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Could the Cardinals Turn to Their Top Prospects in 2023?

Cardinals Prospects

(Paul Halfacre/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Could the Cardinals Turn to Their Top Prospects in 2023?

It seems like the St. Louis Cardinals are always in contention for the playoffs, year in and year out. What’s one of the primary key elements in this success? The history of St. Louis has been developing homegrown talent within its organization. Going into next year, the Cardinals will have to figure out what they will do with two of their top prospects. Both Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn are knocking on the door of the major leagues. So with that being said, will they be a part of the Cardinals’ plans for next season, or will St. Louis explore external help in the offseason?

Jordan Walker

Jordan Walker is the big name in the Cardinals farm system. Walker has shot up the MLB rankings in the past two years and is now considered a top 10 prospect in all of baseball. The 6 ‘5 20-year-old has recently transitioned to the outfield after being drafted as a third baseman with Nolan Arenado locked in for the future. So far in his young professional career, Walker has done everything right. Throughout the AA season, Walker slugged his way to a .306/.388/.510 slash line with 19 home runs and 22 stolen bases. With the production Walker has produced, the hype has seemed to build up. Especially with Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak comparing him to the likes of Albert Pujols and Oscar Taveras with the success he’s accomplished at his age. With Walker’s natural hitting ability with his plus power, teams normally find a way to include his bat.

So with Jordan Walker knocking on the door of the major leagues, even though he hasn’t had an at-bat in AAA, is it a real possibility he will play a role for St. Louis next year? There is a strong case that he might be ready. Right now the Cardinals will have Dylan Carlson, Lars Nootbaar, and Tyler O’Neill as their main outfielders going into next season. The club could slide utility player Brendan Donovan or DH Juan Yepez to a corner spot as well if needed. However, Carlson struggled this past season, and O’Neill can’t stay healthy which could open up a spot for Walker.

Maybe the Cardinals trade an outfielder away for a catcher, which they desperately need this offseason. With Walker being able to hit and play all three outfield spots, the Cardinals could give their number-one prospect a chance to contribute to the team next year. Maybe the Cardinals have Walker on the opening day opening-day roster like Julio Rodriguez for Seattle this year.

Masyn Winn

The former two-way prospect is now a full-time shortstop in the Cardinals organization. Masyn Winn has developed terrific in the past couple of years and is now the second-ranked prospect in the organization, only behind Walker. The 20-year-old shortstop has many physical tools, making him an exciting prospect for St. Louis. Winn’s biggest strength is his plus arm in the field. Earlier this year, Winn recorded the fastest thrown ball in the stat cast era at 100.5 mph. Another big tool for Winn is his ability to steal bases with his plus speed. Through the entire 2022 season, Winn recorded 42 stolen bases between AA and A. The only concern for Winn is if his bat will translate to the major league level. Winn had a slash line of .283/.364/.468 this season.

The Masyn Winn situation is kind of tricky to predict for St. Louis this off-season. They already have Tommy Edman, Donovan, and Nolan Gorman securing the spots in the infield. The Cardinals also have Paul DeJong, who had a horrific season, under contract for one more year. There have also been rumors that St. Louis could potentially be in on the loaded shortstop market this offseason. John Mozeliak stated after the season that Winn made the biggest jump out of all the Cardinals’ position prospects this season. When looking around the league, many young players barely played in AAA during their careers. If you want to compare Winn to some of the other rookie shortstops we saw play during the World Series, it is interesting to look at.

Jeremy Pena182 Minor League Games (30 AAA)

Bryston Stott169 Minor League Games (19 AAA)

Masyn Winn217 Minor League Games (0 AAA)

If the Cardinals don’t go out and make a splash at short this offseason, or trade one away for catching, Winn could possibly slide in if a spot opens up.

With both Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn flying producing and flying through the farm system, it will all come down to the offseason moves, and how they perform in Spring Training. Walker seems more of a possibility than anything due to his bat. However, Winn is a dark horse that could catch people by surprise. With a good spring performance, and how the roster looks after the offseason, you never know what could happen. However, with whatever happens, both players are close to making their debuts for the Cardinals. St. Louis will have a busy offseason after having back-to-back disappointing trips to the postseason.

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