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Max Rajcic is your #12 prospect. Vote on the #13 prospect.

The Cardinals’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year takes the next spot on the list

Shriners Children’s College Classic Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Nobody is going to say the Cardinals have a particularly strong system, but I do find it interesting that a recently drafted 22-year-old starting pitcher who pitched well enough at both Low A and High A to earn Minor League Pitcher of the Year - who could literally not advance any quicker than he has - is just the 12th best prospect of the system. Gordon Graceffo wins Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2022 and becomes a consensus top 100 prospect. I’m not saying the voting was wrong either, just kind of realized that’s weird.

Here is the list so far:

  1. Masyn Winn
  2. Tink Hence
  3. Victor Scott II
  4. Tekoah Roby
  5. Thomas Saggese
  6. Gordon Graceffo
  7. Cooper Hjerpe
  8. Chase Davis
  9. Michael McGreevy
  10. Sem Robberse
  11. Won-Bin Cho
  12. Max Rajcic

The literal first comment on the last voting asked for Pedro Pages to be added to the list, and I assure you that was already the plan. I knew I could keep passing Pages over, because Leonardo Bernal and Jimmy Crooks III were on the list, and for the most part, I tend to think they’ll get more votes than Pages. Also you guys are way underrating catchers on these lists, I mean damn, no catcher until 13 in a very deep catching system???

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

It is impossible to ignore his production when considering whether or not to vote for him, but I mentioned it last time and I’ll mention it again: maybe it’s better to view him as a 2nd round college draftee with loud tools for the purposes of determining his ranking, because the scouting on him if he were a college player would probably merit more consideration than his batting profile would seem to.

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

I wonder where I’ll end up ranking Bedell this time, because in a similar way to VEB voting on Cho, I may have put Bedell a touch too high because I’m not sure he’s going to rise on my rankings as much as the jump he made as a prospect would suggest. Which is my way of saying, I should maybe find it weird he’s not selected yet, but I don’t.

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

On one level, it makes sense Bernal is falling on this list. It was highly expected he would make it to High A at some point last year, and he didn’t. And we saw him lose his power when repeating at Low A. On the other hand, this is a weaker system than last year, not even Yadier Molina made it to High A at 19-years-old, and he hadn’t yet played a full season of ball. It’s probably easier to focus on improving one’s defense at a level they know you’ll succeed at than also having to work on offense at a harder level. So I can see both sides.

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)

I do feel like Crooks is going to be unduly harmed by his AFL performance. The way I understand the talent level of AFL - and people can correct me if I’m wrong - is that it’s somewhere between AA and AAA. The fact that the Cardinals sent him to the AFL is a tremendous sign honestly. They probably don’t do that if they don’t believe in him. Not only that, his K/BB numbers suggest he maintained a good approach, even though it’s clear he swung a wet noodle.

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

I guess I’ll use this space as an opportunity less to talk about Honeyman - the scouting says pretty much anything I could say - and more to talk about a comparison between him and Zach Levenson. I kind of struggled with when to include Honeyman and if to include Levenson. Levenson has good stats - not great - but good stats at a level he should have good stats at. Honeyman was drafted two rounds higher, and was a really well-received pick. So, when should Levenson be put on the list?

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

Do you remember a time when the Cardinals had so many prospects ranked in the 10th to 20th range worth paying attention to or even so close to the majors? It’s such a stark contrast to last year’s list, where Moises Gomez and Connor Thomas are really the only close to the major guys, like nobody else was particularly close. Anyway, yet another prospect in Kloffenstein where I find it genuinely bizarre how he’s not that close to getting voted in and also how that’s not because the voting is wrong.

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

I’ll continue my thought here in fact with Mautz as an example. I posited in the comments that I didn’t see a point in putting Quinn Matthews on the voting because I don’t think he’ll get selected and part of that is because there’s too many interesting prospects to vote for a guy who hasn’t pitched yet. That wasn’t the case last year. Mautz was added fairly early on in the voting and while he didn’t get picked until 17th, I didn’t feel like I added him too soon. People who rank team lists seem to generally ignore the strength of a system beyond the top guys, and I just don’t think that’s ever been more evident than the Cardinals’ system right now.

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

I made this point with Chase Davis, and I sort of made this point with Joshua Baez, but Mejia is probably another guy where it may make sense to ignore the stats and pay attention to the scouting - and in Mejia’s case, his age. The one issue Mejia certainly runs into though is that he became a prospect on the strength of his DSL performance and well, we know how that goes.

Pedro Pages (C) - 25-years-old

Stats (AA): 497 PAs, .267/.362/.443, 11.9 BB%, 19.3 K%, .177 IS0, .305 BABIP, 113 wRC+

Scouting: 30/30 Hitting, 30/40 Game Power, 45/45 Raw Power, 20/20, 55/55 Fielding

Far be it from me to correct someone who is a far better scout than me, but that defensive rating is definitely low. I mean I do think maybe most of us can underrate just how good a 55 grade defender is, but at the same time, that is not the kind of defensive scouting reports coming out about Pages. I couldn’t tell you if it should be a 60 or 70, but it’s higher than 55 I’ll tell you that.

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!

Poll

Who is the Cardinals #13 prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Joshua Baez
    (14 votes)
  • 19%
    Ian Bedell
    (109 votes)
  • 36%
    Leonardo Bernal
    (200 votes)
  • 6%
    Jimmy Crooks III
    (37 votes)
  • 2%
    Travis Honeyman
    (15 votes)
  • 20%
    Adam Kloffenstein
    (111 votes)
  • 2%
    Brycen Mautz
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Jonathan Mejia
    (4 votes)
  • 4%
    Pedro Pages
    (25 votes)
  • 3%
    Cesar Prieto
    (18 votes)
549 votes total Vote Now