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Dan McLaughlin (ScoopswithDannyMac.com)

52 weeks a year, there is significant activity occurring in the St. Louis Cardinals world – impacting the major leagues, minor leagues, draft and literally every facet of the team’s operations.

Every Wednesday, Cardinals play-by-play broadcaster Dan McLaughlin and Brian Walton of The Cardinal Nation outline the key news items currently affecting the team – and then take the next step to explain what they mean for both the present and the future.

They go deeper, discussing rosters, salaries, contracts, job battles, awards, arbitration, free agency, schedules, MLB labor matters and rules, emerging prospects, rankings, minor league results – and so much more. These are the topics on their minds, and likely yours, too!

Now in their third year, new and prior episodes alike can be always found at ScoopsWithDannyMac.com. Selected portions of the full weekly talk are also featured on Dan’s “Scoops With Danny Mac” show on 101 ESPN Radio in St. Louis, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

For those who want even further detail on most of the important topics covered during their talks, supporting articles can be found right here at The Cardinal Nation. Then, for ongoing discussion with other Cardinals fans, head over to TCN’s free forum.

We are all busy with jobs, families, home schooling, community commitments and more. But if you can devote just 10-15 minutes each week listening to Wednesday with Walton at Scoops with Danny Mac, they will keep you updated on all the Cardinals news you need to follow.

Please listen in. It will be worth your while.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Possible St. Louis Cardinals 40-Man Roster Relief


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© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Gibson and Brock Specials this week on FOX Sports Midwest

Cardinals Nation lost two legends, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson, in 2020. FOX Sports Midwest pays tribute to the Hall of Famers in 30-minute specials premiering next week.

Remembering Gibby premieres Monday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m. CT. Remembering Lou debuts Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. CT. Dan McLaughlin, the television voice of Cardinals baseball, hosts both shows. The shows include interviews with their teammates and other Cardinals greats, including Ozzie Smith, Tim McCarver, Tony La Russa, Whitey Herzog, Bill DeWitt Jr., and Bill DeWitt III.

Remembering Gibby, which airs the night before Game 1 of the World Series, looks back at Gibson’s life and career. Gibson’s teammates, including close friend and battery mate McCarver, share stories about his impact on their world championship teams. Fans will also relive Gibson’s career highlights, including his 1968 MVP season, record-setting 17-strikeout game in the World Series and 1971 no-hitter, plus portions of old interviews with Gibson.

In Remembering Lou, Brock’s teammates talk about the trade that brought him to St. Louis. We hear interviews with Brock from throughout the years, reflecting on his 3,000 hits, stolen base records and 1964 World Series Game 7 home run, as well as a powerful portion of his Hall of Fame induction speech. And Smith talks with FOX Sports Midwest’s Jim Hayes about Brock and Cardinals baseball.

Bob Gibson (AP photo)

Upcoming air dates for Remembering Gibby

Times Central; streaming on FOX Sports GO; available in the Cardinals television footprint

  • Monday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 3:30 and 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29 at 12 p.m.

Lou Brock (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Upcoming air dates for Remembering Lou

Times Central; streaming on FOX Sports GO; available in the Cardinals television footprint

  • Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 25 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29 at 12:30 p.m.

Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Possible St. Louis Cardinals 40-Man Roster Relief


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© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wainwright: Man of the Year Award Finalist

photo: Adam Wainwright (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

MLB Players Association news release

Players selected José Abreu, Shane Bieber and Freddie Freeman as finalists for Major League Baseball’s Player of the Year and Nelson Cruz, Jason Heyward and Adam Wainwright as nominees for Marvin Miller Man of the Year in voting for the 2020 Players Choice Awards.

Adam Wainwright

The Players Choice Awards are held in high regard by players because the winners are selected in balloting among their peers. In addition to the Marvin Miller Man of the Year and Player of the Year award winners, who represent both leagues, players in the American and National Leagues choose their outstanding players, pitchers, rookies and comeback players.

All told, the 2020 Players Choice Award winners will designate charities to receive grants totaling $55,000 from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has recognized the outstanding on-and off-field performances of Players Choice Awards recipients by contributing more than $5 million to charities around the world.

Marvin Miller

In balloting for the Marvin Miller Award, players are asked to vote for the player they “most respect based on his leadership on the field and in the community.” Curtis Granderson, who retired after the 2019 season, won the award four times. Other recent honorees include Anthony Rizzo (2017), Adam Jones (2015), Clayton Kershaw (2014) and Mariano Rivera (2013).

The award is dedicated to Marvin Miller, who served as the Major League Baseball Players Association’s first full-time executive director, from 1966 through 1982, and guided its emergence as one of the country’s strongest and most cohesive labor unions.

Below are all the finalists:

Outstanding Player Award

National League players: Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Juan Soto
American League players: José Abreu, DJ LeMahieu and Mike Trout

Outstanding Pitcher Award

National League players: Trevor Bauer, Yu Darvish and Jacob deGrom
American League players: Shane Bieber, Gerrit Cole and Lance Lynn

Outstanding Rookie Award

National League players: Alec Bohm, Jake Cronenworth and Devin Williams
American League player: James Karinchak, Kyle Lewis and Luis Robert

Comeback Player Award

National League players: Daniel Bard, Adam Duvall and Wil Myers
American League players: Carlos Carrasco, Salvador Perez and José Ramírez

The Marvin Miller Award winner receives a $10,000 grant, while the recipients of the nine other awards receive grants of $5,000.

Through their collective charity, players pool resources to support efforts that provide hope, sustainability and lasting change around the world. Players direct grants to the wide range of causes they support – from disaster relief to health and human services to promoting the growth of baseball in the United States and abroad.

Players Choice Awards voting among all players was conducted in mid-September. Winners will be announced Oct. 22.

For more information on the 2020 Players Choice Awards, be sure to visit the link here.

ABOUT THE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS TRUST

Major Leaguers contribute their time, money and celebrity to call attention to important causes. Each year the Players Trust distributes more than $1 million in annual grants and programs. For additional information, please visit www.PlayersTrust.org. Follow the Trust on Twitter (@MLBPlayersTrust) and Instagram (@mlbplayerstrust).


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The Calendar Works Against a Quick Return of Wainwright and Molina


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© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals and Baseball Mourn Passing of Hall of Famer Lou Brock

photo: Lou Brock (USA TODAY Sports Images)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals organization, the St. Louis community and baseball fans everywhere are saddened this evening (Sunday, September 6) to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Louis Clark “Lou” Brock at the age of 81.  Brock, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1985, is survived by his wife Jacqueline, daughter, Wanda, sons, Lou Jr. and Emory, stepchildren Marvin Hay and Jacqueline Means, grandchildren Darian, Alivia, Colston, Spencer and Iris, and preceded in death by his son, Daniel.

“Lou Brock was one of the most revered members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the very best to ever wear the Birds on the Bat,” said Cardinals’ Principal Owner & Chief Executive Officer William O. DeWitt Jr. “Lou was a Hall of Fame player, a great coach, an insightful broadcaster and a wonderful mentor to countless generations of Cardinals players, coaches and members of the front office.  He was an ambassador of the game around the country and a fan favorite who connected with millions of baseball fans across multiple generations.  He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.”

Brock enjoyed 19 seasons in the majors, including parts of 16 years with the Cardinals from 1964-79. The Louisiana native, who was born on June 18, 1939 in El Dorado, Arkansas, was a fan-favorite who still holds the National League record with 938 career stolen bases.

Lou Brock (Scott Rovak/US Presswire)

The Cardinals’ acquisition of outfielder Lou Brock from the Chicago Cubs on June 15, 1964, ranks as perhaps the greatest trade in franchise history. St. Louis traded pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemens in exchange for Brock and pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth.

Over the course of his career with the Cardinals, Brock established himself as the most prolific base stealer in baseball history to that time. His 938 stolen bases stood as the Major League record until Rickey Henderson bettered the mark in 1991. Brock’s total remains the National League standard, and he owns the Major League record with 12 seasons of 50 or more steals. Brock led the N.L. in thefts on eight occasions (1966-69, 1971-74). He set the single-season record with 118 in 1974, bettering Maury Wills’ mark of 104 during the 1962 campaign, and finished 2nd in N.L. MVP voting that season. In 1978, the N.L. announced that its annual stolen base leader would receive the Lou Brock Award, making Brock the first active player to have an award named after him.

Lou Brock

In addition to his base-stealing records, Brock was a career .293 batter with 3,023 hits. Eight times he batted at a .300 or better clip. In 1967, Brock slugged 21 home runs and had 76 RBI from the leadoff spot. He also had 52 stolen bases, making him the first player in baseball history with 20 homers and 50 steals. The following year, Brock topped the N.L. in doubles (46), triples (14) and stolen bases (62), becoming the first player in the Senior Circuit to do so since Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1908. Brock joined the 3,000-hit club Aug. 13, 1979, with a fourth-inning single off Dennis Lamp of the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Brock’s 3,023 career hits rank 28th on baseball’s all-time list.

Upon his arrival in St. Louis, the left-handed hitting Brock paid immediate dividends, batting .348 for the balance of the 1964 season and propelling the Cardinals from eighth place in the N.L. to a World Championship win over the New York Yankees. The Cardinals won the World Series again in 1967 over the Boston Red Sox and were N.L. champions in 1968. Brock was at his best in postseason play. His .391 career batting average (34-for-87) ranks as the seventh-best in World Series history, while his 14 stolen bases are tied for the most all-time with Eddie Collins of the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox. Brock holds the Fall Classic record for stolen bases in a single series (7 in both 1967 and 1968).

Lou Brock and his Brockabrella

On the Cardinals’ career lists, Brock ranks first in stolen bases (888 – Vince Coleman is second with 549); second in games played (2,289), at-bats (9,125), runs (1,427) and hits (2,713); third in doubles (434) and total bases (3,776); fourth in triples (121); sixth in walks (681); and 11th in RBI (814). His 21 career leadoff home runs are the second-most in club annals.  Brock’s uniform no. 20 was retired by the Cardinals in 1979.

Brock remained active in baseball since retiring as a player following the 1979 season. He worked in the Cardinals’ broadcast booth from 1981 to 1984; was a base-running consultant for the Minnesota Twins in 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 and Montreal Expos in 1993; and had served as a special instructor for the Cardinals (base running and outfield play) since 1995.

The six-time N.L. All-Star was a first-ballot National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee in 1985 and was an inaugural member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014. He was voted the left fielder on the All-Busch Stadium II team in 2005. In 2015, Brock was voted by the fans as a member of Franchise Four, joining Bob Gibson, Rogers Hornsby and Stan Musial as one of the most impactful players who best represented the history of the Cardinals.

In 2016, the organization launched #STLisLou, a season-long campaign to honor and celebrate Lou Brock while helping raise money for children with diabetes in Lou’s name.  Brock fought various medical conditions in recent years, including having his left leg amputated below the knee because of an infection relative to a diabetic condition in 2015 and a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma in 2017, but returned valiantly each time.  A fixture for many Opening Days in St. Louis, he recently visited Busch Stadium to cheer on the team and celebrate his 80th birthday in June 2019.


Exclusive for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Draft Recap 2009-2019 – 11th-20th Rounds


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Adam Wainwright is St. Louis Cardinals Nominee for Roberto Clemente Award

photo: Adam Wainwright via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals release

For the fifth time in his career, pitcher Adam Wainwright has been named the St. Louis Cardinals 2020 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.  The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB Club who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.  It is the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.

“To be the Cardinals nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award is extremely humbling. Roberto Clemente was a great player on the field, but just as great of a man and humanitarian off the field,” said Wainwright. “He set the bar high for all of us, and I just can’t think of a better compliment than to be nominated for his namesake award.”

Adam Wainwright

Wainwright, with brother Trey, founded Big League Impact (BLI) in 2013 to provide basic needs including food, clean water, medical care and shelter in an effort to restore dignity and hope to those in need across the globe. Wainwright’s first fundraising event was Waino’s World Fantasy Football Draft. Today, Wainwright works with over two dozen MLB players to bring their charitable aspirations to life through Fantasy Football Drafts, game nights, and Swing for Impact events. Through Wainwright’s leadership, by the end of 2020, $5.2 million will have been raised by 150 players to benefit 62 charities.

Additionally, Wainwright and BLI once again partnered with Garth Brooks’ foundation Teammates for Kids and MLB on the Home Plate Project, a league-wide initiative to support childhood hunger prevention and battle food insecurity. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the need for food assistance became greater and more immediate. Across MLB, teams embraced the initiative with fifty players participating, raising nearly $1 million and providing more than four million meals to those in need across the U.S. and Canada. Locally, the initiative raised $122,250 for Operation Food Search, Crisis Aid and the St. Louis Area Foodbank resulting in over 200,000 meals distributed across the St. Louis area.

“Adam Wainwright has shown his dedication to humanitarian efforts time and time again, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Hall, Vice President, Community Relations & Executive Director, Cardinals Care. “We admire his worldwide efforts to help people in need, and are proud to have him as a member of the Cardinals.”

The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) MLB.com, as well as Roberto’s children, Enrique, Luis and Roberto Clemente, Jr. Beginning today, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via mlb.com/clemente21. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote until the end of the season on Sunday, September 27th. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel.

The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” The recognition was renamed to the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Previous Cardinals to win the Roberto Clemente Award include Yadier Molina (2018), Carlos Beltran (2013), Albert Pujols (2008), Ozzie Smith (1995) and Lou Brock (1975).  More information and award nominees for all 30 MLB teams can be found at mlb.com/clemente21.

2018 Roberto Clemente Award ceremony (St. Louis Cardinals)

Cardinals 2020 TV and Radio Broadcast Schedule Announced

photo: St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals today (Tuesday, July 16) announced that every 2020 regular season game will be televised locally or nationally as well as broadcast on KMOX and the Cardinals Radio Network. Additionally, all 30 home games played in St. Louis will feature live Spanish radio broadcasts.

In its 27th season with the team, and tenth as the exclusive local TV home of the Cardinals, FOX Sports Midwest will carry 55 of the 60-game regular season schedule. FOX Sports Midwest will also televise the Cardinals-Royals exhibition game at Busch Stadium on July 22. Each FOX Sports Midwest telecast will also be streamed live on the FOX Sports GO app and at FOXSportsGO.com. FOX Sports Midwest will continue to produce the Cardinals Live pre- and postgame shows for every regular season telecast, including expanded pregame coverage on Opening Night.

Dan McLaughlin, Jim Edmonds, Ricky Horton and Brad Thompson will call home games from the broadcast booth at Busch Stadium, but will remain in St. Louis to call road games. Jim Hayes, Scott Warmann and Erica Weston will serve as reporters and hosts for Cardinals Live, while Al Hrabosky and Rick Ankiel serve as pre- and postgame analysts. Hall of Famer Tim McCarver has opted not to travel from Florida to broadcast Cardinals games this season. The network will also continue to air Cardinals Insider, the club-produced weekly television show, with new episodes beginning on Sunday, July 19.

Currently, five regular season games will be carried exclusively on FOX (aired locally on KTVI) and ESPN as part of Major League Baseball’s national television packages, including the Cardinals’ contest against the Chicago White Sox in the “MLB at Field of Dreams™ presented by GEICO”. The schedule is subject to change based on future national television selections.

In addition to televised game coverage, KMOX 1120 AM, the team’s flagship radio station, and most stations on the Cardinals Radio Network, will carry every regular season game. Broadcasters Mike Shannon (49th season) and John Rooney (15th season) will again share all the Cardinals calls on the radio at home. Ricky Horton will continue to join John Rooney to announce all Cardinals road games from St. Louis. Mike Claiborne returns to assist with broadcasts while Tom Ackerman, Chris Hrabe and Joe Pott will serve as pre- and postgame hosts on KMOX. This year marks KMOX’s tenth consecutive season as the flagship station and 63rd year overall. The Cardinals Radio Network consists of 145 radio stations in eight states and is the largest radio network in MLB.

The Cardinals, in cooperation with WIJR 880 AM La Tremenda, will produce 30 Spanish-language radio broadcasts for all St. Louis homes games during the 2020 season. Play-by-play announcer Polo Ascencio and color commentator Bengie Molina will return for their fifth season to provide Hispanic and Latino fans with a way to follow the Cardinals in their native language. All 30 broadcasts will air locally on WIJR 880 AM and be streamed via cardinals.com and the MLB app.

A complete broadcast schedule for the 60-game 2020 season follows.

St. Louis Cardinals Announce 2021 Regular Season Schedule

photo: (Getty Images)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals, in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s league-wide release, today (Thursday, July 9) announced their 2021 regular season schedule. The home opener is set for Thursday, April 8, against Milwaukee as part of a six-game home stand with the Brewers (April 8, 10-11) and Washington (April 12-14).

The Cardinals will open the 2021 season on the road with a three-game series at Cincinnati beginning on Thursday, April 1, followed by a three-game series at Miami (April 5-7).

Among the key home dates for 2021 are a pair of three-game weekend series visits by the Chicago Cubs on May 21-23 and to conclude the regular season on October 1-3. The Cubs will also visit St. Louis for a four-game series July 19-22. Additionally, the game against the Milwaukee Brewers in St. Louis on Saturday, April 10, will mark the 15th anniversary of the first game played at Busch Stadium III (also against the Brewers).

The 2021 season will feature 26 home series and 26 road series, including 13 weekend series at Busch Stadium: April 8, 10-11 vs. Milwaukee, April 23-25 vs. Cincinnati, May 7-9 vs. Colorado, May 21-23 vs. Chicago Cubs, June 3-6 vs. Cincinnati, June 24-27 vs. Pittsburgh, July 16-18 vs. San Francisco, July 30-August 1 vs. Minnesota, August 6-8 vs. Kansas City, August 20-22 vs. Pittsburgh, September 10-12 vs. Cincinnati, September 17-19 vs. San Diego, and October 1-3 vs. Chicago Cubs.

The Cardinals 20-game interleague schedule will feature a pair of three-game home-and-home series with in-state rival Kansas City on consecutive weekends (August 6-8 at Busch Stadium & August 13-15 at Kansas City), marking the first time the Cardinals have hosted a three-game weekend series against the Royals since 2015. The interleague schedule also features a pair of two-game home-and-home series against the Cleveland Indians (June 8-9 at Busch Stadium & July 27-28 at Cleveland) and the Detroit Tigers (June 22-23 at Detroit & August 24-25 at Busch Stadium). Additionally, the Redbirds will host a three-game interleague series versus the Minnesota Twins (July 30-August 1) and travel to Chicago for a three-game interleague series against the White Sox (May 24-26).

The Cardinals are scheduled to play 41 of their 81 home games before the July 12-14 All Star Break, playing 13 home games in April, 12 in May, 16 in June, 9 in July, 15 in August, and 16 in September/October. The club is scheduled to host holiday games on Mother’s Day (May 9 vs. Colorado) and Labor Day (September 6 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers).

The Cardinals longest home stand of the 2021 consists of nine games (July 30-August 8) with three games against each of the Twins, Atlanta Braves, and Royals. Their longest road trip consists of two 10-game trips from May 24-June 2 and before the All-Star Break from July 1-11. The team has two stretches that will see them play 17 consecutive games without a day off from April 23-May 9 and May 21-June 6.

The Cardinals will make future announcements regarding game times, ticket pricing and ticket availability for the 2021 season. The complete 2021 regular season schedule can be viewed at cardinals.com/schedule.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2021 HOME SCHEDULE

April 8, 10-11 vs. Milwaukee
April 12-14 vs. Washington
April 23-25 vs. Cincinnati
April 26-29 vs. Philadelphia
May 3-6 vs. New York Mets
May 7-9 vs. Colorado
May 18-19 vs. Pittsburgh
May 21-23 vs. Chicago Cubs
June 3-6 vs. Cincinnati
June 8-9 vs. Cleveland
June 14-16 vs. Miami
June 24-27 vs. Pittsburgh
June 28-30 vs. Arizona
July 16-18 vs. San Francisco
July 19-22 vs. Chicago Cubs
July 30-August 1 vs. Minnesota
August 3-5 vs. Atlanta
August 6-8 vs. Kansas City
August 17-19 vs. Milwaukee
August 20-22 vs. Pittsburgh
August 24-25 vs. Detroit
September 6-9 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
September 10-12 vs. Cincinnati
September 17-19 vs. San Diego
September 28-30 vs. Milwaukee
October 1-3 vs. Chicago Cubs


Full schedule – Grid view


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

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St. Louis Cardinals Announce 60-Game Schedule for 2020 Season

photo: Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals)

St. Louis Cardinals release

The St. Louis Cardinals, in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s league-wide release, announced their 60-Game 2020 season schedule. The regionally-based schedule will feature 40 divisional games amongst National League Central opponents and 20 Interleague games against American League Central teams.

The Cardinals will open up the season at Busch Stadium on Friday, July 24, with a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and finish their 60-game slate at Busch Stadium on Sunday, September 27, versus the Milwaukee Brewers. The Redbirds will also take part in the only game to be played outside a current Major League city when they take on the host Chicago White Sox in the “MLB at Field of Dreams presented by GEICO” game at the site of the beloved 1989 baseball-themed movie in Dyersville, Iowa on Thursday, August 13.

The 2020 60-Game schedule will feature 10 home series and 10 road series, with home matchups against Pittsburgh (July 24-26, August 10-12), Detroit (August 5-6), Chicago Cubs (August 7-9), Cincinnati (August 20-23, September 11-13), Kansas City (August 24-26), Cleveland (August 28-30), Minnesota (September 8-9), and Milwaukee (September 24-27). The club will have multiple road series against Milwaukee (July 31-August 2, September 14-16) and the Chicago Cubs (August 17-19, September 4-7).

The Cardinals will make future announcements regarding broadcast schedules and any possible ticket availability for the 60-game schedule at a later date.

Printable Schedule


Brian Walton’s take

Prior to Monday’s announcement, Cardinals PBO John Mozeliak noted the schedule had been “quite fluid” in changes since the first draft had been distributed to teams last week. Earlier he had said that the Cardinals had no objections to the initial draft.

On the positive side, the Cardinals have a relatively easy schedule, considering the weakness of several AL Central teams last season. Kansas City (which play St. Louis six times) lost 103 games in 2019 and Detroit dropped an MLB-high 114.

Here is one analysis of the initial two weeks of the schedule. The clear message is that the Cardinals should have no schedule excuses for not making a fast start.

In the aforementioned 12 games to open the season, only five will be held at Busch. Two of the road contests are versus the defending AL Central champions Minnesota.

Here is how I see the big picture. Given the Reds and Cubs are the other two favorites in the division, chances are that at least one of them plays well out of the gate. So if the Cardinals don’t, too, they could be in a hole when the schedule gets tougher.

A concern stated by some is that seven of the 10 head-to-head matchups with the Cubs will be in Chicago. However, the imbalance flips the other way against the Reds, with St. Louis only having to play three of 10 in Great American Ballpark. So it goes with a limited 60-game slate.

In reality, the old cliche that all games matter has never been so true as in 2020. Prior to the rash of COVID-19 cases and season opt-outs, Caesar’s odds, as reported by ESPN, had these three clubs – the Reds, Cardinals and Cubs – all at 31 1/2 wins for the season.

How could it be any tighter? Let’s Play Ball!


For more

As manager Mike Shildt and selected players meet with the media after daily Summer Camp practices, summaries of their comments are posted on The Cardinal Nation’s free message board. (A userid is not required to read forum comments.)

St. Louis “Summer Camp” news

Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Cardinals Continue Non-Drafted Free Agent Signings

photo: Jacob Buchberger (Andy Visockis/Davenport University)

On Monday, June 15, the St. Louis Cardinals continued their post-draft additions of minor league free agents into a second day.

The organization’s sixth overall signing is third baseman Jacob Buchberger of Davenport University in Michigan. Later in the day, he was followed by catcher Nick Raposo of Wheaton College in Massachusetts and the second Gonzaga free agent signed, pitcher Nick Trogrlic-Iverson.

You can read about the first five new Cardinals signed on Sunday here:

St. Louis Cardinals Augment 2020 Draft with Free Agents

The Cardinals do not announce signing bonuses, but this year, all free agents across the game are limited to no more than $20,000 each.

Through Day 2 of the free agent signing period, St. Louis’ eight additions are the third-most of the 30 MLB organizations, trailing only Boston (10) and the Chicago Cubs (9). At the other end of the spectrum are the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays, with no new signings, per data compiled by Baseball America.


Updates

The Cardinals also announced on Monday their first official signing from among their seven 2020 draft picks.

Alec Burleson

Later on Monday, Burleson’s under-slot signing bonus was disclosed.

Bonus details from the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold:

Five of the Cardinals’ eight non-drafted free agents received the maximum $20,000 bonus. Of the first 77 non-drafted free agents signed across MLB, just four did not receive the maximum, and three were Cardinals.


St. Louis 2020 Free Agent Signings (3)

1B/3B Jacob Buchberger
Davenport University, senior
6’2”, 215 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Jacob Buchberger

Buchberger is a highly productive Division II player who got better every year in college. He was not a starter in his freshman year, and he collected just 16 at-bats in 35 games. However, he became a starter as a sophomore, and that is when he broke out at the plate. He slashed .359/.435/.650/1.085 that year with six home runs and a 1:1 K/BB ratio. The following year he raised his batting average to .429, hit eight home runs, improved his K/BB ratio to 13:22, and stole 22 bases while reaching base safely in nearly half of his plate appearances. In a shortened 2020 season, he somehow managed to get even better as he posted a slash line of .525/.589/1.016/1.605 while clubbing six home runs and stealing eight bases in 15 games.

He clearly has an advanced hit tool even though he only showed it against Division II opponents. Additionally, Buchberger’s power output increased every year, and he has a good amount of size which should allow him to have a good amount of over-the-fence power in pro ball. He also showed a strong ability to steal bases in college which means that he likely has a good combination of speed and baserunning ability.  It will be interesting to see how he handles such a large jump in competition once he faces professional pitching, but he was clearly a dominant force at his level in college.

Additionally, Buchberger pitched 29 2/3 innings in his college career. Davenport University seemed more interested in putting him in the lineup consistently, but when he did pitch, he was effective, as he posted a career 2.12 ERA. It is unlikely that he will pitch in professional baseball, but his history of pitching presumably means that he has a strong arm in the infield.

Buchberger racked up numerous accolades in his time at Davenport. The corner infielder won numerous academic awards as well as Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference and Third Team All-American. Additionally, in 2019 he tied the school record for batting average in a season at .429.

The right-handed hitter also played three years in summer ball, allowing himself to be tested against Division I competition. He performed well as a member of the Muskegon Clippers in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League in 2017, as he batted .310 with three home runs and 18 walks in 105 plate appearances. Buchberger joined the Kokomo Jackrabbits of the Prospect League in 2018 and continued to hit the ball well. He batted .296 with three home runs, six stolen bases and 14 walks (156 plate appearances). He struggled in the summer of 2019, however, as he represented the Green Bay Booyah of the Northwoods League. Buchberger batted just .235 and struck out 34 times. Despite his overall struggles, though, his power output was solid as he hit five home runs and 15 other extra base hits.

As a player with a strong hit tool, potential plus power, and good speed, Buchberger has a chance to become a solid player. Additionally, he has a strong track record of college success as well as some summer league success as well. He is the third small-school hitter that the Cardinals have signed as an undrafted free agent.

Click here for recent video of Buchberger discussing his draft status.

C Nick Raposo
Wheaton College, senior
5’11”, 195 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Nick Raposo

Raposo played all three-plus of his collegiate seasons with the Wheaton College Lyons of Massachusetts.  The right-handed pull hitter compiled a career slash line of .366/.440/.505/.945 through 131 games.

In both his sophomore and junior seasons, Raposo was named a second-team Division III All-American. He also received All-New England honors from D3Baseball.com and all-league honors from the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.

During his last three summers, the Rhode Island native competed in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, starting in 2017 with the Newport Gulls. The last two years, Raposo moved to the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, and was selected as a 2019 NECBL All-Star. Last summer, he slashed .298/.408/.430/.838, including 10 doubles and two home runs. Raposo plated 26 and drew 24 walks against just 13 strikeouts in 121 at-bats over 33 games while helping his club reach the NECBL finals.

In addition to catching, Raposo can also play first base.

Nick Raposo (Wheaton College)

Blake Newberry’s scouting report

Raposo has an established track record of hitting, both at Division III Wheaton College and in various summer leagues. Additionally, he takes a decent number of walks, but one his real strengths is avoiding strikeouts. In fact, after his freshman year, he struck out just 18 times over 300 plate appearances. This should be something that helps him in pro ball. His walks should be enough to bump up his offensive production a bit, and  by not striking out very much, he gives himself more chances to get hits. If some of his success at the plate can carry over into professional ball, then this could turn him into a real asset.

However, due somewhat to his limited size, it does not seem likely that Raposo will ever develop into a legitimate home run threat. He may be able to occasionally reach double digits over the course of an entire season, but it is unlikely that he will do more than that.

One of the assets of his relatively small stature is his mobility and athleticism behind the plate. This gives him the potential to be a solid defensive catcher, although he could use a little improvement as he allowed 29 passed balls in 131 collegiate games. He will need to learn better technique in the Cardinals organization so that he can better handle pitches in the dirt. However, because of his athleticism, there is a chance that he can correct his technique. He also improved his ability to throw out potential base stealers as he matured. His caught stealing rate rose from 25% as a freshman to 39% as a junior, and he was at 57% before the 2020 season was cancelled.

It seems that the Cardinals are expecting their player development team to improve his ability behind the plate, while hoping his bat can carry him through the lower levels of the minor leagues.

Raposo has described himself as being willing to compete and do the little things, and this mentality should help him improve, especially defensively. However, his bat does seem to be more advanced than his glove currently.

There is very little video on Raposo available on the internet, but from what is there, it is possible to analyze Raposo’s swing mechanics. The right-handed hitter has a balanced stance and a somewhat large leg kick that he uses as a timing mechanism. This leg kick has an exactly opposite motion as his hands. During his load, his hands go down a little bit when his leg is coming up. Then when his leg goes forward, his hands go back towards his shoulder. This stretching of his body allows him to create a good amount of torque for such a small hitter, which gives him adequate power despite his frame. This should allow Raposo to hit for a bit of power in the professional ranks.

P Nick Trogrlic-Iverson
Gonzaga University, senior
6’1”, 175 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Nick Trogrlic-Iverson

The Ontario, Canada native pitched his first two collegiate seasons at Central Arizona Community College. Trogrlic-Iverson was a reliever as a freshman, pitching in 24 games, and moved to the rotation as a sophomore. Combined, he logged a 2.61 ERA, striking out 131 and walking 44 in 124 innings.

Trogrlic-Iverson was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 15th round (455th overall) of the 2018 draft, but instead, the right-hander moved to Gonzaga.

In his junior season in 2019, he was a swingman, making seven starts and 19 relief appearances for the Zags. He totaled 41 strikeouts and 22 walks in 67 2/3 innings with a 5.05 ERA. In the truncated spring of 2020, Trogrlic-Iverson showed improvement in his four starts, with a 3.80 ERA. He fanned 20 and issued just three free passes in 21 1/3 innings.

Even prior to the draft, Baseball America ranked Trogrlic-Iverson no. 25 among all draft-eligible college seniors.

Nick Trogrlic-Iverson (Gonzaga University)

Blake Newberry’s scouting report

Trogrlic-Iverson has been a teammate of Mac Lardner, another undrafted free agent signee of the Cardinals. However, unlike Lardner, Trogrlic-Iverson does not have a strong track record of collegiate success once he transferred to Gonzaga.

Despite this, the Cardinals must think that he has projectability left, and that with a few tweaks he can be a successful pitcher. He fits the mold of what the organization has been looking for in pitchers in recent years, as he may not have massive size, but he has athleticism on the mound.

Trogrlic-Iverson throws a low-90s fastball with good movement as well as a curveball, slider, and changeup. This is a solid mix and the right-hander is capable of using it to throw strikes consistently. What is missing with Trogrlic-Iverson is a bit of polish on his secondary pitches.

His slider occasionally looks like a plus pitch, but he is not always able to get sharp break on it. If he could refine this pitch,  it could be a true plus offering. Even now, when he has a good feel for it, he is able to generate plenty of swings and misses.

His fastball has plenty of late arm-side run which adds deception to it and makes it a solid offering even though it tops out around 94 miles per hour. Additionally, he has a pretty decent change-up with late life that can catch some hitters off balance. His curveball is a work in progress and seems to lag behind his other three pitches. It gets some movement, but the break is not nearly as sharp as it is on his slider. This pitch will need some work, but he can at least throw it for strikes. This four-pitch mix gives him a chance to stick as a starter, especially if he can add a few ticks to his fastball and refine his slider. However, if he is struggling in the rotation then he could move to the bullpen with his two primary pitches a fastball and a slider with the occasional change-up.

In terms of mechanics, the right-hander does not have a high effort delivery which allows it to be consistent and repeatable. During his windup, he never looks away from plate which allows him to really find his spot and attack it.

One of the more noticeable parts of Trogrlic-Iverson’s delivery is his stride toward the plate. His glove arm reaches toward the third base line and then comes back across his body and towards the plate. It looks similar to Madison Bumgarner, though not as extreme. This may cause him to have problems have problems hitting his spots occasionally, although there are ways to control it. As long as this does not throw off his direction toward the plate, he should still be able to command his pitches, and he does a pretty good job of staying on line with the plate.

Another noticeable thing about Trogrlic-Iverson is that he stands on the first base side of the rubber, but then strides towards the middle of the mound. This may cause him to fight his own body a little bit. If he could place his stride directly in front of his back foot, then he would allow his body to open up more which would prevent him from throwing across his body. This may add a little more velocity to his fastball as well as enable him to spin his pitches better. This would only require a slight adjustment as his front foot is not too far off line from his back foot.

However, he seems like the classic Cardinals ‘undersized’, athletic pitcher with more pitchabiity than pure stuff.


Your authors

TCN analyst Blake Newberry wrote the player capsules and Brian Walton filled in the rest.


For more

To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Minor League History Series – Best Seasons – 1963-2019


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals Augment 2020 Draft with Free Agents

photo: Omar Sanchez and family (B-You Academy)

By Blake Newberry and Brian Walton

Following the five-round 2020 First-Year Player Draft, in which the St. Louis Cardinals selected seven players, the team added five free agents on Sunday.

The newest Cardinals are left-handed pitchers Mac Lardner of Gonzaga University and high schooler Omar Sanchez of Puerto Rico plus outfielder Matt Chamberlain from the University of New Haven. Others are outfielder Matt Koperniak from Trinity College and pitcher Gianluca Dalatri from the University of North Carolina.

In other words, the Cardinals have essentially added the same number of players as if they had drafted 10 rounds. However, the money was certainly much less.

The organization does not announce signing bonuses, but this year, all free agents are limited to no more than $20,000 each. That compares to sixth- to 10th-round draft slot values that would have totaled just under $1 million. So the team spent at least 90 percent less acquiring the five as free agents rather than drafting them.

The following is a bit of positive news, though the Cardinals’ position on the matter is not yet known.

See The Cardinal Nation’s 2020 Draft Days 1 and 2 details here.

Cardinals Select Jordan Walker in 2020 MLB Draft’s First Round

St. Louis Cardinals Pick Six to Conclude 2020 Draft

St. Louis 2020 Free Agent Signings (5)

OF Matt Chamberlain
University of New Haven, senior
6’0”, 200 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Matt Chamberlain

From the moment Matt Chamberlain arrived in New Haven, Connecticut, he was an impact player. The Division II star posted a .293/.441/.395/.836 slash line as a freshman while taking 30 walks (and nine HBPs) while striking out just 20 times in 206 plate appearances. Chamberlain proceeded to improve his on-base percentage every year, from .441 as a freshman to .473 as a sophomore, to .494 as a junior, and to .512 as a senior He led his team in walks every season while raising his slugging percentage to .606 as a junior and .519 as a senior. Additionally, he improved dramatically on the base paths as he stole just six bases as a freshman before raising his tally to 14 as a sophomore and 22 as a junior.

Notable achievements by Chamberlain include setting the school record in walks (52) as well as hit by pitches (16) in the same year (2018). Additionally, he was named to multiple academic honor rolls as well as first team all-conference in 2019.

Chamberlain spent the summer of 2019 playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. This league brought him into contact with plenty of Division I competition, giving him a chance to validate his impressive statistics in Division 2. He did just that as he batted .298 with 39 walks and four home runs in 207 plate appearances for Martha’s Vineyard Sharks. Because of his strong performance, he was named an all-star. He had also spent the summer of 2018 with the Sharks, but they were playing in the Futures League that year. He did just as well in 2018 as he was also named an all-star due to his .307 batting average, 32 to 18 K/BB ratio, and three home runs. His ability to perform in these summer leagues demonstrated that all of his tools carried over, even against more advanced competition.

Chamberlain was clocked at 6.65 seconds in the 60-yard dash which gives him a good amount of speed and could make him a threat on the basepaths and in the field. Additionally, he can throw the ball up to 94 miles per hour on max effort throws from the outfield, which gives him plenty of arm strength to play all three outfield spots. However, he played center field in college and may be given a chance to start there, especially given his athleticism.

Matt Chamberlain (University of New Haven)

At the plate, Chamberlain recorded an exit velocity of nearly 92 miles per hour off a tee, which does not suggest too much power potential. When hitting, the outfielder has a small stride and very little movement. His swing is simple and while it may lack power, it allows him to make plenty of contact with the ball and hit to all fields. He hit just 11 home runs in his career, which means that he may never have a lot of over-the-fence power, but his ability to consistently make contact  and have a good approach at the plate will be his strengths in professional ball. This is emphasized by the fact that he tallied more walks than strikeouts in every collegiate season. Even though these numbers were posted against Division II competition, they underscore what Chamberlain tries to do at the plate, which is make plenty of contact and draw plenty of walks.

It is Chamberlain’s approach at the plate as well as his ability to limit strikeouts that likely drew the Cardinals to him as the team selected two college hitters in the draft (Alec Burleson, LJ Jones IV) with advanced hit tools and strikeout rates below 15%. Additionally, it does not hurt that he hits from the left side.

LHP Mac Lardner
Gonzaga University, senior
6’4”, 195 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Mac Lardner

Mac Lardner

Similarly to Chamberlain, Lardner played a key role for his college team in his freshman year. The southpaw threw nearly 50 innings while splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen in 2017 and experienced some modest success as he posted a 3.99 ERA. He took a leap forward as a sophomore, however, when he moved into the rotation full time and compiled a 2.95 ERA in 100 2/3 innings. He was not a big strikeout threat as he fanned just 73 hitters, but he also walked just 28 and kept the opposition off the base paths.

The following year, Lardner seemed to take a step forward as both his strikeout and walk rates improved, but yet his ERA rose significantly to 5.06 as he was more hittable. He recovered well in four starts this spring, however, as he fanned 33 batters in 24 2/3 innings while posting a 2.55 ERA.

The Cardinals must believe that Lardner is more of the pitcher who posted a 2.95 ERA as a sophomore and a 2.55 ERA as a senior, than the pitcher with a 5.06 ERA as a junior. There are encouraging signs to support this, though, as the left-hander’s strikeout and walk rates improved each year since he entered the rotation.

Lardner spent the summer of 2019 in the Cape Cod League with the Bourne Braves, and he pitched very well against other top collegiate talent. The southpaw compiled a 2.25 ERA in six starts while posting a 31/3 K/BB ratio. He was dominant at times and allowed two or fewer earned runs in all but one of his starts. Due to his strong performance, he was named to the Cape Cod League All Star Game. Most organizations value strong results in the Cape because it showcases a player’s ability to perform against other top prospects. It also gives scouts a chance to see college players hit with wooden bats. Lardner certainly drew eyes in the Cape, including the Cardinals’.

Mac Lardner (Gonzaga University)

The Cardinals are also likely betting on some projection with Lardner as his fastball sits between 87 and 91 miles per hour. His 6’4” frame has room to add more strength and this could cause his fastball to tick up into the low to mid 90s consistently. Additionally, he has the potential for three average or better pitches which bodes well for his prospects of staying in the rotation. His most advanced offspeed pitch is his changeup, but he has also shown good feel for a curveball.

On the mound, Lardner has smooth, easy and repeatable mechanics that are not too aggressive, allowing him to command the ball well. At this point, he has better pitchability than pure stuff, but that could change if he continues to mature physically.

With this signing, the Cardinals have added another left-hander into their pitching ranks after selecting southpaw Levi Prater in the third round of the 2020 Draft.

Link to second Lardner video

LHP Omar Sanchez
B-You Prospects Academy – Caguas, Puerto Rico
5’10”, 185 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Left

Omar Sanchez

Sanchez recently turned 18 years old and fits the mold of an athletic pitcher that the Cardinals typically look for. Despite committing to Florida Southwestern State College, Sanchez has signed with the Cardinals instead and begin his professional career. The southpaw does not have elite velocity as his fastball typically sits near 91 miles per hour. However, he gets good arm side run on the pitch allowing it to be more effective than the velocity might suggest. Also, he has filled out his 5’10” frame with some strength already and it seems likely that the Cardinals player development can add a few ticks to his fastball by getting him to explode off the mound a little more.

His go-to offspeed pitch that appears to have a 12-6 curveball shape but can also get a little slurvy.  He is inconsistent with the pitch and occasionally gets some sharp movement, but he can struggle to command it at times. However, the pitch does appear to be promising and may even be a plus offering at some point. Sanchez also throws a changeup that he seems to command well, but it does not seem to have too much movement which may make it very hittable. If he can learn to add some run or some drop to the pitch while maintaining his command, then he could have a solid three pitch mix.

Omar Sanchez (B-You Academy)

In terms of mechanics, Sanchez has a long stride that allows him to utilize his lower half. He also consistently sets up on the third base side of the mound. One of the more noticeable things in his delivery is his tendency to look at the ground while he lifts his leg. Because of this, he needs to find the plate quickly while he is striding towards it. This could be something that the Cardinals change as he matures and learns to throw more strikes.

Because Sanchez is not a major college prospect, and he also did not get drafted, he is going to be rawer than the other players the Cardinals have added this week. However, he does have the potential for a solid three pitch mix and the Cardinals are likely hoping that his athleticism will allow him to make adjustments as he begins his professional career.

OF Matt Koperniak
Trinity College, senior
6’0”, 185 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Matt Koperniak

Koperniak is the second Cardinals signee of the day to have played his college ball in the small northern state of Connecticut. The Division III star at Trinity College had recently transferred to use his final semester of eligibility at Kansas State in 2021, but decided to sign with St. Louis’ instead.

Koperniak, 22, was a two-time all-conference first-teamer at Trinity. In 2019, he hit .394 with six home runs and 31 runs batted in. As a junior, he hit .388 with five home runs and 20 RBI. In three games this spring, he went 7-for-13 including a double and a home run with four RBI and three runs scored.

Matt Koperniak (Trinity College)

In 2019 as a designated hitter, Koperniak was third in the summer New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) with a .376 batting average and seventh with 37 RBI. He hit five home runs and collected 15 doubles. In 2018 there, the left-handed batter hit .318 with a home run and 24 RBI.

Blake Newberry’s scouting report

Koperniak has a solid combination of tools as he has the potential for plus speed, power, and defense, while he also has a chance for average power.

The outfielder showed a strong ability to make consistent contact with the ball as he struck out just 34 times in nearly 500 collegiate plate appearances. This ability to make consistent contact with the ball should help him adapt well to the increased competition in the professional ranks. He also showed that he could hit in the New England Collegiate Baseball League which featured plenty of Division One talent.

Additionally, he stole 48 bases and was only thrown out six times as he was not only fast on the bases, but also intelligent and good at getting jumps. This speed should give him the ability to stick in center field as well as be a plus defender as he has solid range.

Also, even though he hit just 13 home runs in his college career, he also added 30 doubles and 9 triples. This is impressive power production even if most of his extra base hits did not go over the fence. However, as can be seen in his video, he does have some raw power in his swing, it just needs to translate into the game. If he can do that, then he should be able to hit a modest amount of home runs.

In terms of swing mechanics, Koperniak has an open stance and uses a medium sized leg kick to close his stance. This is his timing mechanism and it does not seem to take away from his ability to make consistent contact with the ball. He also has a simple loading mechanism in which he is able to generate a large amount of torque by slightly pushing his back elbow towards the first base dugout. This creates a ‘pinch’ near his shoulder blade area that gets unleashed when he swings, allowing him to generate a tremendous amount of bat speed. The ball jumps of his bat for this reason and this provides some hope for more power in the future.

If he can build on these tools, then he has the chance to be a solid overall player, both at the plate and in the field.

 

P Gianluca Dalatri
University of North Carolina, redshirt junior
6’6”, 240 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Gianluca Dalatri

Blessed with both considerable size and talent, 22-year old Luca Dalatri has to this point been unable to reach his potential after being bitten time and time again by the injury bug.

As a high schooler out of New Jersey in 2016, Dalatri was a final-round pick (40th) by the Rockies, but went to the University of North Carolina instead. As a freshman, he started 15 games, pitching 97 innings with an ERA of 3.34 and was named a Frosh All-American. He made just seven appearances as a sophomore due to a stress reaction in his elbow that kept him sidelined three months.

Gianluca Dalatri (University of North Carolina)

In 2019, Dalatri was named a pre-season All-American before a hip injury in early May ended his season. He posted a 2.25 ERA in six outings, with 35 strikeouts in 32 innings. Dalatri again was drafted, and again in the 40th round, this time by the Detroit Tigers, but again, he stayed in school.

Injury returned in February 2020 when Dalatri experienced a small fracture in his right elbow and surgery to insert a screw was required.

Overall, Dalatri has a 3.12 ERA in 28 collegiate games, all starts, along with 151 strikeouts and 34 walks in 156 innings.

His father Richard played professional football and coached in the NBA for 30 years, including as its first full-time strength and conditioning coach and his Mom played professional baseball in Italy.

In November 2019, Dalatri wrote an in-depth article called “Alone on the Mound” in which he detailed his injuries and the mental strain that accompanied them. It is a long read, but definitely worthwhile to get a better insight into his long struggles.

Blake Newberry’s scouting report

Despite his size, Dalatri is not overpowering. He does, however, have a very good feel for pitching and is able to throw strikes consistently. The right-hander sits around 90-91 miles per hour with his fastball, but he can reach 94. He also throws an advanced changeup and two good breaking balls (curveball and slider). He is willing and able to throw all of these pitches and this allows him to mix his pitches very well in order to keep the hitter guessing. For an undrafted signing, he has plenty of polish and if he can get healthy, he has the potential to be a fast riser in the Cardinals system.

Despite his limited velocity right now, he gets good movement on his fastball which helps him miss bats and generate weak contact. He is also very good at establishing the lower part of the strike zone and he likes to pitch there consistently in order to generate large amounts of ground balls.

Dalatri does a good job of distinguishing his curveball and his slider. His slider gets plenty of sharp horizontal movement when he throws it well, while his curveball has more of a 11-5 shape. This allows him to give the hitter different looks and make them worry about both vertical and horizontal movement. Dalatri is very good at changing speeds and changing planes on the hitter and this helps him get outs despite his lack of velocity.

There is a chance that Dalatri will have four above average pitches to pair with his excellent control and command. That gives him the potential to be a solid starter in the MLB, he simply needs to stay healthy and keep improving.

Additionally, there is likely some projection left with Dalatri as well. When he was dealing with his injuries, he talked about simply getting through the offseason and trying to limit his pain, as opposed to improving his game. When he gets healthy and is able to spend time improving himself, there is a good chance that he will be able to add velocity to his fastball and more movement to his offspeed pitches.

Your authors

TCN analyst Blake Newberry wrote the player capsules and Brian Walton filled in the rest.


For more

To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Minor League History Series – Best Seasons – 1963-2019


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals Pick Six to Conclude 2020 Draft

photo: Masyn Winn (Perfect Game)

By Blake Newberry and Brian Walton

The second and final day of the 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, with the St. Louis Cardinals selections’ being made by AGM/Scouting Director Randy Flores, consists of six selections in rounds 2-5 on Thursday, June 11.

St. Louis’ initial Day 2 selection is Texas high school shortstop-pitcher Masyn Winn.

Overall, encompassing these six picks and the first-rounder named on Wednesday, the Cardinals have been allocated $7,901,100, a total which they can exceed by up to five percent if they choose (this is a correction).

The Cardinals and the Giants have the most Thursday selections, with St. Louis’ two extra picks added via the Competitive Balance program and in compensation for the loss of free agent Marcell Ozuna.

See 2020 Draft Day 1 details here.

Cardinals Select Jordan Walker in 2020 MLB Draft’s First Round

For more

Return to this article at The Cardinal Nation often on Thursday evening and beyond as information about all St. Louis’ draft picks will be posted shortly after they are made. Also, at the end of the evening, we will add comments by Flores, so please check back often.

All player capsules are written by The Cardinal Nation analyst Blake Newberry.

St. Louis’ selections – 2020 Draft Day 2

Second round, 54th overall

SS/RHP Masyn Winn
Kingwood (TX) High School
5’11, 180 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Another pick, another high school player as the Cardinals seem to be targeting high ceiling prep talent in the early rounds of this draft. Winn was announced as both a right-handed pitcher and a shortstop, meaning that the Cardinals may give him the ability to play both positions in the minor leagues. In the field, there are no questions that Winn should be able to stick as a shortstop due to his elite athleticism and strong throwing arm. Scouts also raved about his instincts as the position which add to his strong upside in the field. However, if there is a negative it is that he plays the game too fast and that can lead to mistakes. However, as he matures this may become less of an issue.

On the mound, he is electric despite his diminutive size for the position. He has a fastball that typically sits between 92-96 miles per hour and can reach 98 and 99. Like most power pitchers, his secondary offering is a slider that some scouts have rated as a plus pitch, even though it can get slurvy at times. This is as well as a less advanced changeup is a common problem for young pitchers, and these are issues that Winn will have to work through if he sticks on the mound. However, despite his inconsistent control, he certainly has the athleticism to make adjustments.

At the plate, Winn has shown good bat speed and has also hit a couple balls with higher than a 100 mph exit velocity at showcases. This gives him potential for a decent amount of power despite his lack of size. Additionally, Winn is capable of running a 6.5 second 60-yard time, which gives him the potential to be dangerous on the base paths. His swing is pretty simple with some late bat action that could lead to problems against more advanced pitching unless he is consistent with it. However, the ball jumps off his bat when he connects, and like many high school hitters, his biggest flaw at the plate seems to a propensity to chase balls out of the zone.

Overall, Winn is an exciting player with very good potential on the mound and in the field, and his main flaw seems to be that he plays the game too aggressively. This can lead to mistakes in the field and an overly aggressive approach at the plate. However, with a little more refinement, he could learn to slow the game down and become a very good prospect.

Winn has committed to the University of Arkansas, but it seems unlikely that the Cardinals will have much difficulty signing him.

The pool amount for this pick is $1,338,500.


 
Competitive Balance Round B, 63rd overall

RHP Markevian (Tink) Hence
Watson Chapel High School (Pine Bluff, AR)
6’1”, 175 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Tink Hence

For the second pick in a row the Cardinals have selected a high school right-hander committed to the University of Arkansas. Hence is still very raw as he has yet to turn 18 years old, but he has a very live arm and a feel for three different offspeed pitches. Hence, who goes by “Tink,” has a fastball that typically sits between 91 and 93 miles per hour and can touch 95, which is solid for a prep pitcher who weighs just 175 pounds.

Tink Hence (Future Stars Series)

What is most impressive about the Arkansas commit is that he has a feel for both a curveball and a slider and they are both separate and distinct pitches. Most high school pitchers and even some college ones have a tendency to combine these two pitches into something that resembles a slurve, but Hence’s ability to throw both of these pitches has caused most scouts to give him plus potential for each breaking ball. He also throws a changeup that definitely lags behind his other three pitches but has a chance to be average. It is the potential for four average or better pitches, as well as room to fill out his frame that makes him an exciting prospect.

If he can add polish to his four-pitch mix and refine his mechanics a bit, he could become a dependable starter with the ability to throw a fastball in the upper 90’s. His advanced feel for his offspeed pitches gives him clear starter potential, but as a young high school player he will likely need more developmental time than some of the other options at this point in the draft.

The pool amount for this pick is $1,076,300.

 
Second round (supplemental), 70th overall

OF Alec Burleson
East Carolina University
6’2, 212 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Alec Burleson

With the pick that the Cardinals gained as compensation for losing Marcell Ozuna to the Braves in free agency they have selected another player with two-way potential, although Burleson was announced as an outfielder. Despite decent results on the mound, he does not really have any standout attributes and will likely play the outfield in pro ball unless something changes in his career.

At the plate Burleson has a more advanced hit tool than power tool even though his size gives him plus raw power. The left-handed hitter struggled at the plate during his freshman year, posting just a .607 OPS in 103 at-bats. However, he bounced back in a strong way as a sophomore, posting a .370/.399/.573/.972 slash line with nine home runs (0 as a freshman). One worrying part of his game is his lack of interest in taking walks as he walked just 14 times as a sophomore. His strikeout rate was just under 9%, however, so he is at least very good at making consistent contact. He got off to a hot start this year before the season was cancelled, batting .375 with three home runs in 64 at-bats.

Alec Burleson (East Carolina University)

Burleson has a pretty simple swing with a very small amount of movement. His stride is simply a timing mechanism as he lifts his front foot off the ground and then sets it down in almost the same spot when he is ready to swing. The lack of movement in his body during his setup and load helps him make lots of contact, but the Cardinals may try to tweak his swing in order to make it a little more violent so that he can add power.

In the field, Burleson profiles as a corner outfielder or first baseman as he has limited athleticism. His strong throwing arm from his pitching days should give him enough strength to stick in right field, but scouts say that he has a good feel for first base, so that could be another option for him.

He is clearly a good hitter, and even though his lack of power may be somewhat concerning due to his defensive profile, the Cardinals are likely hoping that he will develop some over-the-fence power as he matures. This is the first college player that the Cardinals have taken, and even though he is far from a complete player, he should be a pretty safe pick due to his hitting ability. If Burleson can develop power and take a few more walks, could be a very good all-around hitter, but his current hitting ability makes him a safer pick than the Cardinals’ first three selections.

The pool amount for this pick is $906,800.


 
Third round, 93rd overall

LHP Levi Prater
University of Oklahoma
6’0, 184 pounds
Bats: Both
Throws: Left

Levi Prater

After the Cardinals’ first three selections came out of the high school ranks, their last two picks have been college players. Prater was certainly productive as he posted a 4.09 ERA in 33 appearances out of the bullpen as a freshman before tallying a 3.26 ERA in 80 2/3 innings out of the rotation as a sophomore. Additionally, despite his small frame, he showed strong strikeout numbers as he fanned 97 hitters. He was also off to a decent start in 2020 as well as he posted a 3.42 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings. Another notable thing about Prater is that he was left with just two fingers on his right hand after a lawnmower accident when he was two years old. However, he has been able to overcome this and turn himself into a solid all-around pitcher.

Many scouts do not think that Prater has very strong tools as a pitcher, as he does not have a true dominant pitch or elite size. However, he makes up for this with good deception, toughness, and competitiveness on the mound. His fastball sits at just 90-91 miles per hour but occasionally reaches 93-94. He has also shown a slider that he throws effectively to both lefties and righties, as well as a changeup that is pretty effective as well. Scouts believe that all three pitches will eventually become average, but without elite velocity, Prater will need to rely on command and deception if he wants to make it into the big-league rotation.

In terms of mechanics, Prater sets up on the first base side of the rubber and his body turns in slightly when he winds up. This allows him to hide the ball from the hitter for a split second longer. This is how he creates deception that allows his lack of elite swing-and-miss stuff to produce better results. Additionally, the southpaw has a long stride that allows him to release the ball closer to the plate, which could help his fastball seem a bit faster.

Due to Prater’s small frame and lack of high-end velocity, some scouts think he will eventually become a reliever, so that his velocity can tick up higher, maybe even into the mid-90s. However, with a solid three pitch mix and some deception in his delivery, Prater might be able to stay in the rotation as a back-end starter.

This is a pretty standard Cardinals draft pick – a productive college pitcher with pitchability in the middle or later rounds. The Cardinals have been very good at developing pitchers, and especially college pitchers, so they will be hoping to do the same with Prater.

However, Prater is not a slam dunk to sign. Note that this is the last of the Cardinals selections for which they could receive a 2021 compensation pick if the 2020 draftee does not come to terms – unless MLB changes its rules in the interim.

The pool amount for this pick is $627,900.

 
Fourth round, 122nd overall

RHP Ian Bedell
University of Missouri
6’2”, 198 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Ian Bedell

Bedell is the second consecutive college pitcher, and fourth pitcher taken by the Cardinals overall. His selection also sticks with the Cardinals trend of drafting young players, and especially players that are young for their class, as Bedell skipped his high school senior season to enroll early at Mizzou. Additionally, none of the pitchers St. Louis drafted have elite size, and Bedell fits that trend. He was rated as the No. 88 prospect on MLB Pipeline entering the draft.

Like Prater, Bedell lacks high-end velocity, as his fastball sat just 89-91 miles per hour this year out of the rotation. It ticked up to 95 miles per hour when he pitched out of the bullpen last year though, and he will probably end up throwing consistently in the low 90s. His changeup is his next best pitch with most scouts believing that it will eventually become an above-average offering. He also throws a curveball that can be occasionally slurvy, as he does not have great feel for the pitch yet. He is also working on a slider, and he will need to separate those two pitches in order to have a solid starting-caliber arsenal.

Bedell’s calling card is his command. He is somewhat limited in terms of pure stuff, but he is able to locate his pitches well and does a good job of limiting of his walks. Additionally, he is very athletic and very confident on the mound and those appear to be traits that the Cardinals were targeting with their pitchers this year.

Bedell also had decent production in college for Mizzou, although he did have a limited track record as a starter. He struggled in seven appearances as a freshman, but then he dominated as a long reliever in his sophomore year, when he posted a 1.56 ERA in 40 1/3 innings with a 3:1 K/BB ratio. Bedell moved into the rotation as a junior in 2020 and compiled a 3.70 ERA in four starts while maintaining a strong 35:4 K/BB ratio. Additionally, he posted a 0.59 ERA as a starter in the Cape Cod League last summer.

There is some risk that Bedell will not make the grade as a starter, but he had strong results as a reliever in college, so he should have a pretty high floor. He could benefit from adding a couple more ticks onto his fastball so that he can reach the low-to-mid 90s consistently, but if he can develop all of his secondary pitches, he could get by as a starter who is able to locate his four pitches well.

The Cardinals are probably hoping that the athletic pitcher can make adjustments and control his mechanics well enough to develop into a back-end starter, but he at least has the potential to be a solid reliever.

The pool amount for this pick is $469,000.

Fifth round, 152nd overall

OF L.J. Jones IV
Long Beach State University
6’0”, 225 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

LJ Jones IV

After opening the draft with three straight prep selections, the Cardinals closed with four consecutive college choices. L.J. Jones is the final pick of the Cardinals and is a bit of an unknown. In fact, he was not even listed among Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospects. However, this does not mean that he is not a promising prospect.

Jones arrived at Long Beach State and played a big role for the team in his freshman season. He slashed .312/.358/.408/.766 while striking out in just under 15% of his plate appearances in 2018. He was looking to build off this success in his sophomore year, but he made just one plate appearance before taking a pitch off his hand and missing the rest of the season. Jones returned in 2020 and slashed an improved .327/.377/.509/.886 but he only received 55 at-bats before the season was shut down. He had an unlucky college career that resulted in him taking a medical redshirt and dealing with the COVID-shortened season. However, the Cardinals clearly believe that he has the talent to play in professional baseball as a fifth-round pick.

Jones is very similar to the Alec Burleson, the Cardinals’ compensatory round draft pick because he is a corner player with a strong hit tool but not a lot of power. The Cardinals are likely banking on him developing power once he reaches pro ball, and with a sturdy 6’0”, 225-pound frame, he has the build to hit more balls out of the yard. It is concerning that he hit just three home runs in his college career, and also took just 11 walks. These are things that he will need to work on, but the Cardinals were clearly enamored with him ability to hit the ball consistently.

Jones has interesting hitting mechanics. He stands nearly upright before striding forward to get into a more athletic hitting position. He creates a good bat angle that looks geared towards fly balls, meaning that there could be more home run potential in his swing. The right-handed hitter also has very good bat control as he has shown a strong ability to hit outside pitches the other way instead of trying to pull them. However, he does have plenty of strength in his swing as he crushed an opposite field home run early in 2020.

Overall, Jones has very good ability to hit the ball and looks like he could have more power in his swing and his frame. On the defensive side, it is likely that the Cardinals will start his career in the corner outfield. However, with the Dirtbags he also played some first base  and should be able to move there if he does not stick in the outfield.

The Cardinals were likely drawn to Jones because of his strong hitting, and that will likely be his carrying tool in the professional ranks.

The pool amount for this pick is $350,300.


Draft day 2 reactions and updates

Winn hugs his Mom, Tiffany Rawson.

“The hug was everything that we have been through all the time,” the 18-year old told the Houston Chronicle. “Through all those tournaments, losing a lot of vacations,  and we really dedicated everything to baseball. This is what we did it for. Everything came true today.”

Winn is expected to sign.

Bedell also appears to be ready to roll.


Flo and Mo post-draft

Scouting director Randy Flores and PBO John Mozeliak hosted a post-draft media conference call Thursday night, touching on all six newly-drafted players.

Mo on Winn’s two-way potential: “Because he is young, he gives you opportunities to allow him to be experimental. Clearly, ultimately players are going to be wanting to move as quickly as they can and they will probably find a comfort zone they will enjoy doing. Most people, like us, will probably gravitate to what we most like to do and are having success doing. So we are just going to have to strike that right balance with him. He is clearly a very special player and the more you watch him – and candidly, I can’t wait to see him in real life – he is going to be a fun player to watch.”

Flo on Hence: “When Tink is this young and has this kind of feel for his breaking ball, and you can see his body and physicality growing over the fall, the leaps he had made even from the summer circuit into that fall showcase in Jupiter and some of the looks we were able to get on video this spring, there was belief that his best days were ahead… When you combine that kind of jump in performance with the kind of jump in stuff, we really do think there is a ton more in there, as well.”

Flo on Burleson: “Our goal and our anticipated plan is for him to focus on hitting. One of the things we are excited about is a player like that who commits to hitting has a chance to have even more in the bat than our belief that he is already showing. We do believe that he commands the strike zone well and it is certainly nice that he is left-handed. As someone who had spent time two ways, we like the bat better. That also carried him to Team USA. To get power there with some versatility and upside from a college player at that spot in the draft is something that we were excited about.”

Flo on Prater’s (and all draftees’) signability: “Signability is of utmost importance on all of these picks. When we made the selection, we were pretty confident and are confident we are moving toward an agreement.”

Flo on Bedell: “Our belief and our scouts’ belief and our analytics belief and our process belief is that there are better days ahead for Ian Bedell. At least better days compared to his first few starts his junior year. We would have assumed, anticipated and believed his season would have turned around. That is a make-believe season and that is what is so fun about this job. You are projecting. Projecting the unknown and making a bet. And we wanted to make a bet on Ian Bedell.”

Flo on Jones having been out since 2018: “We have time on our hands. There isn’t baseball going right now so there is continued time for continued recovery. Our scouts who saw him, both live and on video really liked the passes he took at the baseball. There is a chance at power there. And with his age being what it is (he turns 21 later this month), with time on his side, I think we are in a good spot to make that bet in that fifth round and see how his continued progression on that time off the field continues to improve our belief in the power potential in that bat.”


Your authors

As noted above, TCN analyst Blake Newberry is writing the player capsules and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Draft Recap 2009-2019 – Fourth Round


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

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Cardinals Select Jordan Walker in 2020 MLB Draft’s First Round

photo: Jordan Walker (Baseball Factory)

By Blake Newberry and Brian Walton

The first round of the much-shortened 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft was held on Wednesday evening, June 10. The original event of 40 rounds was scheduled to be held over three days in conjunction with the College World Series in Omaha. However, in a year with intense financial pressures on teams, ownership opted to reduce this draft to just five rounds, conducted online on Wednesday and Thursday.

By virtue of their 2019 success, the St. Louis Cardinals received the 21st overall selection in the 2020 draft, which was announced Wednesday evening.

That selection was Georgia high school third baseman Jordan Walker.

The organization’s final six picks will be made on Thursday, starting at 4:00 p.m. Central time. No other team in this draft has more than St. Louis’ total of seven selections.

St. Louis received two additional picks following the second round. One was a Competitive Balance Selection and the other was received in compensation for free agent Marcell Ozuna leaving as a free agent. (For completeness, the Ozuna pick follows the first round (no. 37 overall), but was sent to Tampa Bay as part of the Matthew Liberatore trade, with St. Louis also receiving the Rays’ no. 63 overall selection in return.)

To spend on signing bonuses for the seven players they take in this draft, St. Louis has a pool allotment of $7,901,100, a total which they can exceed by up to five percent if they choose (this is a correction). They can also move money among their seven picks if they so choose. The slot value for the no. 21 overall pick is $3,132,300.

A special expense deferral will be implemented this year. Draft picks will receive no more than $100,000 of their signing bonus in 2020, with the remainder split between 2021 and 2022. Also, all slot values across the draft were held constant from 2019.

With no minor league season expected in 2020, the newest Cardinals will not play in official game action until 2021.

To reference the Cardinals’ new draft class on an ongoing basis, each player will have a profile located on a holding team called “DRAFT UNSIGNED PLAYERS”. This can be accessed at the bottom of the drop-down menu in the red column in the left menu called “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” or click here.

St. Louis’ selections – 2020 Draft day 1

First round, 21st overall

3B Jordan Walker
Decatur High School, Georgia
6’5, 220 pounds
Bats; Right
Throws: Right

Jordan Walker

The first thing that stands out about Jordan Walker is his massive size. His 6’5”, 220 pound frame gives him the potential for plenty of power in the professional ranks. However, like most high school hitters, and especially power-focused ones, Walker does have a swing-and-miss tendency at the plate.

This pick is somewhat reminiscent of the Nolan Gorman selection as both players are power hitting third basemen drafted out of the high school ranks.  Walker just turned 18 in May. Additionally, this pick follows the Cardinals recent trend of drafting high upside high school hitters with their first pick, as the team has drafted Nick Plummer (2015), Delvin Perez (2016), and Gorman (2018) with three of its last four first round picks.

Largely due to Walker’s size, scouts are worried that he may be limited to first base or a corner outfield position. However, Perfect Game clocked him at a 6.56 second 60-yard dash which is solid for his size and may demonstrate enough overall athleticism to stay at the hot corner. PG had Walker as their no. 2 high school player in this draft. MLB Pipeline ranked him no. 33 among all draft-eligibles.

Additionally, Walker has plenty of arm strength for the position as he pitched in high school and threw a fastball that sat around 93 miles per hour. All of this seems to point towards third base being his long-term home, although he could shift to right field with his arm strength if the Cardinals need him to, especially considering that Nolan Gorman is ahead of him.

At the plate, Walker has easy raw power due to his massive size, and the Cardinals clearly are hoping that they can refine his approach at the plate and cut down on some of his swing-and-miss tendencies. However, despite these tendencies, when he hits the ball, he hits it with authority as he has flashed an exit velocity that can reach 100 miles per hour and above. The Cardinals will hope that their player development system can iron out any issues with Walker’s swing and approach that prevent his plus raw power from showing. However, he does have plenty of size and physical gifts that cannot be taught.

The early parts of the first round included plenty of college players  selected, due in part to the difficulties of scouting high school players amid the pandemic due to their lack of a track record. However, Walker was able to receive a good amount of exposure to scouts at showcases and other scouting events early in the year.

Additionally, he raked in his senior season of high school as he hit four home runs while batting .458 in just eight games, after playing in MLB’s Prospect Development Pipeline League last summer, where he was third in the league with five RBIs.

Jordan Walker (MLB Prospect Development Pipeline League)

Overall, Walker is a bit of a risky prospect with his youth and propensity to swing and miss. However, he has the potential for plenty of power, and may even become an above average fielder despite not receiving too much credit on that area of his game. Also, if he can even be an average hitter at the plate, then he should have more than enough power to turn into a productive hitter.

Walker also has solid pedigree as his Mom attended Harvard and his Dad attended MIT. Additionally, his mother played basketball and ran track. Walker is pretty smart himself too, as he committed to play baseball at Duke, causing some scouts to believe that he will be a tough sign. However, as the 21st overall pick, he will presumably sign with the Cardinals, with the only question being for how much.

The pool amount for this pick is $3,132,300.

Quotes and updates

This article was updated later Wednesday evening after Walker and Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores separately met with the media.

In a night of dreams being made, Walker was joined on a Zoom call by his father Derek and mother Katrina, who has an MS from Emory University and a Masters from Washington University in St. Louis. Jordan is the second of their three children.

“I can’t describe how excited I am,” Jordan said. “The minute I heard my name called, I was jumping for joy. I really can’t think of the words to describe the feeling I’m feeling right now, but I can’t wait to play in the organization.”

Derek was clear that Jordan’s goal is to play baseball and called out MLB’s scholarship program, which will allow his son to put money away to get his degree later, calling it the “best of both worlds”.

St. Louis President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak co-hosted with Flores. In his 25th draft as a Cardinal, Mo called Walker “driven and ambitious”.

Flores believes that Walker has the athleticism and actions to remain at third base. “Our hope is he stays on the dirt,” the scouting director said. He clarified that to mean third, not first, complimenting Walker’s actions, grace and speed, while noting he is a big man.

I asked Walker to provide a self-scouting report. “My main strength is power,” he replied. “If I keep on progressing, I can truly be a power hitter in MLB – if I progress like I want to progress.

“Right now, I like the ball more when it is middle in. That is the area where I hit the ball most consistently.  I struggle a little bit on the outside corner. I am less consistent hitting it there. It is something I definitely want to be more consistent at.”

Walker said he is hitting daily against college-bound pitchers and is also throwing and working out each day.

Flores believes his first-rounder is signable. “We are very hopeful that Jordan Walker is ready to start his career,” he said. “We were very confident when we went into that.”

Walker (and his parents) seem on board, too.

“Whenever they tell me to come down when this is all over, I will be ready to come down,” the 18-year old said.

Asked  by a hometown television reporter if he plans to sign with St. Louis, Walker briefly looked at his Dad before replying, “I think so.” Derek added a caveat but also confirmed the family’s support. “Unless something happens between now and signing, I think he is going there,” Mr. Walker concluded.

Walker was scouted by Cardinals area scout Charles Peterson and is being advised by B.B. Abbott of Jet Sports Management. The agency represents a number of current major leaguers, including Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Gavin Lux, Kyle Seager and Matt Olson.


Your authors

As in 2019, TCN staff writer Blake Newberry is writing the player capsules with Brian Walton filling in the rest.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Draft Recap 2009-2019 – Fourth Round


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

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© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

2020 Cardinals Hall of Fame Announcement Coming this Week

St. Louis Cardinals release

The St. Louis Cardinals will announce the 2020 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class during a televised 30-minute Hall of Fame announcement special on FOX Sports Midwest on Friday, May 22, at 6:30 PM CT.

Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III will be joined by Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin to announce the two modern players elected by the fans during the nine-week online balloting process that included Cardinals greats Steve Carlton, Keith Hernandez, Tom Herr, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria, Lee Smith and John Tudor.  He will also name a veteran player selected for induction by the club’s Red Ribbon committee of Cardinals baseball experts.

Each member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame will be permanently enshrined in the Cardinals Hall of Fame Gallery presented by Edward Jones located on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village, just outside the entrance to the team’s museum.

FOX Sports Midwest release

The Cardinals’ four-game sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field from last September and the announcement of the 2020 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class headline FOX Sports Midwest’s Cardinals programming for May 18-24.

Cardinals Programming on FOX Sports Midwest for May 18-24 
Times Central | Programming available in the Cardinals television footprint | streaming on FOX Sports GO

Mon. May 18 7 p.m. Cardinals Classics: Sept. 19, 2019: Cardinals at Cubs
Tue. May 19 7 p.m. Cardinals Classics: Sept. 20, 2019: Cardinals at Cubs
Wed. May 20 7 p.m. Cardinals Classics: Sept. 21, 2019: Cardinals at Cubs
Thu. May 21 7 p.m. Cardinals Classics: Sept. 22, 2019: Cardinals at Cubs
Fri. May 22 6:30 p.m. Cardinals 2020 Hall of Fame Induction Class announcement
Fri. May 22 7 p.m. Replay: July 15, 2019: Pirates at Cardinals
Sun. May 24 10:30 a.m. Cardinals Insider
Sun. May 24 7 p.m. Replay: Aug. 27, 2019: Cardinals at Brewers

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Draft Recap 2009-2019 – Compensatory First Round


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

2006 World Series Games Airing on FOX Sports Midwest

photo: 2006 World Champions (St. Louis Cardinals)

FOX Sports Midwest release

St. Louis Cardinals fans can relive the team’s 2006 World Series championship on FOX Sports Midwest. The TV home of the Cardinals will replay the Cardinals’ four wins vs. the Detroit Tigers – Games 1, 3, 4 and 5 — starting Monday, April 20.

FOX Sports Midwest will also air a new one-hour special, Cardinals Top 25 Moments of the Decade, chronicling the best regular-season moments from 2010 to 2019. The show premieres Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m.

Cardinals Programming on FOX Sports Midwest for April 20-26 (times Central)

Mon. April 20 7 p.m. 2006 World Series Game 1: Cardinals at Tigers
Tue. April 21 7 p.m. 2006 World Series Game 3: Tigers at Cardinals
Wed. April 22 7 p.m. 2006 World Series Game 4: Tigers at Cardinals
Thu. April 23 7 p.m. Cardinals Top 25 Moments of the Decade (2010-19)
Fri. April 24 7 p.m. 2006 World Series Game 5: Tigers at Cardinals
Sat. April 25 11 a.m. Cardinals Kids Show
Sun. April 26 12 p.m. Cardinals Insider
Sun. April 26 7 p.m. Replay: Sept. 29, 2019: Cubs at Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals 2020 Photo Day – Partial

photo: Daniel Ponce de Leon (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals held their annual photo day on Wednesday, February 19. Normally this would mean that all 73 players in camp as well as the 11 coaches would pass through a number of photography stations to have their pictures taken, in the first of 10 years wearing the Nike swoosh.

However, as luck would have it, Mother Nature intervened and those photographers who were set up outside, including Jasen Vinlove from Imagn, did not get to shoot everyone. So instead of the hoped-for three installments – one post each with pitchers, position players and coaches, the 39 who were captured by Vinlove are shown here together.

Cardinals Photo Day 2020 (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

For more, please click here to be taken to the Cardinals team roster page, including all major leaguers at the end of last season. From there, select any player’s name to be taken to his Player Profile page. In addition, all minor league rosters and the Roster Matrix, with all transactions and a view of rosters by level and position can be accessed from “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” on the left menu bar, underneath the site logo.

This gallery is organized by logical category assignments which are mine. Pitchers lead the way, followed by position players and coaches.


Projected rotation (6)

Miles Mikolas (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Jack Flaherty (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Carlos Martinez (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, Kwang-Hyun Kim


Relievers (7)

Brett Cecil (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
John Brebbia (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Andrew Miller (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
John Gant (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Jordan Hicks, Tyler Webb, Giovanny Gallegos


Rotation candidates – 40-man (8)

Alex Reyes (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Daniel Ponce de Leon (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Ryan Helsley (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Jake Woodford (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Alvaro Seijas (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Austin Gomber, Genesis Cabrera, Ricardo Sanchez


Relief candidates – 40-man (1)

Not pictured: Junior Fernandez


Non-roster starters (10)

Tommy Parsons (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Griffin Roberts (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Angel Rondon (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Zack Thompson (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Akeem Bostick, Nabil Crismatt, Alex FaGalde, Evan Kruczynski, Matthew Liberatore, Johan Oviedo


Non-roster relievers (7)

Roel Ramirez (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Ramon Santos (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Kodi Whitley (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Jesus Cruz, Bryan Dobzanski, Seth Elledge, Rob Kaminsky


Projected starters (8)

Matt Carpenter (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Dexter Fowler (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Harrison Bader (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Paul DeJong (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Kolten Wong (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Tyler O’Neill (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Paul Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina


Projected reserves (5)

Matt Wieters (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Brad Miller (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Tommy Edman (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Lane Thomas, Rangel Ravelo


40-man players (6)

Justin Williams (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Austin Dean (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Yairo Muñoz, Edmundo Sosa, Andrew Knizner, Elehuris Montero


Non-roster catchers (9)

Jose Godoy (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Julio Rodriguez (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Carlos Soto (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Aaron Antonini, Oscar Hernandez, Ivan Herrera, Dennis Ortega, Pedro Pages, Alexis Wilson


Non-roster infielders (5)

Evan Mendoza (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
John Nogowski (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Max Schrock (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Luken Baker, Nolan Gorman


Non-roster outfielders (1)

Dylan Carlson (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Coaches (11)

Mike Shildt (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)
Jobel Jimenez (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Not pictured: Mike Maddux, Bryan Eversgerd, Jamie Pogue, Kleininger Teran, Oliver Marmol, Willie McGee, Jeff Albert, Ron “Pop” Warner, Stubby Clapp

All photos were taken by Jasen Vinlove of Imagn and were provided via license.


For more

To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Breaking Down Cardinals Reserve Decisions – Spring 2020


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Annual members may purchase the new 2020 Prospect Guide for less than half price. In addition, our new, limited edition printed and bound Guide is now available.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – 2020

photo: Nolan Gorman and Dylan Carlson

An annual tradition continues with the unveiling of the 15th version of The Cardinal Nation Top Prospect 50 List, beginning on Monday, November 11.

During the period we call “50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 Cardinals Prospects”, a new top St. Louis Cardinals prospect is disclosed each day, starting with number 50 and carrying us to number 1 on December 30th – our top prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system coming into the 2020 season. We will continue into January with a series of articles analyzing the list from a number of different perspectives.

Who will be number 1 this year, replacing four-time leader Alex Reyes? How will the comparison between Dylan Carlson and Nolan Gorman conclude for the new king of the farm system – or will an underdog slip ahead of the highly-heralded duo?

As always, following the top 50 countdown will be our annual 12-pack of “best-of”, “just-missed” and in-depth analysis articles. This series will conclude as the arrival of Instructional Camp and Winter Warm-Up signal that pitchers and catchers will be reporting in just four more weeks.

Continuing our well-oiled process, the final ranking representing the site is a melding of three individual prospect lists. Our 2019 voters return for another year – TCN owner Brian Walton, reporter Derek Shore and you, the readers.

Since just after Labor Day, the members of our free message board community voted for their own Cardinals prospect list. This detailed annual ranking involves considerable debate and discussion. The fan voting process has been imitated but never duplicated, as our readers continue to be the some of the most knowledgeable people anywhere when it comes to the players in the Cardinals minor league system.

The Cardinal Nation community ranking is given its customary one-third weighting to yield the countdown order to be unveiled here. The community leader who led the voting process, “14NyquisT,” a.k.a. John Baker, will summarize the group discussion in the individual player capsules posted daily. Shore will provide his scouting-oriented commentary on each member of the new top 50 as well as on a handful of others who just missed out.

To follow the countdown, you can either read each new story when posted on our home page every morning or click on the individual players’ names, which will be listed below as they are unveiled. You can also return to this page daily to check the current status of our Top 50 countdown.

As always, readers can join in the debate at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board, where there will be discussion surrounding that day’s entry onto the top prospect list.

To check out the corresponding rankings from each of the past 14 winters, click here, or you can always access them the permanent link in the left column located underneath the site logo called “PROSPECT RANKINGS”.


The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospects – 2020

Update: Due to the Cardinals’ acquisition of pitcher Matthew Liberatore on January 9, the left-hander was been installed as the new no. 3 prospect for 2020. In the process, the prior no. 3 through no. 6 prospects each move down one spot in the rankings. The prior no. 7, Randy Arozarena, was traded away in the same transaction.


There’s more!

At the conclusion of the countdown, a 12-part series follows, as we drill down into the details behind the top 50. Most of these articles will be exclusively for TCN members.

We will analyze individual top 50 lists, year-to-year changes and the top additions. The voters highlight their ranked players that did not make the combined top 50 and we unveil our All-Prospect Team – the highest-ranked players at each position.

We will take a view behind the numbers, a look back at our best and worst picks from the previous year, the top prospect list cut by level of play, those on the 2019 list who dropped off for 2020, a potential-only based-list and wrap it up with a tiered-view of the top 50.

Top 50 analysis 12-pack


Not yet a member of The Cardinal Nation?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

That way, you will not miss a word of the most in-depth Cardinals prospect information available anywhere, including every article in this top 50 prospect series!


The voting process

Here is a bit of insight into the process behind the picks. Earlier this fall, Brian Walton and Derek Shore independently documented their top prospects in the Cardinals minor league system. The Community vote was then folded in.

A weighted score was tabulated, which drove the ranking you will see here. The individual scores will also be shown on the player pages as they are unveiled each day, along with a wealth of additional information on each of the 50 prospects.

To come up with the 50 names, each of us submitted a list of 65 players. This year, there was a high level of general agreement, as 71 prospects were identified by at least one voter, with all members of the top 50 required to have received at least two votes. Ties were broken by the best individual voter score.

In terms of qualification, all players in the Cardinals minor league system are eligible, including those on the 40-man roster, as long as they have not exhausted their MLB rookie designation of at-bats or innings pitched. (For this year, Ryan Helsley, Lane Thomas and Tyler O’Neill are among those who are out. Andrew Knizner, Randy Arozarena, Junior Fernandez, Genesis Cabrera, Justin Williams, Edmundo Sosa and Adolis Garcia are in.)

The unequaled depth of coverage of the Cardinals system all year ‘round by The Cardinal Nation means there is much more behind these rankings than just a list of names.

Brian and Derek, who is Springfield-based, ranked based on personal observation as much as possible, and with local reporters in every affiliate city, TCN knows these players well. Brian was out to see the affiliates in person this spring, summer and fall. That included covering instructional camp, spring training, extended spring training, and the Arizona Fall League first-hand. We also received valuable input from coaches, scouts and others in and out of the organization.


Scouting Grades return for 2020

Brian Walton is again grading each prospect on a 2-8 scale, based on their most likely future potential. This mirrors the standard 20-80 scouting scale, while taking a simplified look at ultimate potential, rather than a full detailed, tool-by-tool breakdown. The grades are accompanied by a risk factor, which assesses the likelihood of a player reaching or exceeding his ceiling.

Grades:

8 – Elite talent
7 – All-star
6 – Above average starter, top to mid-rotation starting pitcher, closer
5 – Average starter, #3-5 starting pitcher, impact reliever
4 – Bench/bullpen contributor, spot starter
2 – Career minor leaguer

Risk:

Safe – Almost certain to reach ceiling
Low – Strong chance of reaching ceiling
Medium – Some work to become an MLB player
High – More projection than results
Extreme – Highly projectable, small chance of making the majors

Remember that these are point-in-time assessments, which can easily be overachieved (or underachieved) in the future as some players break out and others regress.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TCN 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #1 – Dylan Carlson

photo: Dylan Carlson (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown reaches no. 1 with the 2019 Player of the Year across the St. Louis Cardinals organization. For 2020, the question is when he will be deemed ready for St. Louis. FREE article.


2019 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round R5/Opt MLB debut
8 OF 10 23 98 6-3 205 S L 2016 1st 2020 2020

Link to Dylan Carlson’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Dylan Carlson


Selected 2019 stats

Tm AVG BABIP G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO SB wRC+ OBP SLG OPS
Spr 0.281 0.315 108 417 81 117 24 21 59 52 98 18 142 0.364 0.518 0.882
Mem 0.361 0.429 18 72 14 26 4 5 9 6 18 2 161 0.418 0.681 1.098
Total 0.292 126 489 95 143 28 26 68 58 116 20 0.372 0.542 0.914

TCN Scouting Grade: 6.5, Risk: low (click here to review scales)


Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (1): Our Message Board voters took note of Carlson’s extra base hit rate of .437 (62 of his 143 hits were XBH) and his reasonable K rate (20.6 percent).

Just last season Carlson was #11 with the Group and #8 overall in the final TCN ranking.

Grenadier1 said, “You see he has a great approach at the plate, He should develop power as he continues to mature. He has a great attitude and takes instructions well.”

stlcards25 wrote, “He’s just been solid everywhere so far and always young for his level. Good arm, good athlete. Simply put, the switch hitting Carlson is everything that you could expect out of a #1 prospect. I think that the Group nailed it.”

I’d just like to add that it was a pleasure putting your thoughts, comments, predictions and rebuttals in black and white. I’d like to thank the readers of TCN, the participants in the rankings and especially those who added their remarks, stats and reasoning to their selections.

Also, a big “thank you” to Brian Walton and Derek Shore for their in-depth commentary on the top 50 prospects, their research and their knowledge of the Cardinal organization is truly appreciated right here on what is known as The Cardinal Nation. – John Baker


Derek Shore (1): There was a strong buzz heading into this past spring.

It was a buzz about St. Louis Cardinals outfield prospect Dylan Carlson, upon whom the organization was betting big on his breakout this year in the hitter-friendly environment of the Texas League.

Carlson proved the Cardinals right, showing a mix of tools and savviness. He demonstrated above-average hitting ability, plus power, above-average defense and enough speed and instincts to be a base-stealing threat.

As spring training progressed and players started moving out and over to the minor-league side of the complex, one of the youngest players in the Cardinals big-league camp remained.

That was not only because of the potential he showed, but because of the game performances he delivered in spring.

Carlson is the latest in the line of young, ascending outfielders the likes of which the Cardinals haven’t seen since the late Oscar Taveras. Late in one of his spring starts, Carlson drilled a home run off Mets all-star closer Edwin Diaz.

“He looks like he belongs,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt told the media during spring training.

At High-A Palm Beach last year, in a ballpark that suppresses offense, Carlson slashed .247/.345/.386 with nine home runs in 99 games. He drew 52 walks against 78 strikeouts in the Florida State League after earning a promotion from Low-A Peoria after 13 games.

Carlson said playing in the Florida State League taught him to stay dedicated to the process. He took that into this past season at Springfield instead of worrying about the results.

That mindset paid off.

Carlson broke out in 2019, opening at Springfield as the second-youngest position player in the Texas League and won the league MVP award. He finished second in the circuit in OPS (.882), home runs (21), runs scored (81) and extra-base hits (51).

“For me, I tried to stick with my plan,” Carlson said. “That has been the biggest difference – trying to stick with my strengths, my plan and executing as opposed to giving in to how they are trying to get me out and getting out of my plan. I’m swinging at strikes, handling pitches that I can handle.

“For me, that was the biggest thing (in making myself a complete hitter).”

“He dominated that league at a young age,” St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told the media. “You think about going wire-to-wire (as a leader). It’s a hard league to dominate unless you’re truly an elite player.”

Carlson finished the season leading Springfield in a number of major offensive categories. He was the Cardinals first prospect to put together a 20-20 season since Tyler Greene and Terry Evans did it in 2006.

“I was very fortunate to have been in the same city as he was for most of the season this year,” Springfield manager Joe Kruzel said. “I always thought every time Dylan comes to the ballpark he expected to play and wanted to play. You never knew if he was doing well or not. He just acted the same every night. The best thing I did for him this year was I stayed out of his way, let him play and let him grow.”

Carlson also made the Futures Game and earned a late-season promotion to Triple-A Memphis, where he collected 11 extra-base hits in 18 games.

From a scouting standpoint, Carlson has always shown advanced instincts, controlling the strike zone and flashing the ingredients to hit with above-average bat speed and hand-eye coordination.

Carlson added 10 pounds of muscle this past offseason, which allowed him to impact the ball more. A switch-hitter, he also ironed out his once loopy left handed swing and now projects as an above-average hitter from both sides of the plate.

He also studies pitchers’ tendencies diligently, stays within the strike zone and doesn’t miss his pitch when he gets it. Carlson’s pure power is average, but his growing strength and smooth swing mechanics give him a chance to hit for 20 or more home runs at the major-league level.

Dylan Carlson (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

Carlson has average speed, but is an above-average runner who steals bases efficiently. Those instincts allow him to hold down center field, though he profiles best in the corners where he’s an above-average defender.

His average arm fits best in left, but he could certainly play right field as well.

Carlson will be just 21 years of age in 2020 and still has time to grow. He has the profile of a solid everyday player and a chance for more.

One professional scout who saw him this past summer said he is an above-average corner outfielder and compared him to a MLB All-Star.

“He is very comparable to Nick Markakis,” the scout said.

With an all-around game blossoming at a young age, Carlson has become the Cardinals top overall prospect and a likely cornerstone outfielder in St. Louis for years to come.

“I hate to do this, but he’s the Albert Pujols type or the Oscar Taveras type,” Mozeliak recently told KSDK. “From an offensive standpoint, he has done a lot at a very young age… He is also one of those players who is a very complete player. Good defensive player and physically maturing right now.

“I think there is a lot to be excited about with him. I would imagine that at some point in 2020 we will see him (with St. Louis).”


Brian Walton (1): By July, Carlson’s MVP-pace season in the Double-A Texas League pushed him squarely ahead of Nolan Gorman to take over the mantle of the no. 1 prospect in the Cardinals organization. At this time, I do not believe there is credible doubt about that.

Oscar Taveras (Getty Images)

So, let’s move the analysis to how Carlson stacks up to those who came before him. In doing so, I will return to several player comparisons mentioned above.

Because Oscar Taveras emerged earlier in his career than Carlson, Taveras first appeared on national top 100 lists following 2011, when he won the Midwest League batting title in his age 18-19 season. For each of the next two years, Taveras rocketed to a consensus place among the top three prospects across all of baseball.

After being unranked nationally a year ago, Carlson has vaulted into the top 25 of two early well-known prospect raters for 2020. So, he has emerged quickly, but still has a ways to go comparatively.

But who I really want to talk about is Albert Pujols. OK, actually, I don’t, but I feel I have to.

This is NOT a player to whom Dylan Carlson (or any other 21-year old) should be compared. It just isn’t. In my opinion, it was a surprisingly reckless comment from an executive who has earned a well-known reputation for just the opposite.

I get that Mr. Mozeliak is excited about his team’s next big thing, not to mention that the more focus is placed on the promise of this prospect, the less criticism may be placed on the front office and ownership for not (at least yet) externally replacing the offense generated by Marcell Ozuna the last two seasons.

Albert Pujols (USA TODAY Sports Images)

But putting that all aside, let’s step back and look at this with a clear head and an open mind.

Pujols is arguably the greatest player of his entire generation. Not the best Cardinal, mind you – the best player. He will not just be a Hall of Famer – he will almost certainly be a first-ballot selection to Cooperstown. His no. 5 will be retired one day, with his image forever placed on the Busch Stadium outfield wall – all as it should be.

Even whispering the two names together is a tremendous disservice – both to Carlson, who cannot measure up, and to the casual fans who might take Mozeliak’s overhype as gospel and expect far too much from the Californian far too soon.

This comparison was not a misquote or twisted out of context. See and hear for yourself.

In viewing this clip again, it almost feels as if Mozeliak realized what he said, so he swung the pendulum back in the other direction as hard as he could with his prediction that Carlson should reach St. Louis in 2020 “at some point”.

That caused my neck to snap!

Some may recall that Pujols never played a game at Double-A and only a handful of Triple-A contests to conclude the 2000 season before the decided underdog hit his way onto the 2001 Cardinals out of spring training. Mozeliak clearly wants to tamp down that kind of parallel, however, at least for a while.

He moved straight from creating a totally unfair, elevated expectation to making likely his greatest understatement of the off-season. Can anyone imagine the fan mutiny that would occur if the 2020 All-Star break comes and goes, for example, and Carlson is still sitting in Memphis?

Now, we all know that some teams artificially keep players in the minors longer than perceived necessary. The most famous case is the Chicago Cubs vs. Kris Bryant (whose appeal is still unresolved five years later thanks to some classic MLB foot-dragging). The reason for this service time manipulation is to either maintain another year of control before free agency or to keep the player away from arbitration eligibility (and a major salary increase) for a year – or both.

For this very reason, some front office critics are already assuming that Carlson will not break spring training camp with St. Louis. I disagree. I have challenged – and will continue to challenge – these self-professed subject matter experts to provide one example of when the Cardinals managed service time.

One need look no farther back than (injured) closer Jordan Hicks for a contrary current case. Off the top of my head, Colby Rasmus was another celebrated player whose service time could have been held down, but it was not.

However, I do share the expectation that Carlson will not break 2020 spring camp with St. Louis – but for a different set of reasons.

If I was managing the team this coming spring, I would make it a much higher priority to give as many plate appearances as possible to outfielders Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas, Randy Arozarena and Justin Williams – while not forgetting Harrison Bader, who spent last August back in Memphis trying to rediscover his stroke. All five are on the 40-man roster (Carlson is not) and the future for each remains promising, but unsettled. This needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.

In my camp, Carlson would certainly see action, but it would be secondary to this more experienced quintet.

While Carlson’s 2019 at Double-A was a true breakout, he has just 18 games of experience at Triple-A. They were a very good 18 games, but 18 games nonetheless – during a time when the Memphis offense was hitting like crazy from top to bottom. Carlson was in the middle of the pack of six Redbirds hitters with OPSes of over 1.000 in August.

Further, Carlson did not have to face battle-tested Pacific Coast League pitchers a second or third time over a long season, to demonstrate if he can adjust to the adjustments made to him. Finally, his Pacific Coast League BABIP was .429, a rate highly unlikely to be sustainable over a longer haul.

In the spring, unless Carlson performs at a level that is clearly head and shoulders above the aforementioned outfield quintet, I would ticket him for Memphis – but certainly not for the entire season. A natural opportunity to play every day somewhere in the St. Louis outfield will present itself soon enough. It does not have to be on Opening Day.

It would not change how highly Carlson is thought of within the organization. “He is a sponge for instruction,” a player development staffer said. “He works hard, and perhaps most importantly, he knows his limitations.” The latter could become extremely important to help him deal with the inevitable valleys that can follow the peaks.

I am going to come back to the subject of comps one final time. Regular readers have probably noticed that it is not a practice I regularly partake in – because I think it pigeonholes players. But in this case, I want to comment about the third Carlson comp made above, one that I think is actually closer to the mark.

Nick Markakis (Rheinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)

Specifically, consider Nick Markakis. The Atlanta outfielder has enjoyed the kind of career that one could reasonably expect from Carlson. The 36-year old has put together an admirable 14 seasons in the Major Leagues and still counting. A right fielder, Markakis has been extremely durable and productive, with just two seasons in which he played in fewer than 147 games (one of which was his age 35 season in 2019).

Markakis has been with just two teams over his career, earning three Gold Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger Award and one All-Star Game berth. The lefty hitter has always been good, but short of great – poking 20 home runs twice and driving in over 100 runs twice, both when he was in his early-to-mid 20’s.

To the consistency point, Markakis hit double-digit totals of home runs in 11 different years and he plated 60 or more runs nine times. His career OPS+ is 109, meaning he has performed at a level nine percent above the average major leaguer, while coming in below 100 in just three of his 14 seasons.

If Carlson could craft as long and productive of a career as Markakis, he would have every reason to be proud of his accomplishments.

This does not mean that Carlson could not do more. For the second consecutive off-season, I have raised his scouting grade upward, this time from “6 medium” last winter to “6.5 low” now. That means I see Carlson landing between an above-average MLB hitter and an All-Star with little work remaining to realize his major league dream.

I should also point out that no other prospect in the Cardinals system has received a grade higher than “6” for 2020. In my view, Carlson is truly the best of St. Louis’ best.

But Albert Pujols? No, Mr. Mozeliak. For everyone’s sake, please do not go there again. Please. But just in case, let’s make a note to revisit the subject in 2030.

In the meantime, let’s just let Carlson be Carlson…

Link to Carlson’s career stats


 Our 2020 top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 50 countdown, now complete, and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles coming up at the rate of one article per day into January.

Most of them are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation. If you are not a member, join today so you do not miss out!

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – 2020

Also, please participate in the daily discussion about each prospect at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board.


Not yet a member?

If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining The Cardinal Nation to receive the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TCN 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #5 – Ivan Herrera

photo: Ivan Herrera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown reaches the top five with a new contender for the title of the St. Louis Cardinals’ “Catcher of the Future”. FREE article.

Update: Due to the Cardinals’ acquisition of pitcher Matthew Liberatore on January 9, the left-hander was been installed as the new no. 3 prospect for 2020. In the process, Herrera moves down one spot in the rankings to no. 6.


2019 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round R5/Opt MLB debut
23 C 6 01 00 6-0 180 R R 2016 IFA 2020 2021

Link to Ivan Herrera’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Ivan Herrera


Selected 2019 stats

Tm AVG BABIP G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO SB wRC+ OBP SLG OPS
Peo 0.286 0.337 69 248 41 71 10 8 42 35 56 1 136 0.381 0.423 0.805
PB 0.276 0.357 18 58 7 16 0 1 5 5 16 0 102 0.338 0.328 0.666
Total 0.284 87 306 48 87 10 9 47 40 72 1 0.374 0.405 0.779
AFL 0.324 10 34 3 11 2 0 6 5 4 0 0.439 0.382 0.821

TCN Scouting Grade: 6, Risk: medium (click here to review scales)


Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (6): There was a general consensus among the Message Board voters that Herrera will only get better and his defense will improve with time. He has already succeeded with the bat at High-A.

ChristopherJeske and UncleDenny feel so strongly about Ivan that they included him in their top three.  Jeske reasoned, “Quietly on the same trajectory as Carlson and Gorman. Exceptional bat (.805).”

Herrera also drew praise from CardFanInChiTown. “19 year old already catching in A+.”

stlcard25 noted, “If (Elehuris) Montero isn’t the best pure hitter in the system, this guy may be. I’ve read at least twice that his glove is, at a minimum, passable and improving. On top of that he has hit well. His defense might be a question mark now but if he can stick at catcher, watch out. He will get some more attention next year nationally.”

Ivan has improved his approach at the plate significantly and had it not been for his still slightly raw play behind the dish, (something that Herrera vows to improve on), he could have wound up a few ticks higher in the consensus voting. He is one more prospect that should already be on the “untouchable” list. – John Baker


Derek Shore (4): After spending his first two seasons at complex leagues (aside from 18 at-bats in the Texas League in 2018), Herrera reached Low-A Peoria at age 18 in 2019 and quickly established himself as one of the system’s top hitters.

The Panama native showed power and patience as he adjusted to the Midwest League, and he earned a promotion to High-A Palm Beach to finish the regular season. His coming out party was capped by a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League.

Across the two levels, Herrera hit .284/.374/.405 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs. He also threw out 31 percent of would-be basestealers (32 of 104).

“I’m very impressed with Herrera for his age,” Glendale Desert Dogs manager Luis Bolivar said. “Behind the plate, it’s awesome to see a guy his age catching older guys in the higher levels. His framing and game-calling were great. He has a strong, accurate arm with quick feet and a quick release.

“Offensively, he can spray the ball to all parts of the field. He has good strike zone discipline and is very calm at the plate. I like that he goes up there with a plan. He has the ability to hit for power, but more of that will come later on.”

From a scouting standpoint, Herrera is described by scouts as an offensive catcher who makes frequent contact with a compact, right-handed swing. He is short to the ball, rarely swings and misses in the zone and lines the ball to all parts of the field.

He is a patient hitter who takes his walks, though he will chase at times and swing through upper-end velocity like most young hitters.

Herrera continues to get stronger physically and has a chance to hit for 12-15 home runs as he fills out.

He has the strong, athletic frame to catch and is willing to learn, but his blocking and receiving are inconsistent. Most scouts expect him to stick behind the plate down the road.

Herrera is just 19 and has plenty of time to polish up his game. He has the ceiling of a well-rounded future regular or slightly better, according to one scout.

Expect to see Herrera open 2020 at Double-A Springfield.


Brian Walton (6): Earlier, I wrote about Angel Rondon having made the biggest strides among top prospect starting pitchers in 2019. Herrera is his offensive counterpart, in my assessment.

One year ago, Ivan (ee-VAHN) Herrera ranked no. 23 overall. In the 2019 Top 50, he had surged past the two catching prospects ahead of him in terms of team assignments, Julio Rodriguez and Dennis Ortega. However, Herrera was still nowhere near no. 6 prospect Andrew Knizner in any of our three separate votes, which come together for the consolidated ranking.

Ivan Herrera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

After Herrera’s successful 2019 and Knizner became blocked in his attempt to become a regular big-leaguer, that gap between the two catchers in the rankings is now basically non-existent. In fact, Derek has already moved Herrera ahead of Knizner in his personal rankings.

I cannot argue with that. The points made in his write-up above are right-on, in my view. Knizner has been successful longer, but has more or less plateaued. Because he is more than five years older, Knizner’s clock is ticking more loudly.

In 2019, Herrera’s batting average, OBP and OPS topped all Peoria Chiefs players, with his slugging behind only Nolan Gorman. This came in a season in which he had jumped all the way from the Gulf Coast League in 2018. After 18 games in the Florida State League with Palm Beach to conclude the regular season, Herrera’s reward was an assignment to the Arizona Fall League.

As has been the case at most of his career stops, Herrera was the youngest player on the AFL’s Glendale Desert Dogs and the only one born in the new millennium. Remember that he had not yet reached Double-A, making him one of the least experienced players in the prospect showcase, as well. There, the catcher not only caught much older pitchers, he faced an increased level of mound competition at the plate.

Herrera was more than up to the challenge, performing credibly both offensively and defensively, and was recognized by his selection to the League’s Fall Stars Game.

A smart and motivated individual, Herrera told me he has gone beyond the English classes provided by the Cardinals, working very hard on building his language skills with teammates. Recognizing the leadership value in being bi-lingual, he can already conduct interviews clearly in English.

Herrera’s first MLB spring training camp invitation is almost certainly just around the corner, giving him important opportunity to work with Yadier Molina directly and to establish a first-hand impression with St. Louis’ coaches.

Likely becoming the every-day catcher at Springfield at age 19-20 will be a strong progression for a player who is bound to make some national top 100 prospect rankings in the spring of 2020. Herrera will become Rule 5 eligible next winter, and at this point, he is about as close to being a lock to be added to the 40-man roster by November 2020 as any player in the system.

“I like him,” a scout said about Herrera. “He can hit – but he is going to need a couple more years before being ready (for the majors).”

Herrera’s upcoming season could answer two very important questions for the Cardinals. The first is if he can one day replace Molina as St. Louis’ regular catcher. The second is if the organization can afford to move Knizner, who would be a valuable trade chip, to help them improve the roster in another area.

This year, I have upgraded both components of Herrera’s scouting grade. Last year, he was a “5 high” – an average starter in the future whose ranking was still more based on projection than results. However, for 2020, I have recognized his considerable progress by improving his grade from “high” to “medium” and bumping his ceiling to a potential above-average MLB starter, a “6 medium” grade.

Link to Herrera’s career stats


Our 2020 top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 50 countdown and 11 in-depth, follow-up articles coming up at the rate of one article per day into January.

Most of them are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation. If you are not a member, join today so you do not miss out!

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – 2020

Also, please participate in the daily discussion about each prospect at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board.


Link to related article for TCN members

Herrera spoke from the Arizona Fall League.

Ivan Herrera is both Very Young and Very Good


Not yet a member?

If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining The Cardinal Nation to receive the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TCN 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #10 – Junior Fernandez

photo: Junior Fernandez (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown moves into the top 10 with a hard-throwing right-hander whose career took off like a rocket in 2019. What will 2020 bring for Junior Fernandez? FREE article.


2019 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round R5/Opt MLB debut
36 RHR 3 02 97 6-3 205 R R 2014 IFA 3 2019

Link to Junior Fernandez’ player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Junior Fernandez


Selected 2019 stats

Tm W L ERA FIP G SV SVO IP H ER HR BB SO AVG WHIP G/AO BABIP
PB 0 0 1.54 3.74 9 4 4 11.2 8 2 0 8 11 0.190 1.37 0.92 0.258
Spr 1 1 1.55 1.80 18 5 6 29 18 5 0 11 42 0.176 1.00 1.15 0.295
Mem 2 1 1.48 3.18 18 2 2 24.1 17 4 0 11 27 0.191 1.15 1.65 0.274
Total 3 2 1.52 45 11 12 65 43 11 0 30 80 0.185 1.12 1.27
StL 0 1 5.40 5.27 13 0 3 11.2 9 7 2 6 16 0.205 1.29 2.17 0.269

TCN Scouting Grade: 5, Risk: low (click here to review scales)


Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (12): Healthy in 2019, Fernandez showed what he can do without the injury setbacks of the prior two seasons. The Message Board community selected him at #12 after his #38 finish last season.

Voters took varying approaches, including several placements high on the list. Forsch31 explained his #3 selection. “This will be a somewhat surprising placement considering he is a reliever. However, I think he is perfectly suited to be a closer and he has excelled in the position this year. I believe he should open the 2020 season as the major league closer for the Cardinals.”

Grenadier1 and stlcard25 agreed, with the latter posting, “He finally got things rolling and he could be a back end of the bullpen guy with his electric fastball and change with a developing cutter/slider.”

As one assumes from the results, more of the community do not consider Fernandez a top 10 prospect. CariocaCardinal said, “Not criticizing the votes of others but extremely surprised by the early support for Fernandez. Mostly because he seems that he will be relegated to relief and our prospect rankings (as most others) have seldom given such high rankings to relievers – even potential lock down closers. Do those voting for Fernandez anticipate him being the closer next year?”

NigelT wrote, “With his injury history, I can’t see him in the top 15”.

bicyclemike said, “I am not a prospect list-maker, as I do not follow these guys close enough to know. But I love reading the bios on here and learning about the guys coming through the system. (Fernandez) has a big-time arm and great stuff. The ideal relief pitcher prospect. He has the look of a future closer.”

ChristopherJeske might have said it best. “He’s not a typical relief prospect.” – John Baker


Derek Shore (11): Fernandez has certainly gone through his trials and tribulations over his professional career with the Cardinals.

He’s had health issues. Inconsistencies. Troubles throwing strikes. A role change.

But in 2019, it all clicked.

Finally healthy, Fernandez spent this past offseason and spring training working on finding a rhythm within his mechanics, so he could command the strike zone more consistently.

And he did.

The 22-year-old was a breakout prospect this year. He started at High-A Palm Beach and was promoted to Springfield on May 1. The Dominican spent only a month and a half with the Double-A club before another promotion – to Triple-A Memphis – from where he pitched his way to St. Louis.

What clicked for Fernandez this season may be that he was able to “pitch backward.” He had advanced as far as he could with premium velocity, but command escaped him and too often when he didn’t use one of his best pitches, a changeup.

He started working off the changeup, found the strike zone and let the fastball follow instead of lead.

“It really paid off,” Fernandez said. “I started missing bats. Less walks.”

Springfield manager Joe Kruzel was impressed with Fernandez, who found a rhythm in a multi-inning role in his time with the S-Cards.

“He has a really good plan of how he goes about it,” Kruzel said. “He has been really good at not letting the hitters be comfortable up there. He has three quality pitches that he throws at any time. He can run it up there pretty good. He also has had better control of his fastball. His slider and changeup have been the difference makers for him, throwing those two pitches for strikes.

“He is getting them for called strikes and swing-and-miss strikes. I hope whatever he found he keeps it.”

From a scouting perspective, most evaluators like Fernandez as a back-end type in the bullpen. His heater sits 96-98 mph and reaches 99 mph. Scouts say it is very straight, but he can create sink with it at times.

He combines that high-powered fastball with a changeup that flashes plus. He can throw it early and late in counts for strikes. Fernandez also has a short slider that has received mixed reviews from scouts.

One said it’s an average pitch on its best days and another said it has a chance to be an above-average offering depending on the consistency of his command.

His ceiling is a set-up man if everything comes together.

Expect to see Fernandez open 2020 in the bullpen for St. Louis, where he should make a name for himself.


Brian Walton (7): It is clearly my vote that propelled Fernandez into our overall 2020 top 10. It seems fitting recognition for the right-hander’s amazing comeback season. In fact, it is one of the most eye-catching years by any prospect in my years of ranking Cardinals.

In just eight calendar months, Fernandez progressed from a sore-armed high-A relief pitcher passed over in the Rule 5 draft to making his Major League debut, promoted three times in the process. He was recognized as the organization’s Pitcher of the Month for May and after the season concluded, The Cardinal Nation selected him as our system-wide Relief Pitcher of the Year for 2019.

Yet, in December 2018, Fernandez had been available for the taking in the Rule 5 draft, and the other 29 organizations all passed on him. Now, in fairness to them, Fernandez had been stuck at Palm Beach for the better part of three years, actually having debuted there in 2015, when he was a hotshot prospect starter.

The prior winter, when Fernandez was just 18 years of age, he had debuted at no. 18 on our top prospect list. Back then, he was listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds. It was the first of three consecutive years he placed in the top 20.

A year ago, Fernandez skidded to no. 36, with my vote still most optimistic at no. 32. I had not given up on his big-league potential even after he was moved to relief and filled out to his current 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.

Junior Fernandez (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

Beyond the shoulder injuries and related career stall, another reason he was not appealing in the 2018 Rule 5 was that his 16-game Double-A debut in 2018 did not go well.

Specifically, in his relatively new role coming out of the bullpen, he walked almost as many as he struck out (16 to 17 in just 21 innings). His 5.14 ERA was the result of wildly inconsistent results – either shutting down the opposition or giving up a crooked number, with almost nothing in between. That certainly did not scream out, “Major League-ready.”

In another reminder of his prior struggles, Fernandez was not invited to 2019 big-league spring training camp. While he moved quickly once the season got underway, one could observe that he was making up for lost time. This winter, there was no Rule 5 decision, as he was added to the 40-man roster and made his St. Louis debut in August.

One scout to whom I spoke considers Fernandez the system’s second-best pitching prospect after 2019 draftee Zack Thompson, noting Fernandez’ “live arm” is his difference-maker. As it came to pass, my personal rankings agree. Of the five pitchers I placed in my personal top 10, Fernandez came in just ahead of Genesis Cabrera, Angel Rondon and Jake Woodford.

Even so, I do not share the optimism of others that Fernandez could snare the 2020 closer job for St. Louis just based on spring training. After all, he was left off the 2019 playoff roster, suggesting the coaches must believe more work is required. Fellow rookies Cabrera and Ryan Helsley had passed him by, at least temporarily.

My guess is that a Bud Norris-like veteran signing or Carlos Martinez will initially lead the way out of the 2020 pen. Also ahead of Fernandez in the on-paper closer pecking order are 2019 standouts Giovanny Gallegos, John Gant and Andrew Miller, not to mention the open questions of how Helsley and Cabrera will be deployed come April.

In other words, the Cardinals have a lot of bullpen options, so it would not upset me in the least if Fernandez was Memphis’ closer on Opening Day. In a way, he is like a pitching Dylan Carlson – very limited Triple-A experience (just 24 1/3 innings for Junior) and likely he would benefit from a bit more seasoning.

While the Redbirds should have a loaded bullpen in 2020, Fernandez is the only one on my projected season-opening roster who is already on the 40-man. As a result, even if he goes down to Memphis, Fernandez could be first in line to rejoin the Cardinals – if he is pitching well when others falter or are injured.

For the second consecutive year, I have Fernandez’ scouting grade as “5” – an impact reliever. However, for 2020, I have improved his grade from “medium” to “low”, meaning he is close to being ready to stay in the bigs.

Link to Fernandez’ career stats


Our 2020 top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 50 countdown and 11 in-depth, follow-up articles coming up at the rate of one article per day into January.

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50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – 2020

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