Cardinal Prospects #10—#1 Part 3 of 3

Cardinal Prospects, be sure to  check out the other two posts which include the Top 30 in the organization as of November 10,2022.

10- Jonathan Mejia

This 17 year old shortstop is a switch hitter id 6′ tall and 285 lbs. Jonathan was signed in 2022 in the International Draft out of the Dominican Republic. He took to it shortly and became a very promising shortstop.sides of the dish. He is capable of hitting well from both sides with good raw power and tremendous bat speed.

His defense grades as a plus  and is the best thing going for him. Many scouts believe move to third bade in inevitable.

As is the case with many international signees, Mejia’s range of outcomes is vast. Cardinals’ investment shows they believe he can be a solid infield regular in the end, and given his present skill set, don’t be surprised if he takes off quickly offensively during early tastes of the Minors.

9. Michael McGreevy

He is a 22 year old right handed pitcher that is 6’4″ and 215 lbs. McGreevy was drafted in the first round of the 2021 draft.

He attended UC Santa Barbara where he was an All Big West reliever in 2019 and had a 10.5 K/BB ratio. In his third and final season there, he finished with a 2.92 ERA and had 115 strikeouts and only 11 walks in almost 102 innings pitched.

After he was selected, he split time between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Palm Beach to get some professional experience. He has continued to throw strikes and has a sinking fastball that hit mid 00’s. He has two breaking balls and a slider. He is getting close to developing them into quality pitches. His diverse arsenal and ability to locate could fuel a quick trip toward the St. Louis rotation. ETA is projected to be 2024.

8 Cooper Hjerpe

Hjerpe has a funky style delivery and the 21 year old lefty hurler tends to throw strikes. This hass the organization believing he will continue the success in the future, He shows a bulldog approach on the mound. At 6′” and 200 lbs., there is a potential for him to become a middle of the pitcher in the future  for the Cardinals.

Cardinal Prospects

He attended Oregon State and was used out of the pen in his freshman season. Then they moved him to the weekends to start on Saturday. Then the team made it to the NCAA Regionals. The following year, he was the Friday starter and his stock rose as did his consistency. the Cardinals took him 22nd over in the last draft in July.

Cooper Hjerpe is not a radar gun type of pitcher but has loads of deception that can hit 91-93 mph. Right-handed hitters have issues picking up his pitches and the ball rises against lefties. The pitches come from a three-quarters slot and his breaking balls  is a slow sweeping curve in the mid 70’s.  His average change-up features good fade and should be a weapon for him in the future.There is a lot of guess hitter facing him.  He has a 2025 ETA to the major leagues.

7. Ivan Herrera

Herrera is already on the roster but hasn’t lost his prospect eligibility. His sample in St Louis didn’t go the way the organization had hoped. the hitting was anemic and the handling of a pitching staff was exciting for the team.

At 22 years of age, he has time to figure it out. He is likely the back in 2023 to whomever the Cardinals sign to be the starter behind the plate and Knizner is likely gone.

St. Louis officials have long been enthused by Herrera’s defensive growth and the work he’s put in on that side. His blocking has gotten better in the last two years, but there is still room to improve in that area. Once put on a throwing program by the Cardinals, Herrera now projects to have an above-average arm behind the plate.

5 Tink Hence

This right-handed pitcher was drafted in 2020 as 63rd overall. He is 20 years of age and stands 6’2″ and 175 lbs. Taken out of high school in Arkansas he can show velocity with his small stature for a pitcher. The organization took it easy with him at West Palm beach and was very effective.. He fans a=over 40% of the batters he faces.

Although he has few numbers at the Florida Complex League, he was a bright star at the Arizona Fall League in 2022. He has a 2024 ETA.Hence has always been pegged for a velocity jump, and that has come in the abbreviated outings this season to the point where he’ll sit 95-97 and has touched as high as 99 per Statcast. He showed a plus slider in high school, but has scrapped it since in deference to a 79-81 mph curveball with good spin and bite. He’s grown more and more confident in a mid-80s change-up with arm side fade as 2022 has rolled along, and that pitch too gets a healthy whiff rate.

5 Alec Burleson

The 23 year old outfielder seems to already be part of the conversation for playing time in 2023 for the Cardinals. He was with the team at its regular season completion and throughout the playoffs.

The team could use a left-handed bat in the lineup from time to time.  He has always been known for making contact and as a gap hitter. . He seems to mash righties much better than the left-handers.

Mainly, he is a corner outfielder. He ads to an already crowded out field in 2023. Look for some pieces to get move in this off-season.

4 Matthew Liberatore

The 23 year old left-handed hurler is close to not being a  prospect much longer. In 2022, he played in nine games for the Cardinals at the major league level.JHe is 6’4″ and 200 lbs. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2028 draft by the Tampa bay Rays. the Cardinals got him in the Randy Arozarena deal.

Matthew was pushed quickly through AAA- Memphis and took a few bumps along the way.He got some big moments along the way with the  Olympic qualifiers with Team USA and at the All-Star Futures Game in Denver.

He is an innings eater with a low 90’s fastball that can reach 95-96 when he needs it. Likely his best pitch is has 12-to-6 curve in the mid 70’s but his slider is improving with late breaking action. He is a bit harder on tight-handed batters.

He doesn’t walk many and that is a plus for Liberatore. The lack of elite velocity has kept him from sticking in St. Louis after multiple Major League looks this summer, but at just 22 years old, Liberatore could still overcome those lumps and find a more secure spot in a future St. Louis rotation.

3. Gordon Graceffo

Right-hander Graceffo is 22 years old and was drafted in the 5th round of the 2021 draft.

At 6’4″ and 210 lbs he was the first Villanova player drafted since 2017. In his junior year he threw 82 innings and had 86 strikeouts along with a 1.54 ERA. then he went to the Cape Cod league and made three impressive starts before the Cardinals selected him.He made 11 appearances at Palm Beach in the Single-A. He was sent to Peoria and Springfield moving up the organizational ladder.

He now can throw in the 94-96 mph range and has added a slider, which looks good, that can nip the edges for strikes.his change sinks and is low 80’s and a mid 70’s curve has good vertical break. His four pitches will continue to help him move through the organization and projects to arrive in 2024 and be a mid-rotation pitcher.

option, though it’ll likely settle in as his fourth pitch.

2 Masyn Winn

This 20 year old phenom has the complete package but must first touch base at each level, it appears. Winn was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft and may be the is lsteal of that draft. He was a two-way player for most of his career and was pitching in the  upper 90’s and played the premium spot as a shortstop. At Palm Beach he played in the field only and hit .262 in 61 games. He was sent to High-A Peoria and got one relief appearance in ut was their pillar at short.

He has been clocked throwing to first base at over 200 mph and can get the ball in the deep hole and make plays. He stands a 5’11” and is an elite baserunner. In 2021 he stole 32 bases and would be a constant threat to run in the major leagues

His bat is a small hold up and with improvement in 2022 and cutting down on his whiffs along with added strength he could begin his dream of the major leagues in late 2023.

1 Jordan Walker

There hasn’t been this kind of talk about a Cardinal prospect since Oscar Taveras. This 6’5′. 200 lbs outfielder was drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft. this 20 year old started as a third baseman and recently he was moved off that base since a guy by the name of Nolan Arenado mans the third sack. Out of Decatur High School in Georgia he was whisked away from his commitment to play at Duke.

At Low-A Palm Beach he smacked a .374 average and went up to Peoria and hit eight homers in 55 games.He is a masher with some unreal exit velocites where he tip the gun at 116.2 mph.

He also has tremendous arm strength and man his position well with few willing to run on him. Despite a long swing built to make the most of his strength, Walker walked and struck out in nearly equal measures at Palm Beach, only for that ratio to go south in Peoria. He’s answered quite nicely to an aggressive assignment to Double-A Springfield in his age-20 season, hitting above .300 for much of the season and making hard contact again at that.

Many are of the opinion he is already penciled in for the Cardinals in 2023 and that is likely. Much will depend on his Spring Training in Jupiter.  He will be in the line-up for the big club sometime soon next season.

 

Come check out the other parts

Part 1  prospects 30-21

 

Part 2 Prospects 20-22

 

 

 


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