World Baseball Classic last time. There’s just about no shot he’d be top 20. I like Ryan Loutos myself, but he topped at 14% of the vote on the final vote and he didn’t really improve his stock (made it worse honestly). Riley O’Brien is 29, I am not putting him on a prospect list. Nick Robertson has been in the MLB for too many days to still be a prospect.

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

I’ve never been that high on Baez, but it’s easier for me to picture him as a prospect when I, weirdly, ignore his stats. Imagine he had never played a professional ballgame to this point. He’s about to be drafted as a 21-year-old college junior. He has 60 potential game power with swing and miss in his game. And I’m sure there would be underlying batted ball metrics to his college numbers that we would love, kind of like there is now. We would know he would strike out too much, but college pitchers probably won’t truly expose his swing-and-miss like the low minors has.

Also, I haven’t listed this stat yet, but Baez sneakly stole 30 bases and only got caught twice. Clearly the scouting report thinks he won’t be a stolen base threat, but that’s hard to ignore.

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

When I pick prospects, I rely a lot on “age” scouting, making sure players are the right age for the level of success they have at whatever level they are at. This is admittedly more difficult for a player like Ian Bedell, who was 23 in High A, which isn’t young, but also he didn’t really have control over that. He’ll be 24 in AA, and I imagine the Cardinals would not be as slow with a promotion if he is pitching as well as he did in High A.

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 was seemingly about to do something that Yadier Molina never did and Ivan Herrera only did for 18 games. That is make it to High A as a 19-year-old. I should have heard that stat and thought “okay it’s definitely not a sure thing he’ll get promoted to High A.” That’s how young Bernal is. (Molina skipped High A altogether, spending his age 20 season at AA for what it’s worth).

I also do feel like maybe the priority was having him experience what a full season of catching is and even people high on his defense think he has some work to do there.

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

Scouting (TCN): 35/55 Hit, 40/60 Power, 35/50 Field, 55/55 Arm, 40/40 Speed (This is from last year, not this, so it may have changed)

Speaking of age-related scouting, Crooks is another good example of it being put to use. He had a 122 wRC+ in High A as a 21-year-old and will most likely spend all of 2024 at AA as a 22-year-old catcher. While there is not certainty over how good his defense will be, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of doubt that he’ll stick at catcher. Let’s hope the AFL was an unfortunate blip that was just a touch too advanced for him and not a sign that high minors pitching will keep his hitting in check.

Travis Honeyman, OF (22-years-old)

Stats: Has not played yet

Scouting: 35/55 Hit, 30/45 Game Power, 45/45 Raw Power, 55/55 Speed, 45/55 Fielding

From what I can gather, Honeyman is one of those players whose scouting slightly outpaces his actual college performance. His stats at Boston College are pretty good, but plenty of draft picks have good college stats, practically a requirement to getting drafted. But the tools suggest there’s more in there to tap into. That’s my impression. Difficult without him having played at all though.

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

Yet another prospect picked up at the deadline, Kloffenstein is not quite on the level of Saggesse or Roby or even Robberse. But he honestly had really good numbers in AA last season and while he did not in AAA, it was eight starts and he’s still just 23. I am very curious to see what he does in 2024.

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

If the scouting is to believed, Mautz likely has a floor of a solid reliever. I can’t speak to the chances he sticks at starter, but a left-handed pitcher with a 60 grade slider and (potentially) 60 grade command is going to be an effective weapon out of the pen. How much he can develop his change up will go a long way towards his future as a starter.

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 something of a lost year, but it is worth pointing out he had it at 18-years-old. There was a chance he could really burst onto the prospect scene, getting an early promotion to Low A, but obviously last year did not go the way anybody wanted. He’s still young and I suppose it depends on if they plan on getting him to Low A at any point, but he’s honestly probably got at least one more “lost” season before you write him off. That’s how young he is.

Cesar Prieto (2B/3B) - 25-years-old

Stats (AA): 249 PAs, .364/.406/.476, 6 BB%, 6.8 K%, .113 ISO, .379 BABIP, 144 wRC+

AAA: 291 PAs, .288/.334/.419, 5.2 BB%, 12 K%, .131 ISO, .310 BABIP, 88 wRC+

Prieto is a very weird prospect. He never strikes out. Or walks. Doesn’t seem to have power. This is a player we would be very excited about 15 years ago, or whatever date it was that you stopped paying attention to batting average. He’ll probably have a reasonably good average in the majors. But well, he had a .288 average in AAA and was a well below average hitter!

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

I imagine given his invite to spring training, his invite to Winter Warmup, and that he pitched in a playoff game in AA, Rajcic will start the season in AA. Which is a really fast ascent. Drafted in 2022, he didn’t pitch until last year, and 23 starts into his professional career, he’s in AA.

Poll

Who is the Cardinals 12th best prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Joshua Baez
    (16 votes)
  • 16%
    Ian Bedell
    (90 votes)
  • 25%
    Leonardo Bernal
    (136 votes)
  • 5%
    Jimmy Crooks III
    (31 votes)
  • 1%
    Travis Honeyman
    (7 votes)
  • 12%
    Adam Kloffenstein
    (68 votes)
  • 0%
    Brycen Mautz
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Jonathan Mejia
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Cesar Prieto
    (16 votes)
  • 31%
    Max Rajcic
    (170 votes)
538 votes total Vote Now