All posts by The Cardinal Nation staff

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Prospect Guide

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back its fifth year. The Guide features 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.

TCN owner Brian Walton and scouting analyst Jake Tweedie provide individual player profiles featuring scouting reports, probable 2022 team assignment, Rule 5 status, estimated MLB arrival, ultimate potential and more.

As always, the Guide is available in two formats – the PDF version (offered at half-price for TCN annual subscribers) and the very popular spiral-bound printed book.

Click on the box below to see full details and testimonials and get your copy. Most PDF orders are filled the same day and printed books ship via USPS Priority Mail, usually sent the next day.

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


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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 can order the 2022 Prospect Guide PDF for half price!

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

To celebrate the opening of the 2022 baseball season, The Cardinal Nation is making a special limited time offer for new subscribers.

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 276-page 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

To review the benefits of a subscription to The Cardinal Nation, click here.

For details on what is included in the Prospect Guide, click here.

Order the bundle here:





Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Farm System in MLB’s Middle for Eighth Straight Year

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Three April Top League Performers in Cardinals System

photo: Michael McGreevy (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Three St. Louis Cardinals prospects have earned Player or Pitcher of the Month honors from their respective leagues for April – Nolan Gorman, Moises Gomez and Michael McGreevy – more than any other organization.

Memphis Redbirds release – Nolan Gorman – International League Player of the Month

Memphis Redbirds second baseman Nolan Gorman was named the International League Player of the Month by MiLB on Tuesday for his April performance. It is the first time in his career Gorman has been honored by MiLB with a monthly award. 

Nolan Gorman

The Cardinals’ No. 2 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, was stellar in April. He batted .338 and led the league in total bases (60), slugging percentage (.811) and OPS (1.201) and was fourth in runs (19). His 11 home runs were tied for the most in professional baseball and led a Memphis team that hit the most home runs (49) across all professional levels. He homered in five straight games from April 13-19 and carried a career-high and league-best 16-game hitting streak from April 8-30. He has hit two home runs in a game twice this season on April 10 and April 27. 

The power surge is one of the reasons Gorman was named “Best Power Hitter” in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America for the third year in a row. Of his 342 career minor league hits, 141 have gone for extra bases (41.2%) including 68 home runs. 

The 21-year-old Gorman is no stranger to awards. Last year, the Phoenix-native was named an Organizational All-Star by MiLB.com for the second time in his career. Before he was promoted to Memphis, Gorman earned Double-A Central Player of the Week for the June 7-13 period. This past fall, he was named to the Fall Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League. 

Springfield Cardinals note – Moises Gomez – Texas League Player of the Month

The accolades keeping coming for OF Moises Gomez, who was named on Wednesday the Texas League Player of the Month for April. In 17 games last month, Gomez hit an incredible .429 (27×63) with 11 home runs, 25 RBIs, six doubles and 22 runs. He led the league during April in average, runs, total bases (66), home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage (.1.048) and OPS (1.519), with his 66 total bases 22 more than the next highest total in the league.

Moisés Gómez

Gomez currently leads all of Minor League Baseball with 12 home runs, a 1.463 OPS, 1.000 slugging percentage, 25 runs and 72 total bases, while ranking 2nd with a .417 average, 26 RBIs and 18 extra-base hits.

Peoria Chiefs release – Michael McGreevy – Midwest League Pitcher of the Month

Chiefs right-hander Michael McGreevy was named the Midwest League’s Pitcher of the Month for April, Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday.

Michael McGreevy

McGreevy, the Cardinals first-round selection in the 2021 draft, went 1-0 with a 0.76 earned run average over the course of four starts in the season’s first month. He whiffed 25 batters in 23.2 innings pitched and walked just one of the 83 batters he faced. As a result, he posted a sparkling 0.59 WHIP and held opposing hitters to a .159 batting average.

The 21-year-old burst onto the scene at the High-A level. McGreevy twirled five hitless innings in the season opener at Wisconsin on April 9. He followed it up with 6.2 shutout innings against Great Lakes in his home debut on April 15. In his first two starts, McGreevy did not allow a baserunner to advance past first base.

After taking a no-decision at Cedar Rapids, McGreevy finished April on a high note. The San Clemente, California native picked up his first professional win on April 26 against Wisconsin, his third straight quality start, as he allowed just one run over six innings. McGreevy whiffed a career-high nine batters in his fourth and final start of the month, one off the season-high for a Peoria pitcher.

As of May 4, McGreevy is ranked fourth in the Midwest League in ERA, third in WHIP and leads the circuit with 28.2 innings pitched on the year. McGreevy is slated to start on Saturday at South Bend. 

Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Peoria Chiefs Notebook – 2022 Week 4

Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

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.

Special limited time bundle

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation’s Local Minor League Reporters – 2022

Clockwise from upper right – Luke Kotcher, Kevin Garcia, Matt Lucas, Nicole Walker and James Brisentine

With the St. Louis Cardinals four full-season minor league clubs having officially taken the fields for the first time in 2022 this past Friday evening, April 8, The Cardinal Nation is bringing you along via our local reporting coverage that will continue all season and into the fall.

Every day is Minor League Day here! As we have for well over a decade, TCN remains your one-stop home for St. Louis Cardinals system-wide information – headlined by a team of reporters actually at the games!

Our writers live in the cities where their Cardinals affiliate clubs are located and work as credentialed media at their local ballparks. They share their first-hand insight with members on an immediate basis for breaking news and on a regular schedule for in-depth reports.

Our 2022 reporters for the Cardinals’ four full-season clubs are experienced reporters and writers – James Brisentine for Triple-A Memphis, Nicole Walker at Double-A Springfield, Matthew Lucas covering A-Advanced Peoria and Kevin Garcia at Class-A Palm Beach. You can read more about all four here.

Each week, The Cardinal Nation members can read locally sourced team-centric notebooks. Our reporters will give you the scoop directly from the ballpark on what is happening with their club: player movement, role changes, injuries, who is hot and not and more – far beyond what you can learn from simply reading box scores and following tweets and blog posts.

With the start of full-season ball, weekly eyewitness reports from our minor league correspondents will continue on Tuesday, April 12, available exclusively to TCN members on the following schedule.

  • Tuesday: Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook by Kevin Garcia
  • Wednesday: Peoria Chiefs Notebook by Matthew Lucas
  • Thursday: Springfield Cardinals Notebook by Nicole Walker
  • Friday: Memphis Redbirds Notebook by James Brisentine

There’s more!

Once short-season ball begins in late June, our local in the Florida Complex League will again kick into gear as well, giving you, the subscriber, unequalled end-to-end first-hand coverage of the Cardinals system here in the US. We will also have weekly in-depth reports on the 2022 Dominican Summer League Cardinals.

Every game recapped each morning

Of course, you don’t have to wait a week to find out what is happening across the organization. Each morning, our minor league notebooks, recapping all the scores and results around the entire Cardinals system, are again being made available to readers.

Written by long-time TCN staffer Marilyn Green and joined by newcomer Luke Kotcher, they highlight the previous day’s action and preview the upcoming starting pitchers every morning all season long.

These daily reports are always free.

As player movement and injuries occur, The Cardinal Nation will report on them immediately – not only with the basic information, but also the implications to the players and rosters.

Draft coverage continues

Leading up to and following the July 17-19 First-Year Player Draft, TCN will deliver commentary on the newest Cardinals and those who might be.

Updated prospect rankings

Also back for 2022 will be our popular Monthly Cardinals Prospect List Updates, exclusively for TCN members. The top risers and fallers in the organization will be analyzed each month during the season, along with the naming of our system-wide Pitchers and Players of the Month.

As always, TCN’s publisher and editor Brian Walton will crisscross the system this season. It began with spring training and will continue to extended spring training and Palm Beach this spring, to fall ball in the Arizona Fall League and the Cardinals full- and short-season clubs in between!

Get your Cardinals minor league information from the team that sets the standard for end-to-end, first-hand coverage of the entire organization. To read more about The Cardinal Nation’s staff members, click on the box below.

For roster and player information

The team rosters here at The Cardinal Nation are up to date. To access them, click on “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” located on the red menu bar on the left of the page beneath The Cardinal Nation site logo.

To see the Cardinals’ entire system by level and position on one page along with every player transaction for every club all year long, check out the always current Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation. It has been updated for the regular season and is accessible from the same menu as the team rosters.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Memphis Redbirds Notebook – 2022 Week 1

2022 Prospect Guide now available

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for a fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos, scouting reports and much more.

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

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.

Special limited time bundle

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Announce Opening Day Minor League Rosters

On Tuesday, Opening Day for Triple-A Memphis, the St. Louis Cardinals disclosed their initial 2022 rosters for all four full season clubs. Springfield, Peoria and Palm Beach will begin regular season play on Friday, April 8.

*left-handed
(images courtesy of the St. Louis Cardinals)

Coming soon exclusively at The Cardinal Nation

The Cardinal Nation continues to offer the most comprehensive coverage of the Cardinals system, with new, original content 365 days a year and ramping up for the new season!

  • Brian Walton will be back later today with his analysis of these rosters including the top risers (and fallers) as well as those missing and what is next.
  • The Cardinal Nation’s daily minor league notebooks, with recaps of all games from the day before, along with links to box scores and probable pitchers ahead will begin on Wednesday morning, April 6. These remain free for all readers.
  • Our local reporters at each affiliate city will begin their in-depth weekly reports on each club starting this Friday with the Memphis Redbirds. These are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.

For even more

To see all players in the organization by position and level, check out the always-free Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation. (A new Matrix for the regular season reflecting the above rosters will be posted shortly, as will updated team rosters – see left menu bar.)

St. Louis Cardinals Organization Roster Matrix – 2022 Spring Training

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Farm System in MLB’s Middle for Eighth Straight Year


Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


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 can purchase our Prospect Guide PDF at 50% off!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Nine 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Games to be Televised/Streamed

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that fans will be able to catch all of the club’s 15 spring training contests on either Bally Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM/Cardinals Radio Network affiliates (CRN) or streaming via the MLB app or cardinals.com.

The Cardinals revised 2022 Spring Training schedule features seven home dates and eight road games, including two games as the visiting team against stadium co-tenants Miami Marlins, giving them nine total games at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

Television

Dan McLaughlin (St. Louis Cardinals)

Bally Sports Midwest will televise seven 2022 Spring Training contests.  The television home of the Cardinals kicks off its live game coverage with the Spring Training opener vs. the Houston Astros on Friday, March 18, at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium at noon CT.

Each of Bally Sports Midwest’s telecasts will also be streamed live on the Bally Sports app and BallySports.com, and most afternoon games will be replayed in prime time.  Dan McLaughlin will call the action alongside Jim Edmonds and Brad Thompson.

Radio

The team’s flagship radio station KMOX 1120 AM will broadcast all 15 spring games with John Rooney, Ricky Horton and Mike Claiborne behind the microphone.  The radio schedule also begins on Friday, March 18, vs. the Astros.  Cardinals Spring Training games will also be carried on the 147 Cardinals Radio Network affiliate stations, the largest radio affiliate network in MLB.  Fans are encouraged to check their local listings for details.

Additional Cardinals spring contests may be televised or broadcast by opposing teams and be available for streaming via the MLB app, MLB.TV, or cardinals.com.

For more information on Spring Training and the Cardinals broadcast partners, visit cardinals.com/springtraining, cardinals.com/radio or cardinals.com/tv.  The Cardinals 2022 Spring Training broadcast schedule follows:

(Click on above image to zoom in.)

(TCN note: Also don’t miss the two Sunday games to be streamed by MLB.TV.)


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

International Presence Among the Cardinals Top 50 Prospects


Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


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 can purchase our Prospect Guide PDF at 50% off!

© 2022 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 for 2022

photo: Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez, Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

2021 was a year of both change and return to normalcy for Minor League Baseball. Though the season opened a month late, games were played for the first time since 2019. However, its return included two fewer levels of play as the Short Season Class-A and Rookie Advanced levels were abolished.

Even so, over 200 minor leaguers from Triple-A through the twin Dominican Summer League squads competed for the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Along the way, new players became Cardinals through free agency and the slimmed-down 20-round First-Year Player Draft.

Players worked to improve their skills, and many of the best did so in 2021, despite the organization fielding losing teams at every level.

To recognize those players with perhaps the brightest futures, The Cardinal Nation has developed and will roll out our annual Cardinals Top 50 Prospect List for 2022, our 17th annual rankings.

A new voice

As we begin to unveil our 2022 Cardinals Top 50 Prospect List, a key new contributor will provide our player evaluations.

Jake Tweedie

Jake Tweedie (Twitter @MLBUKAnalysis1) has followed baseball closely for many years. Having become interested in the game watching baseball in the UK, he started to write about minor leaguers and has covered numerous organizations for various scouting-focused sites, including Prospects1500 and Prospects Worldwide.

Using his job-related knowledge of kinesiology and human movement, he studies players in-depth. A keen lover of the game in its entirety, Jake enjoys scouting the Cardinals among other teams, and in particular, their farm systems. 

Jake’s expertise in scouting prospects is important in keeping our Cardinals projections grounded. His tools-driven evaluations join Brian Walton’s assessments for this project.

The rankings

The process to set TCN’s new Top 50 for 2022 is a continuation of Walton’s members-only in-season monthly Cardinals prospect rankings, with adjustments based on fall and winter ball play as well as input from scouts and player development professionals. Players are eligible until they reach the MLB rookie levels of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched.

In our daily countdown of the Top 50, which begins on Tuesday, November 23, Jake will provide a scouting report on each prospect, highlighting the five major tools for position players and grades for every pitch offering. We provide both current and future grades, with the former a new addition to our rankings for 2022. These grades are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, noted with the risk associated with the player eventually achieving his Future Value (FV).

Walton will provide background on the prospect, his progress in the organization, where he fits against others and his outlook for the coming season and beyond.

Following the countdown will be our annual series of “best-of”, “just-missed” and in-depth analysis articles of the Top 50 collectively. This series will likely continue beyond Winter Warm-Up, to be held in the second half of January.

As always, selected prospect reports will be made available to everyone, but for full access to all 50 write-ups and the following articles, one must be a member of The Cardinal Nation.   Join today!

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.

Readers can join in the dialogue 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 16 winters, click here, or you can always access them via the permanent link in the left column located underneath the site logo called “PROSPECT RANKINGS”.

The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospects – 2022

50. Thomas Francisco (free)
49. Yordy Richard
48. Inohan Paniagua
47. Freddy Pacheco
46. Jeremy Rivas
45. Todd Lott (free)
44. Edwin Nuñez 
43. Wilfredo Pereira
42. Connor Lunn
41. Jack Ralston
40. Zane Mills (free)
39. Logan Gragg
38. Conner Capel
37. Dionys Rodriguez
36. Pedro Pages
35. Matt Koperniak (free)
34. Alec Willis
33. Julio Rodriguez
32. Trejyn Fletcher
31. Luis Mario Piño 
30. Delvin Perez (free)
29. Levi Prater
28. Patrick Romeri
27. Jake Walsh
26. Kramer Robertson
25. Chandler Redmond (free)
24. Connor Thomas
23. Ali Sanchez
22. Austin Love
21. Ian Bedell
20. Ryan Holgate (free)
19. Tink Hence
18. Jhon Torres
17. Gordon Graceffo
16. Luken Baker
15. Malcom Nuñez (free)
14. Alec Burleson
13. Andre Pallante
12. Joshua Baez
11.  Brendan Donovan
10. Lars Nootbaar (free)
9. Angel Rondón
8. Michael McGreevy
7. Zack Thompson
6. Juan Yepez
5. Masyn Winn (free)
4.  Iván Herrera
3. Matthew Liberatore
2. Jordan Walker
1. Nolan Gorman (free)

There’s more!

At the conclusion of the countdown, a multi-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 year-to-year changes and the top additions, highlight players who did not make the combined Top 50 and unveil our All-Prospect Team – the highest-ranked players at each position.

Next will be 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 2021 list who dropped off for 2021 and a potential-only based-list of the new Top 50.

Top 50 Analysis Series

2022 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – The Final Tally 
2022 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – Movers and Shakers
2022 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – The Newbies 
2022 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – The Departed 
2022 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – 2021 Picks and Pans 
2022 The Cardinal Nation Cardinals All-Prospect Team (free)
2022 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – Behind the Numbers 
2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – Best of the Rest – Brian Walton
2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – Best of the Rest – Jake Tweedie
2022 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects by Level and MLB Debut 
2022 St. Louis Cardinals Top 50 Prospects Ranked by Future Value and Risk

Scouting grading scale and risk

The following table aligns the level of each scouting grade for hitters and pitchers to the comparable future MLB role.

Grade Hitter role Pitcher role
80 Top 5 hitter 1-3 arm. Ace if multiple years
70 Top 10 hitter 2 starter FIP sub 3.00
60 All-Star 3 starter 3.30 FIP (200 IP)/High closer
55 Above average regular/occasional All-Star 3/4 starter 3.70 FIP (160 IP)/Mid closer
50 Average everyday player 4 starter 4.00 FIP (or 190+ IP)/Low closer or high set up
45 Platoon player 4/5 starter 4.20 FIP/Low set up
40 Reserve Backend starter 5.00 FIP/Middle relief
30 AAAA player AAAA player
20 Organizational player Organizational player

Behind these basic grades are more detailed scales which help translate player measurements by position types into grades. Examples include average and home run levels and home to first base times for hitters, pop rates for catchers and velocities, strikeout and walk rates for pitchers.

Risk is another measure included. It indicates the chances a player hits the Future Value scouting grade given.

  • Low
  • Moderate
  • High
  • Extreme

Now Taking Pre-Orders – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes over 200 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Pre-order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Looking for more Cardinals prospect analysis?

There is plenty more of this kind of in-depth writing available here at The Cardinal Nation 365 days a year.

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

© 2021 and 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #1 – Nolan Gorman

photo: Nolan Gorman (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Completing The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 countdown for 2022 is a second baseman on the cusp of the majors. When will Nolan Gorman arrive and in what role? What will be his ceiling? FREE report!



Nolan Gorman

Position: Second base/third base
Age: 21 years old
Bats/Throws: L/R
Height/Weight – 6’1/215
Acquired: Selected in the first round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, 19th overall
Primary team in 2021: Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A)
Finished 2021: Glendale Desert Dogs (Arizona Fall League)

Prior Top 50 rankings – 2021 #2, 2020 #2, 2019 #3

Click on the above photo to be taken to Gorman’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Link to Gorman’s career stats

Jake Tweedie’s scouting report

(current grade/future grade)

HIT POWER FIELD ARM RUN FV
30/50 30/55 45/45 60/60 40/35 55
AVG OBP SLG OPS HR SB CS K% BB%
.279 .333 .481 .814 25 7 1 21.9% 7.3%
ISO wRC+ GB/FB GB% LD% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo%
.191(AAA) 106(AAA) 1.25(AAA) 45.0%(AAA) 19.0%(AAA) 36.0%(AAA) 42.4%(AAA) 22.6%(AAA) 35%(AAA)

The number 1 ranking in the Cardinals’ system is very much deserved for Nolan Gorman. He brings a lot to the table and has continually impressed in his assignments to date.

The natural power hitter has the capability to become a regular Majors player within the next two years. Gorman has sharpened his game defensively, as well as being able to hit home runs (25 in 2021), plus make regular contact (.279 in 2021).

Although he can get caught by certain pitches due to his pull-heavy approach, this improved in 2021, when he pulled 42.4% of pitches, compared to 47.2% in 2019. This will need to continue to develop to enable Gorman to consistently use all areas in the field, but that initial step of improving led to an increase in average and home runs, as well as a reduction in strikeouts.

Gorman has the combination of being physically strong and having quick bat speed, as well as being an impressive left-handed hitter. His average of .305 against right-handed pitching was strong, although he will need to improve against lefties, against whom he averaged just .202.

With the room for improvement on top of his obvious qualities, Gorman is an exciting prospect. A naturally gifted hitter, he definitely has the ability to be an everyday starter with St. Louis. For now, he might have to build on his impressive start to Triple-A and with some slight changes, may perform even better in 2022.

Future Value: 55
Role: Above average regular/occasional All-Star
Risk: Low

Video

Brian Walton’s environmental impact report

Background

The Cardinals were again in the position to swoop up a very good prospect despite holding just the 19th selection in the 2018 draft. Gorman was considered the best high school power-hitting prospect in his class, according to several national scouting concerns and became the first MLB draftee born in the new millennium.

After signing for an at-slot bonus of $3,231,700, Gorman started his professional career with Johnson City. Simply put, he dominated the rookie-advanced Appalachian League with a .350/.443/.664/1.107 slash line, while slugging 11 home runs and driving in 28 in just over a month of action.

As of his early August promotion to Low-A, not only did the 18-year-old become the youngest player in the Midwest League, Gorman was the first position player drafted by the Cardinals to reach full-season ball in his draft year in 44 years. The last to accomplish it was prep shortstop Garry Templeton in 1974.

Nolan Gorman (Allison Rhoades/Peoria Chiefs)

Gorman’s first professional season concluded on a down note as his Midwest League debut was bumpy, especially at the plate. In his initial 107 plate appearances with Peoria, Gorman batted just .202. His strikeouts spiked to an alarming 36.4% while his walks fell to under 10%. He also committed five errors in 25 regular season games.

It was not all concerning, however. Positives include six home runs and 16 RBI in his 25 contests with the Chiefs. An extenuating factor was some bad luck as evidenced by his .255 average on balls in play (BABIP).

Between his two stops in 2018, Gorman launched 17 home runs in his first 63 professional games.

There was no sophomore slump by Gorman in 2019, nor was there a huge breakout.

Gorman initially returned to Class-A to open the season, but finished in the then-High-A Florida State League, a tough place to hit. He slashed .248/.326/.439/.765 over 125 games between the two levels. Gorman slugged 15 home runs and drove in 62. While continuing to face significantly older pitching, his ISO (Isolated Power) for the season was .191, sixth among Cardinals farmhands.

Mid-summer, shortly after being named a Midwest League mid-season All-Star, Gorman joined fellow top prospect Dylan Carlson on the National League team for the MLB Futures Game held during All-Star Weekend.

Dylan Carlson and Nolan Gorman

Another indication of his raw power is that 45.1% of his hits in 2018 and 2019 went for extra bases. Not surprisingly, for two consecutive years, Baseball America awarded Gorman the title of “Best Power Hitter” in the organization (before he was unseated by Jordan Walker for 2022).

Speaking of extra base hits… In a good indicator for the future, across the entire Cardinals system in 2019, no one collected more doubles than Gorman’s 30 (tied with Brady Whalen). Further, Gorman’s rate of two-base hits increased at High-A over Low-A, though his long balls were cut in half.

Using Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) as the measure, Gorman was 28 percent above the Midwest League average offensively (128 wRC+) and 17 percent above the FSL average (117 wRC+). However, his Palm Beach BABIP was quite high at .365.

Red flags flown at Palm Beach included Gorman’s strikeout rate growing to 31.7% while his walk rate was cut in half between the two A-ball levels – from 11.3% to 5.7%. In comparison, over his entire minor league career, Randal Grichuk never fanned at 31.7% or above. Tyler O’Neill reached that mark just once, at 32.2% at Class-A in 2014.

One scout at the time labeled Gorman as being “today’s kind of player – capable of 30 home runs, but also 200 strikeouts”.

Defensively, there was still work to do as he recorded back-to-back 21-error seasons at the hot corner to open his career.

In summary, his 2019 was a solid, though unspectacular performance.

Opening 2020, Gorman was a part of the Cardinals’ January instructional camp in Jupiter, Florida with a repeat invitation.

He then scored his first non-roster invite to St. Louis’ spring training camp. Of the 71 players present, only Gorman and top catching prospect Ivan Herrera were born in the new millennium (with the latter three weeks younger).

Gorman got on the field for 13 of the Cardinals’ 20 games, an unusually a high level of visibility for such a relatively inexperienced player. He performed well, going 8-for-26 (.308) including two doubles and a home run. Gorman walked twice, plated four and did not strike out excessively, with five. His .857 OPS performance was just plain solid.

Gorman was still up with St. Louis when the threat posed by COVID-19 shut down the Jupiter camp on March 12. When camp resumed in St. Louis at the start of July, Gorman was given another week with the major leaguers before being reassigned to the alternate camp.

Cardinals officials – from the majority owner on down – praised Gorman’s work in Springfield, which was held in a closed stadium. His biggest to-do coming out of the alternate camp was to cut his strikeouts down in 2021 by shortening his swing to better take advantage of his elite power.

To that point, over almost 800 career minor league plate appearances, the left-handed hitter had struck out at a 29% rate. It increased from 2018 (27.7%) to 2019 (29.7%) as he faced more experienced pitching.

2021 recap – professional

Gorman received another big-league spring camp invitation and remained until March 25. He had the same number of at-bats as Nolan Arenado, 46, and hit two home runs with eight RBI, while slashing .239/.327/.413/.740. Gorman drew five walks against 13 strikeouts.

He opened the season in Double-A Springfield and slashed .288/.354/.508/.862 in 195 plate appearances. Gorman launched 11 home runs and plated 27 in 43 games. Though he started the season at third base defensively, he moved to second after several weeks of offensive stability. His overall performance earned him a promotion to Triple-A as June ended.

Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore (St. Louis Cardinals)

Less than two weeks later, Gorman traveled to participate in his second consecutive All-Star Futures Game. This time, his Cardinals partner was his childhood friend and new Memphis teammate, pitcher Matthew Liberatore.

The infielder struggled in his first month at Memphis, tallying just a .696 OPS in July, though he plated 17 in 25 games. Gorman improved quickly with a .925 OPS and another 18 RBI in his red-hot August. He cooled in September with a .721 OPS. Overall, he hit 14 home runs and recorded 48 RBI, ending the year with a .785 OPS in 76 games with the Redbirds.

For the 2021 season, Gorman finished third in the Cardinals system in home runs (25), fourth in slugging (.481), first in hits (134) and tied for third in runs scored (71).

On the other hand, his production was down each year. Gorman’s wRC+ declined from 149 in 2018 to 123 in 2019 to 115 in 2021. Having said that, criticism would be unwarranted. After all, the 21-year-old was still 15% above league average in 2021 while reaching Triple-A. Each season, the infielder has been moved ahead aggressively, which had to suppress his results somewhat.

Gorman’s 2021 was not done with the end of the regular season, despite his system-leading plate appearance total of 523.

Nolan Gorman (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The fall began with the Cardinals assigning Gorman to the Arizona Fall League prospect showcase. As the organization’s designated priority player, the second baseman was assured to be in the Glendale Desert Dogs’ lineup at least four of six days. However, Gorman lasted just one week before suffering a hamstring injury that ended his AFL campaign.

The left-handed hitter got off to a fast start in his home Phoenix area. In 23 plate appearances, he slashed a very impressive .375/.565/.625/1.190. Though still injured and unable to participate in the Fall Stars Game, Gorman was still selected.

A veteran scout liked what he saw from Gorman’s 2021 adjustments. “I am very impressed by his shortened swing,” the evaluator said. “I see him initially fitting in as a combination second baseman-designated hitter playing against right-handed pitching.”

2022 outlook

Gorman has quickly progressed through the system and is competing to become the second player from his Cardinals draft class to reach the majors. The first was eighth-rounder Lars Nootbaar, with seventh-round selection Brendan Donovan also close (and with a 40-man roster spot in hand). Both were collegians, however, so they should move more quickly.

Lars Nootbaar and Nolan Gorman (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

This is Gorman’s fourth consecutive year being among our top three prospects in the system, though this is his first (and almost certainly last) recognition in the top spot. Initially, he was behind Carlson before the latter graduated to St. Louis.

Gorman will be next.

The main question on the table seems to be when he will make the St. Louis roster, followed by how he will be deployed. Due to the combination of his MLB readiness, his left-handed bat (a clear need for the Cardinals) and the return of the designated hitter to the National League, I would normally have given Gorman at least a 50% chance to come north from Jupiter with the Cardinals.

But 2022 is again not shaping up to be a normal year.

Due to factors beyond his control, Gorman seems likely to open spring training in minor league camp instead of with St. Louis. When the lockout is finally over, big league camp will be compressed, with less time than usual to get the major leaguers ready for “games that count” (and that generate revenue).

Even if the lockout ends relatively quickly, during March, how many minor leaguers will get a chance to play in camp and how often? Or if the lockout runs into April, Gorman and the other minor leaguers will have already moved on to Memphis (or Springfield and the other regular season locales).

Would they be pulled out of Triple-A (for example) and brought back to Florida for the delayed, compressed St. Louis camp, or will they potentially have to wait longer for a real shot to earn a big-league spot?

At this point, no one knows how much the lockout will negatively impact prospects, but as the above highlights, even those not on the 40-man and formally locked out may be disadvantaged.

Having said that and considering everything, I would be very surprised if the second half of the season arrives with Gorman still in Tennessee waiting for his call.

The playing time opportunity must be there, however, as I suspect that the Cardinals do not plan to position Gorman on St. Louis’ bench. His window would open wider if the incumbent starter at either the second base or shortstop position does not deliver offensively or suffers an injury in the early going. In the second base case, Tommy Edman would likely move into a utility role and in the case of a shortstop need, he could slide over there, with Gorman taking over at second.

If Nolan Arenado would require time on the injured list, the Cardinals would have an interesting choice. They could return Gorman to third, but since his shift to second base is said to be permanent, the MLB-proven third baseman Edman seems the more probable interim solution at the hot corner.

Nolan Gorman (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The designated hitter position offers another opportunity for Gorman, perhaps the most obvious one. Yet there are others also trying to gain their big-league footing who are clearly in the mix. The Cardinals could give another rookie, Juan Yepez, the first shot and the right-handed hitter hasn’t shown a strong splits bias that could stamp him as a platoon player only. Or the team could open with presumed fourth outfielder Nootbaar serving as the lefty-hitting DH facing right-handed pitching alongside Yepez. But if either falters in an extended trial, Gorman could be the primary recipient of the vacated at-bats.

Somehow, some way, I expect Gorman to receive at least 300 plate appearances with St. Louis in his upcoming rookie season – and it could easily be more.

Ideally, Gorman finds a way to storm out of camp with guns blazing and quickly establishes himself as a major league regular. Best case, he becomes the National League’s second consecutive Rookie of the Year from the second base position, following 2021 winner Jonathan India of Cincinnati. Another similarity is that India also came up through the Reds system as a third baseman.

Future outlook

Even if all infield incumbents stay healthy and play well and Gorman spends considerable time in his rookie year as the designated hitter, I still don’t think he will be St. Louis’ DH long-term. Nothing against Edman, whose greatest value may be in his diversity, but Gorman seems to be the Cardinals’ future at second base. While Gold Glove Award winner Edman is a superior defender, Gorman should be league average in the field and much better offensively.

He would help would fill a clear need for the Cardinals, which is more impact bats from the left side. Gorman’s power should eventually help him earn his way into a run-producing spot in manager Oliver Marmol’s lineup behind stalwarts Paul Goldschmidt and Arenado.

We believe Gorman’s likely level overall will be that of an above-average regular in the major leagues – and that would be pretty darned good, especially coming from the second base position.

For those who expect more, it is certainly not out of the question. However, I will share an exercise I followed to gauge Gorman’s Double-A and Triple-A power through comparisons to other high-potential Cardinals prospects in the categories of isolated power (ISO) and slugging percentage (SLG). The sample group includes slugger Matt Adams as well as then-Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras, along with a more recent comp in Carlson.

Year Springfield hitter Age PAs ISO SLG Awards
2011 Matt Adams 22 513 0.266 0.566 TL MVP
2012 Oscar Taveras 20 531 0.252 0.572
2019 Dylan Carlson 20 483 0.237 0.518 TL MVP
2021 Nolan Gorman 20 195 0.220 0.508

When Adams was the Texas League MVP in 2011, he was an older 23, but the other three in our analysis were all in their respective age 20 seasons. Of the four, Gorman generated the lowest isolated power and lowest slugging percentage, though all were good.

However, one could counter with the legitimate question of whether Gorman’s numbers would have gone up had he been allowed to face Double-A pitching for the entire 2021 season. Perhaps if so, he could have also been a contender to join Adams and Carlson as league MVPs.

Year Memphis hitter Age PAs ISO SLG
2012 Matt Adams 23 276 0.295 0.624
2013 Oscar Taveras 21 186 0.156 0.462
2014 Oscar Taveras 22 262 0.184 0.502
2019 Dylan Carlson 20 79 0.319 0.681
2021 Nolan Gorman 20 328 0.191 0.465

Of our comparison group, only Carlson and Gorman performed at Springfield and Memphis in the same season. Taveras repeated Triple-A with both years of data in the above table.

At this level, Carlson’s limited but fantastic September finish to the 2019 season stands out, with Adams continuing his slugging ways at Triple-A. Gorman, who already has more career Triple-A plate appearances than either Adams or Carlson, was less powerful than either of the two, but was around the range of Taveras’ two-year averages.

My conclusion is to keep Gorman’s power expectations at a reasonable level until he catches up in age and gives us more to go on.

Can Gorman continue to improve? Absolutely. In fact, just this spring, an ESPN “bold predictions” article posed the thought of the rookie hitting 30 home runs in his age 22 campaign with St. Louis in 2022.

MLB debut: 2022
Rule 5 Eligible: 2022

Our 2022 Top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects, grading scales and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the Top 50 countdown and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles breaking down the list..

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2022


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TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #5 – Masyn Winn

photo: Masyn Winn (Palm Beach Cardinals)

Opening the top five in The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 countdown for 2022 is a dynamic shortstop who can also pitch in the upper 90’s. What is next for 2020 second-rounder Masyn Winn?  FREE report!



Masyn Winn

Position: Shortstop/pitcher
Age: 19 years old
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight – 5’11/180
Acquired: Selected in the second round of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft, 54th overall
Primary team in 2021: Palm Beach Cardinals (Low-A)
Finished 2021: Peoria Chiefs (High-A)

Prior Top 50 rankings – 2021 #8

Click on the above photo to be taken to Winn’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Link to Winn’s career stats

Jake Tweedie’s scouting report

(current grade/future grade)

HIT POWER FIELD ARM RUN FV
25/40 30/50 55/55 60/60 55/50 45+
AVG OBP SLG OPS HR SB CS K% BB%
.242 .324 .356 .680 5 32 5 22.8% 10.5%
ISO wRC+ GB/FB GB% LD% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo%
.095(A+) 48(A+) 1.46(A+) 50%(A+) 15.7%(A+) 34.3%(A+) 36.7%(A+) 28.4%(A+) 34.9%(A+)

Winn was highly regarded as a two-way player in high school. His ability at the plate and with the glove was matched by his ability to deliver mid-90s fastballs. However, the Cardinals have predominantly used him as a shortstop in 2021, restricting him to just one mound inning last season.

This may illustrate their plan for him in the future, but there is the potential to use him as a two-way player again once his bat is more developed.

At the plate, Winn has raw power that has yet to be untapped. He did blast five home runs last season, but his main ability seems to be hitting into gaps and using his speed to push singles into doubles and pick up stolen bases along the way. Winn stands tall at the plate and has a nice smooth swing, however with his size and frame he will need to bulk up in order to pick up more home runs. Refinement is needed with his stance and swing overall.

As a pitcher, Winn possesses some solid offerings. His fastball works into the mid-90s often, but he also a pair of secondaries, curve and changeup, that could be plus with more work.

His ability to throw well into the 90s makes his arm a valuable tool in the field. He can throw from shortstop to first with power, aiding him as a fielder alongside his agility and speed.

Future Value: 45+
Role: Platoon player/average everyday player
Risk: Moderate

Video

Brian Walton’s environmental impact report

Background

During his Texas high school years, Winn starred as a two-way player, hitting .410 and posting a 1.33 ERA with a strikeout rate of 12.7 batters per nine innings while throwing 98 mph from the mound.

Pre-draft, Baseball America wrote, “Pound for pound, Winn could be the most purely talented player in the 2020 draft.”

After the Cardinals selected him, Winn settled for a signing bonus of $2,100,000 – substantially above the slot amount for the 54th overall pick of $1,338,500. The difference was made up by four earlier under slot signings – Jordan Walker, Alec Burleson, Levi Prater and A.J. Jones IV.

In the summer of 2020, Winn was one a select few who could work out under organization supervision while the regular season was canceled. He was one of just two of the seven players who had taken by the organization in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft to be included in the 60-man player pool, joining first-rounder Walker.

While some scouts felt Winn’s pre-draft pitching was ahead of most 18-year-olds, the Cardinals primarily focused him on playing shortstop and acclimating to hitting fulltime with a wood bat. In Springfield, Winn predominantly played shortstop, as he reportedly preferred, although he threw off the mound the last two weeks of the alternate camp.

As a hitter, he has high bat speed, surprising raw power for his size and plus speed that plays out of the box and on the bases. Winn is an exceptional athlete, with documented arm strength, soft hands and impressive natural instincts at shortstop.

Others have noticed. In their 2021 Top Tools rankings, Baseball America rated Winn as both the Best Athlete and having the Best Infield Arm in the Cardinals system.

2021 recap – professional

The proximity of the Palm Beach club to the Jupiter complex, coupled with its reclassification to Low Class A for 2021 was perfect for players like Winn and Walker. High-potential teens drafted out of high school would normally have opened their professional careers in the Gulf Coast League.

But the alternate camp work in Springfield in the summer of 2020, against mostly higher-level players, served as a good substitute for a rookie ball stint. Winn apparently put in enough work in Springfield and in minor league spring training camp to progress to a Class A assignment with Palm Beach to open 2021.

As the two were drafted consecutively as prep players and fellow left side of the infield defenders, Walker and Winn are often paired together in reports. So it was to start 2021 as both joined the Beach Birds as teens for their first official professional action.

Masyn Winn (center) and teammates (Palm Beach Cardinals)

At the plate, Winn began his season and career very slowly, then turned it on.

From Opening Day on May 4, through the first three weeks of the regular season, the 19-year-old scuffled to a line of .141/.291/.203/.494.

To suggest he figured out Low-A pitching from then on would be an understatement.

From May 25 until his July 26 promotion to High-A Peoria, Winn placed in the top 11 in the Low-A Southeast League in these key offensive categories – all four slash stats (.303/.395/.449/.845) along with 54 hits, 80 total bases, 32 RBI and 32 runs scored.

In the midst of that hot stretch, Winn was named the Southeast League Player of the Week for the period of June 7-13. His highlight was a seven-RBI game on June 13.

His only real offensive weakness in Low-A was an extreme split. Winn pummeled left-handed pitching to the tune of a 1.120 OPS, but registered a pedestrian ,696 mark against righties.

Joining the Peoria Chiefs at the end of July, Winn was reunited with Walker, who had earned the same promotion a month earlier.

Masyn Winn (Ryan Dowd/Palm Beach Cardinals)

At his new higher level, Winn scuffled, with a .504 OPS in August and a .534 mark in September. His strikeout rate increased from 21.1% at Palm Beach to 26.0% at Peoria as he struggled at times with the elevated pitch. More concerning was his walk rate plummeting from a very good 14.1% with the Beach Birds to just 3.9% with the Chiefs.

At Palm Beach, Winn committed 24 errors in 86 games at short, but improved during the season, with just six errors in 30 games in the field with Peoria.

Another positive is that Winn became more aggressive on the bases in High-A while maintaining his high level of efficiency. He matched his Low-A total of 16 stolen bases in roughly half the number of games at the higher level. His success rate for the season was a very strong 86.5% and his season total of 32 swiped bags was 33% higher than any other player in the Cardinals system.

Stepping back, we must remember that Winn’s 2021 finish represented just the first 36 games at High-A by a 19-year-old.

2022 outlook

One scout cited a Shawon Dunston comp for Winn. Before taking exception to that, remember that the former Cub (and Cardinal for part of the 1999 season) played 18 years in the majors and was a two-time All-Star.

“He is still raw defensively,” the evaluator said. “And he has some holes in his swing, but his arm strength is a plus. Having said that, he won’t be a starting pitcher based on his size.”

For 2022, Baseball America upped their praise of Winn compared to his peers, rating him as both the Best Athlete and having the Best Infield Arm in the Cardinals system for the second consecutive year. BA also added Fastest Baserunner for 2022, as Winn displaced 2021 choice Lane Thomas, who was traded away.

Masyn Winn (Ryan Dowd/Palm Beach Cardinals)

Having said that, Winn remains in a second tier of top Cardinals prospects below the consensus national top 100 trio of Walker, Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore.

While one can assert that Walker played well enough at High-A that he may be ready for Double-A out of the gate in 2022, I cannot project the same for Winn. Cardinals officials often talk about the need for a youngster to “play up to the level of his league and then go beyond.”

Winn accomplished that in Palm Beach, with a 112 wRC+, but his Peoria wRC+ results of 48 were nowhere near league average (100). Even so, it should not be considered a negative in any way if Winn returns to the Chiefs in April 2022. He received just 154 plate appearances to close the 2021 season, with plenty of time during the summer of 2022 ahead to earn that Double-A promotion.

Future outlook

These scenarios continue to assume that Winn will be allowed to advance to the next levels when his bat indicates he is ready. At some point as he moves up, his lack of competitive pitching as a professional could become a liability for him as a two-way player. After all, regardless of where he is assigned, he would have to hit and pitch against the same level of competition.

An alternative would be to slow his advancement down a bit and sprinkle in more regular mound work such that he would potentially fare better against Double-A hitters when he reaches that level, for example.

However, based on his usage in 2020 and 2021, Winn seems to be much more of a two-way player in name than in practice. Even if this continues in 2022 and beyond, and if later Winn doesn’t pan out offensively, he could drop back a few levels to build his arm back up and gain the mound experiences deferred earlier.

As a shortstop with more Palm Beach-like performances with the bat ahead, Winn could perhaps reach the big-leagues as soon as late 2023. More realistically, 2024 may be his season to first come up, which would still be prior to his Rule 5 eligibility that winter.

Could he use that extra bit of time to sharpen up his pitching and come out of the St. Louis bullpen semi-regularly, as well? That would seem to be Winn’s best case to deliver maximum value to the Cardinals.

Whether he is given the chance to pull it off and proves to be up to it remain open questions. Then again, a big-league career as a league-average shortstop only wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. It would surely be better than limiting him in one or both roles by expecting more from him as a dual threat than he can deliver.

MLB debut: 2024
Rule 5 Eligible: 2024

Our 2022 Top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects, grading scales and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the Top 50 countdown and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles breaking down the list..

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2022


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TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #6 – Juan Yepez


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© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #10 – Lars Nootbaar

photo: Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Opening the top 10 in The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 countdown for 2022 is a prospect who seized the fourth outfield spot with St. Louis in the second half of 2021. 2,000 words in our FREE report on Lars Nootbaar follows!



Lars Nootbaar

Position: Outfield
Age: 24 years old
Bats/Throws: L/R
Height/Weight – 6’3/210
Acquired: Selected in the eighth round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, 243rd overall
Primary team in 2021: St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
Finished 2021: Glendale Desert Dogs (Arizona Fall League)

Prior Top 50 rankings – unranked (2019, 2020, 2021)

Click on the above photo to be taken to Nootbaar’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Link to Nootbaar’s  career stats

Jake Tweedie’s scouting report

(current grade/future grade)

HIT POWER FIELD ARM RUN FV
35/45 40/50 50/50 55/55 35/25 45+
AVG OBP SLG OPS HR SB CS K% BB%
.239 .317 .422 .739 5 2 1 22.6% 10.5%
ISO wRC+ GB/FB GB% LD% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo%
.183 101 1.16 45.6% 15.2% 39.2% 43.4% 31.3% 25.3%

Nootbaar had a successful 2021 season. After averaging .308 in Triple-A, he got the call-up to the Majors for the first time. He performed well for the Cardinals, averaging .239 with five home runs. Although he may not have been the first name most expected to become the fourth outfielder, he looked positive and did well in many of his at-bats.

A confident hitter, Nootbaar stands tall at the plate with a big kick before he makes contact with the ball. Although this worked more in the Minor Leagues, he continued this in the Majors, and made some decent plays. He can be caught out with this action, but his 22.6% strikeout rate with St. Louis is pretty good considering.

When Nootbaar makes solid contact, the ball pops off the bat with conviction. However, too many ground shots from where the bat didn’t make solid contact caused him some problems.

Defensively he was impressive. Robbing Peter Alonso of a big home run was the highlight of his season in the field (see video below) but there were other instances in which he showed he can be more than just reliable in the outfield. Nootbaar has a good reach and jump to make plays from balls over his head and knows where the wall is when running back to make catches.

Future Value: 45+
Role: Platoon player/average everyday player
Risk: Low

Video

Brian Walton’s environmental impact report

Background

Just as he did in the 2018 draft, Nootbaar immediately follows our no. 11 prospect Brendan Donovan in this top prospect countdown. Back on draft day, St. Louis tabbed Nootbaar from the University of Southern California in the eighth round, their next pick after Donovan.

The two also have in common 40-man roster spots, though Nootbaar already seems established in the Majors (while South Alabama’s Donovan has yet to debut).

Assigned to short-season Class-A State College after signing, the left-handed Nootbaar took some time to adjust, batting .227 with a .309 on-base mark. Yet, he was productive, with 26 RBI in 56 games, including a memorable seven-RBI performance that included a grand slam in late August as the Spikes were fighting for a playoff spot.

Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

After making Class-A Peoria to open 2019, Nootbaar quickly earned the confidence of manager Erick Almonte, and was elevated to the leadoff spot ahead of hot hitters Nolan Gorman and Brady Whalen. With a .344 on-base percentage that included 16 walks against 13 strikeouts, Nootbaar was promoted to High-A Palm Beach in mid-May.

His results were more pedestrian at both High-A (.673 OPS) and Double-A (.685 OPS), though a positive was his career-best .373 on-base mark through his 33 games with Springfield to close 2019. (That of course indicates his power was lacking.)

Still, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Nootbaar was just the second player from his draft class to reach Double-A after moving through both Class-A levels during that 2019 season.

Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Across the three levels in 2019, Nootbaar slashed .264/.349/.364/.713. He drove in 38 and scored 39 runs in 387 plate appearances over 101 games, He drew 45 walks against 55 strikeouts.

As noted, power was the biggest gap in Nootbaar’s game, a very important requirement from a corner outfielder. Prior to 2021, his career slugging and on-base percentages were equal at .334. Further, the trend was not positive, as his Double-A SLG was only .312.

Known for his strong arm, Nootbaar can play all three outfield positions, but is best suited for right field. He should be considered an emergency option in center. In 2019, he tied for second among Cardinals minor league outfielders and tied for seventh in all of Minor League Baseball with 16 assists.

Nootbaar was not selected for St. Louis’ alternate camp in 2020 and sat out the season, with little suggestion of what would be just ahead.

2021 recap – professional

After drawing notice in his first big-league camp as a non-roster invitee, Nootbaar made the Memphis roster to open the 2021 regular season. However, he didn’t get through the first month before being placed on the Redbirds’ seven-day injured list with an injury to his right hand. That kept him out of action from May 28 until June 13.

Any hand injury is dicey for a hitter and this one was especially terrible timing-wise for Nootbaar as he had been the organization’s hottest hitter during May with a system-leading .333 average, .435 on-base mark and an OPS of 1.021.

Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

It worked out ok in the end, as less than 10 days after his activation, he was with St. Louis. The Cardinals turned to Nootbaar after several other outfielders had been tried during Harrison Bader’s stint on the injured list. They included Justin Williams, Lane Thomas, Scott Hurst and injured Austin Dean.

At the time of his June 22 elevation to St. Louis, Nootbaar was added to both the 40-man and 26-man active rosters. He was the first from the Cardinals’ 2018 draft class to reach the majors and he remained with St. Louis for good starting on July 30 when Thomas was traded to the Washington Nationals for veteran starting pitcher Jon Lester.

Though he did not have enough plate appearances to qualify among the Triple-A East League leaders, Nootbaar would have ranked fourth in both batting average and on-base percentage at the time of his initial promotion.

With Memphis, Nootbaar had begun to tap into his power potential, falling just short of the highly desirable .300/.400/.500 slash line- at .308/.404/.496. He struck out just 25 times against 17 walks taken.

Whether it was the hand injury or adjusting to the majors for the first time or inconsistent playing time or some combination of the three, Nootbaar did not hit well initially with St. Louis.

In fits and spurts of action in June and July, Nootbaar opened his MLB career with a difficult 4-for-26 (.154) stretch at the plate. He was returned to Memphis twice in July, first when Bader came off the injured list. But when Thomas was dealt away at the trade deadline, Nootbaar was back with the Cardinals to stay.

Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Over the final two months of the season, Nootbaar had one exceptional month (.979 OPS in August) before struggling again down the stretch. He finished his initial season in an 8-for-39 (.205) funk during September/October for a .638 OPS. He did not play in St. Louis’ Wild Card Game loss to the Dodgers.

Overall, Nootbaar’s rookie slash line with St. Louis was .239/.317/.422/.739 for an OPS+ of 105 and wRC+ of 101, just slightly above league average.

As a Cardinal, Nootbaar hit left-handed pitching better than right, with an OPS of .866 vs. .707. However, this may be a small sample anomaly, as his minor league results indicate he has traditionally hit righties much better than lefties.

Nootbaar demonstrated good plate discipline with a strikeout rate at 20% or less and a walk rate of 14% or better at Double-A and Triple-A. Following the season, Baseball America gave him their nod as the hitter with the Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Cardinals system.

Nootbaar’s St. Louis marks slid slightly in each direction to 22.6% K rate and 10.5% BB rate, but for a first-year player, this is nothing to be concerned about.

Defensively, he remained strong in 2021, committing just two errors (both with St. Louis) and contributing five assists (including three in the bigs) from the corner outfield positions. This contributed to his solid 0.6 fWAR/0.7 bWAR delivered during his rookie season.

Between Memphis and St. Louis in 2021, Nootbaar received just 226 at-bats – about half a normal season. Part of that was due to the aforementioned hand injury but he also did not play every day with the Cardinals.

Lars Nootbaar (left) (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

This is almost certainly one reason he was sent to the Arizona Fall League prospect showcase after the Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention.

In the AFL, Nootbaar was the regular right fielder and leadoff man for the Glendale Desert Dogs. He hit exceptionally well in his 70 at-bats over 18 games, finishing third in the league both with his .643 slugging and 1.080 OPS. Nootbaar was rewarded with a start in the nationally televised Fall Stars Game, was named to the All-AFL Team and received MVP notice from veteran scout Bernie Pleskoff.

2022 outlook

Barring any unexpected veteran free agent outfield signings ahead by the Cardinals, Nootbaar will be St. Louis’ fourth outfielder to open 2022 and presumably would be the first to step into the starting lineup if any of the three starters – Tyler O’Neill, Bader and Dylan Carlson – become unavailable. Nootbaar’s left-handed bat could also position him for some designated hitter duty – if his offense is above average.

Further, Nootbaar has become a fan favorite maybe initially due to his unique name, but also for his hustling play and positive approach.

Having said that, I am still unsure who Nootbaar is as a hitter. He has moved up so quickly and has never gotten into a long groove at any level – and that includes St. Louis.

His career OPS prior to 2021 was just .668 and he was not ranked in this Top 50 coming into the season. That changed after his exceptional May in Memphis, superb August with St. Louis and great October in the AFL, but in between, he was not exceptional.

There is perhaps no better indicator of Nootbaar’s rapid rise through the minor leagues and his relative inexperience than this. He has never played in as many as 60 games at any level of professional baseball. In fact, his 58 contests after reaching St. Louis in 2021 set his new career high.

Overall, moving ahead quickly is certainly a positive. Then again, most opponents may not have seen him in more than one series before he proceeded to the next level.

Also of some concern is that his BABIP at Springfield and Memphis was a career-high .348, raising the question of how much of his 2021 emergence was aided by good fortune. (On the other side of the coin, with St. Louis, his BABIP was low at .273.)

Future outlook

A professional scout familiar with Nootbaar made an admission following the 2021 season. “He might be a little better than we thought, but he is not an everyday player,” the evaluator said. “A platoon with (Juan) Yepez might be his best fit as the Cardinals need left-handed bats.”

At the other end of the spectrum, some (including one organization insider) have already drawn the conclusion that Nootbaar will one day be a National League All-Star. However, until he gets more major league at-bats, I am going to be from Missouri on him for a while longer.

Our Future Value for Lars is between a platoon player and an average everyday player. Either one would be an exceptional return from an eighth-rounder and warrants another tip of the cap to the organization’s scouting and player development functions.

MLB debut: 2021
Rule 5 Eligible: not applicable

Our 2022 Top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects, grading scales and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the Top 50 countdown and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles planned daily into early 2022.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2022


For members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #11 – Brendan Donovan


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TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #15 – Malcom Nuñez

photo: Malcom Nuñez (Springfield Cardinals)

Holding down no. 15 in The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 prospect countdown for 2022 is a 20-year-old progressing toward St. Louis, but as with any third baseman, Malcom Nuñez has an uncertain future at the hot corner. FREE report!



Malcom Nuñez

Position: Third base
Age: 20 years old
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight – 5’11/205
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on July 2, 2018 for a reported $300,000
Primary team in 2021: Springfield Cardinals (Double-A)
Finished 2021: Springfield Cardinals (Double-A)

Prior Top 50 rankings – 2021 #14, 2020 #13, 2019 #10

Click on the above photo to be taken to Nuñez’ player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Link to Nuñez’ career stats

Jake Tweedie’s scouting report

(current grade/future grade)

HIT POWER FIELD ARM RUN FV
35/45 30/55 35/45 50/50 30/20 45
AVG OBP SLG OPS HR SB CS K% BB%
.268 .339 .404 .743 9 7 3 18.9% 8.5%
ISO wRC+ GB/FB GB% LD% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo%
.114(AA) 91(AA) 1.62(AA) 49.4%(AA) 20.1%(AA) 30.5%(AA) 45.6%(AA) 22.8%(AA) 31.6%(AA)

Nuñez has worked hard to get to the position he reached in 2021. There were some flaws in his game, which resulted in an average of .183 in Low-A in 2019, as well as just one extra base hit in 21 games.

He adjusted his approach and was more focused at the plate in 2021, thus resulting in his promotion to Double-A. He performed well for Springfield, showing that he can handle the tough assignments given him by the Cardinals.

Nuñez’s main approach is power and he can hit balls with high exit velocities. Although this can sometimes lead to strikeouts due to his overreliance on power and aggression, he still managed to finish with an average of .257 in Double-A. Despite power being his main tool, he doesn’t hit enough home runs due to his inability to regularly hit the ball in the air.

His size and stature should increase in time, which could aid this, but a big part of his game is to go for power and aim for home runs, so it will need to be refined in 2022 for him to really maximize his potential.

For a 20-year-old, Nuñez is full of potential and talent. Although it will take time for him to adjust his approach and refine the way he approaches pitchers at the plate, he certainly has the potential to maximize his tools and log a successful 2022.

Future Value: 45
Role: Platoon player
Risk: Moderate

Video

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=944563149476040

Brian Walton’s environmental impact report

Background

Signed in July 2018, Nuñez excelled immediately, winning the Dominican Summer League Triple Crown that year. However, Nuñez took a significant step backward in 2019 after being challenged in his first full season as a professional and first shot at playing in the US. He started that year in extended spring training but stumbled in a big test when assigned to Class-A in mid-May.

The then-18-year-old hit just .183 in 21 games against Midwest League pitchers who were often two to four years older. Once the short-season leagues opened in June, Nuñez was backed down to face more age-appropriate competition in the Appalachian League with Johnson City.

In 37 games with JC, Nuñez slashed .254/.336/.385/.721. His wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus) was 103, three percent above league average and ninth on his team. He helped the Cardinals win their fifth Appalachian League title of the decade in what became the team’s swan song.

As Nuñez only had about 2/3 of the plate appearances of other team leaders due to missing time because of injury, his counting stats did not stand out. He hit just two home runs and plated 14 in his 37 games with Johnson City. The trend was not positive, as his August numbers were substantially poorer than his July results.

To open 2020, Nuñez received his second invitation to the organization’s January instructional camp in Jupiter, Florida. He was back in July as one of the handful of non-MLB-ready prospects brought to the alternate camp in Springfield to get a valuable summer’s worth of work, an advantage not many prospects were given.

2021 recap – professional

By his Triple Crown DSL rookie debut, Nuñez set his initial expectation bar unreasonably high. As a result, he will likely never be able to duplicate his 238 wRC+ in 2018. That fell to a disappointing 80 wRC+ in 2019 (36 at Class-A and 103 in Rookie Advanced). The third baseman rebounded to a slightly above-average 103 wRC+ in 2021 – 120 in High-A and 91 at Double-A.

Malcom Nunez (Trevor Travis/Peoria Chiefs)

In 375 plate appearances across the two levels this past season, Nuñez slashed .268/.339/.404/.743. He improved between Peoria and Springfield in some areas including a lower strikeout rate and higher walk rate. On the flip side, his RBI rate fell as he moved up. At Double-A, Nuñez plated just 19 runs in 54 games. One would like to see more production from a budding power hitter.

One scout who saw him in 2021 said, “I liked Nuñez in the past, but he is nothing other than a first/third base platoon player at best.”

Here in our rankings, the Cuban native has slipped ever-so-slightly in each of the three years since his debut prior to the 2019 season. After touching the top 10 initially, Nuñez is now no. 15. That is still very good, but having been repeatedly challenged at higher levels, he has yet to recapture the significant career momentum he created in 2018.

2022 outlook

The pyramid narrows as 2020 top draft pick and fellow third base prospect Jordan Walker is coming up from the rear. Walker had an exceptional opening to his professional career, finishing 2021 with 55 games at High-A.

Walker may open 2022 at Springfield and if so, as a better prospect, he should have the priority between the two for playing time, if it comes to that. At some point, Nuñez may get more time at first base if the organization wants to give him a bigger MLB window through defensive diversification.

Malcom Nunez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Then again, Walker’s future in the field does not include pushing Nolan Arenado out of a job, either. (Just ask Nolan Gorman about that.) So, the Cardinals could decide to start Walker’s move to other positions (first base and/or corner outfield) and keep Nuñez at the hot corner for now.

Regarding his initial 2022 team assignment, Nuñez appeared in 54 games with Springfield in 2021 and did not perform to league average, so most likely he will return to Double-A to open 2022. But with a good first half, he could reach Memphis in time to receive considerable at-bats. It wouldn’t be crazy to see Nuñez move up when either Gorman or Brendan Donovan reaches St. Louis.

Future outlook

While Nuñez seems to have a major league future ahead, how, when and where he achieves it is not clear at all.

The first important step is the one most under his control. He needs to achieve breakout success at Double-A (and even better at Triple-A) in 2022. Despite his relative youthfulness, Nuñez’ prospect clock is ticking. Specifically, a 40-man roster decision for him will be required this coming fall.

If the 40-man route is not chosen, there are several other possible paths ahead.

Risk of loss in the Rule 5 draft is an outcome the Cardinals would probably prefer to avoid, but the roster numbers can present a challenge, especially for a position at which the organization is will stocked.

Even with a good season ahead, Nuñez could be left unprotected in the 2022 Rule 5 Draft as were 2021 teammates and prospects Luken Baker and Delvin Perez the year prior. It may get down to the Cardinals assessing the odds of Nuñez sticking on another team’s big league roster for the entire 2023 season.

Like fellow third base prospect Elehuris Montero before him, Nuñez could be an appealing trade target to another organization if he does not carve out a reserve spot with St. Louis starting in 2023.

MLB debut: 2023
Rule 5 Eligible: 2022

Our 2022 Top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects, grading scales and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the Top 50 countdown and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles planned daily into early 2022.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2022


For members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #16 – Luken Baker


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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, including access to every article in our 2022 Top Cardinals Prospects series.

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TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #20 – Ryan Holgate

photo: Ryan Holgate (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Opening the Top 20 in The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 prospect countdown for 2022 is a major college-trained, left-handed hitting outfielder taken 70th overall in the 2021 draft.



Ryan Holgate

Position: Outfielder
Age: 21 years old
Bats/Throws: L/L
Height/Weight – 6’2/193
Acquired: Selected in the Competitive Round B of the 2021 First-Year Player Draft, 70th overall.
Primary team in 2021: Palm Beach Cardinals (Low-A)
Finished 2021: Palm Beach Cardinals (Low-A)

Prior Top 50 rankings – not applicable

Click on the above photo to be taken to Holgate’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Link to Holgate’s career stats

Jake Tweedie’s scouting report

(current grade/future grade)

HIT POWER FIELD ARM RUN FV
30/45 35/55 45/45 45/45 45/40 40+
AVG OBP SLG OPS HR SB CS K% BB%
.193 .279 .289 .569 3 0 0 35.7% 10.1%
ISO wRC+ GB/FB GB% LD% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo%
.096 60 1.33 41.8% 26.9% 31.3% 44.9% 26.1% 29.0%

Holgate is very different from most outfielders currently on this top prospect list. He is more of a hitter than a fielder and does so with plenty of pop from his bat. Although he did not initially showcase this after signing in 2021, his potential was evident in college as he hit 19 home runs and 101 RBI in his three seasons there.

Usually hitting for solid average (.314 in college), Holgate struggled in his first season in professional ball, with an average of just .193. There is certainly a high ceiling on his power potential, maybe more so than his contact potential, but Holgate should experience an improvement in his end product once he settles in for another full season of pro ball.

Holgate keeps his stance fairly low, with bent knees, but he generates a ton of power through his front foot lift and the way his arms swing the bat through the pitch. There may be some doubt in his approach due to his high strikeout rate last season (35.7%), but he was much more controlled at the plate in college, and his plate discipline should show more in 2022.

Defensively, Holgate is athletic and moves well in the outfield, but his arm is a little fringy for center field, so a corner outfield role may be more suited for him.

Future Value: 40+
Role: Reserve
Risk: High

Video

Brian Walton’s environmental impact report

Background

As a 21-year-old, Holgate had a highly productive 2021 spring for the University of Arizona after struggling to hit for average as a freshman. However, Holgate did show promise early, leading the Northwoods League with 13 home runs and walking 34 times in 222 at-bats in the summer of 2019.

Due to the shortened 2020 COVID season, Holgate played in just 15 games for the Wildcats but showed massive improvement. The progress continued in 2021 as he slashed .351/.421/.576/.997 with 11 home runs.

As a junior, Holgate had a high strikeout rate for a collegian, at nearly 19%. Even so, it did not hinder his ability to hit for average. Additionally, of his 86 hits, 32 went for extra bases.

Ryan Holgate (Mike Christy/Arizona Athletics)

In his final season at Arizona, Holgate played all 55 games in right field, but some scouts believe he profiles better as a left fielder in the professional ranks. When I asked him about his preferred position, he shared what he knows best, while also expressing his versatility.

“Right field is normally where I play – but I can play anywhere in the outfield and I can play first base,” he said.

A general lack of defensive standout tools and below-average foot speed will put more pressure on Holgate’s bat, which will need to be his carrying tool.

Hustle and 100% effort should never be a concern, however.

“I characterize my game as being as competitive as possible, be hard-nosed and do everything I can do win,” Holgate said.

2021 recap – professional

Considered a safer pick, Holgate was taken with the Cardinals’ next selection after high-risk, high-reward high school outfielder Joshua Baez 16 spots prior, at 54th overall. Cardinals director of scouting Randy Flores called Holgate “aggressive” with “zero fear” and lauds his ability to make contact.

With the pool amount for his pick at $906,800, Holgate settled with the Cardinals on July 20 for about $30,000 less, coming to terms at $875,000.

He immediately reported to the Cardinals complex in Jupiter and soon joined Low-A Palm Beach, making his professional debut on August 1. For the struggling Beach Birds club that had lost many of its top hitters to promotion, Holgate was most often placed into the number three spot in manager Jose Leon’s batting order.

As captured in the above video, Holgate blasted a solo home run and singled in his debut and scored twice. The left-handed hitter commented on the benefit in collecting his first important hit early on.

“It was big, especially after taking a little break after the season, and coming off the long season, it was good to come back and feel the barrel again,” he said.

Ryan Holgate (University of Arizona)

It wasn’t always smooth sailing from there, however. The five total bases in Holgate’s first game turned out to be the high-water mark in his 30-game initial season (tied on September 10).

Though the plate appearances were relatively small, Holgate especially struggled against left-handed pitching, with a slash line of .130/.231/.130/.361. Overall, he came in at .193/.279/.289/.568.

I spoke with Holgate early – about two weeks into his seven-week debut professional season – asking him to identify his 2021 focus.

“In this short time, I am pretty much trying to put the results aside and focus on taking the next steps with my game and do everything I can to improve my ability as a baseball player and do what I can to move up to the next level,” Holgate said.

2022 outlook

Speaking of that next level, Holgate did not earn the High-A promotion during his brief 2021 debut, but that is not a negative in any way. He received just 129 plate appearances to open his professional career, so if he returned to Palm Beach to start 2022, it would not be the end of the world.

Then again, it would not be out of the ordinary for the Cardinals to challenge Holgate out of the gates with a promotion to Peoria. Either way, I expect he will log the majority of his 2022 at-bats in the High-A Central League. It will be important to see if he can iron out some of the roughness from his debut.

Future outlook

Holgate stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 205 pounds. His size, left-handedness and general profile are similar to that of another collegiate outfielder, Alec Burleson, whom the Cardinals took one year earlier with the exact same 70th overall pick in the draft.

If he can manage his strikeouts, Holgate is another college-trained candidate to rise quickly through the Cardinals organization. But despite the inevitable comparisons, it is not reasonable to expect Holgate to reach Triple-A in his first full season as did Burleson – though late 2023 seems a reasonable stretch.

Holgate generates plenty of power, as evidenced by the monster home run he hit against Kumar Rocker in the College World Series. He can put his bat on most offerings but will need to cut down on his swing-and-miss against breaking pitches to become a big leaguer.

However, like other corner outfielders (including Burleson), the rate at which Holgate’s power emerges may be his biggest professional differentiator – whether starter or reserve at the big-league level.

Reaching St. Louis before his Rule 5 eligibility in December 2024 is a possibility, but mastering the three increasingly difficult levels between is the more pressing and immediate challenge.

MLB debut: 2024
Rule 5 Eligible: 2024

Our 2022 Top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects, grading scales and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the Top 50 countdown and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles planned daily into early 2022.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2022


For members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #21 – Ian Bedell


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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, including access to every article in our 2022 Top Cardinals Prospects series.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.