Cardinals Prospects are the life blood of the organization. As we look back through recent history, we find that Cardinals prospects have played a huge impact on their success. Here is a brief look at what is coming in 2023 and beyond.
Cardinals Prospects #30-26
#30- Moises Gomez is a 24 year old outfielder. He came up in the Tampa Bay organization. Moises throws right and bats right.
The Cardinals signed him as after poor season and was released by the Rays. In 2022, he was placed at Double A Springfield and was on fire as a powerful players. His exit velocity was one of the best after he learned to not move around in the box. His swinging strike saw an early drop rate in 2022.He still has a tendency to sell out for power but the Cardinals are encouraged and he is one to watch.
Gomez shows good speed that profiles as a corner outfielder but could play center in a pinch. He could get a call in 2023 after some more at-bats in Memphis if needed as a power bat off the bench for the Cardinals.
#29- Andre Granillo
The 6’4″ righthanded pitcher has a fastball that an top out out at 97 mph but he sits at 93-95 ,pj\h most of the time. He challenges hitters from the first pitch but he has a slider that comes in as a vertical pitch 80-82 mph that is a knee buckler and that is his knockout pitch,
His drawback appears to be he hasn’t developed a third pitch. If he want to retire lefties more often, then that is a must. However, he fans about 35% of his batter s and that will play in the major leagues as a reliever, maybe as soon as 2023.
#28 Lizandro Espinoza
Lizandro had to really wait two years due to the Covid pandemic to get any meaningful baseball activity. When he did, he started at the Dominican Summer League and had a solid start. That earned him a quick promotion to Palm Beach Class A baseball.
The 5’7″ 158 lbs shortstop/second baseman has a short compact right-handed swing. He uses his legs well to drive balls to all fields . His batting average project to be a .275 hitter and ten to twelve home runs.
He has primarily been a shortstop but profiles to play second base. The 19 year old Venezuelan native is projected to move through the system and has a 2028 ETA in St. Louis as a utility player.
#27 Nathaniel Heredia
The 22 year-old left-handed pitcher is 6’3″ and 190 lbs began playing at the Gulf Coast League after a short suspension from Stanozolol. He was a bullpen pitcher from the start as he had to work on his control. At High-a ball in Peoria, he was a swing-and miss pitcher.
His arm slot is deceiving as it is a low hurl that puts him right on left handed batters. His fastball hit mid 90’s and a low 80’s slider with horizontal sweep. He is tough on righties who sport a lower batting average than those from the left side,
Heredia keeps improving and he can become productive in a major league bullpen. His ETA to St Louis is 2024.
#26 Ryan Loutos
The 23 year-old right-handed pitcher is 6’5″ and 215 lbs. He is a st Louis local boy that has clawed his way into being a top prospect. A product of Washington University, he asided his team in reaching the 2021 Division III World Series with a 11-1 record along with a 1.33 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 95 innings as a senior.
The following summer he pitched in three games in the Northwoods League and was undrafted. He was about to change professions and become a software engineer when the Cardinals offered him $20,000 to sign with them. He accepted and made the move to the bullpen and by July he was pitching in AAA Memphis. The winter of 2022, he has been assigned to the Arizona Fall League.
His velocity continues to creep up as he now peaks at the mid-90’s and occasionally reaches 98 mph. He loves to live high with his heater and gets plenty of swing and misses.
Loutos has a changeup and curveball that can be a strike pitch for him to keep hitters off balance. He has control and doesn’t walk many. He does have times he appears out of rhythm but he receive plenty of save opportunities in the lower levels of the minor leagues.
Loutos will get his chances in St Louis to get saves and holds and that might be as soon as 2023.
Cardinals Prospects #25-21
#25 Jimmy Crooks III
With not many catching prospects in the Cardinals organization, Crooks become important. He is 21 years of age and throws right but bats leftHe is 6’1″ and 210 lbs.As ahigh school player, Crooks was known for his bat more than his catching but thing changed in college when he transfeerred from McLennan CC in Texas to the University of Oklahoma. It was his second season when the transformation took place but his power returned when he hammered four bombs in 12 NCA College World Series at-bats,
A few weeks later, in the fourth round of the draft, the Cardinals selected him. Scouts love Crooks’ grinder makeup, and he has worked hard to improve his receiving skills and footwork. He has gotten better at framing and blocking pitches, and he’s getting more out of his solid arm strength after upgrading his throwing mechanics. He has answered questions about his ability to remain at catcher by becoming an average-to-solid defender.
A left-handed hitter whose strength stands out more than his bat speed, Crooks is vulnerable to breaking pitches but makes decent contact and draws a fair amount of walks. After homering 10 times in his first year at Oklahoma, he showed little pop with wood bats in the Cape Cod League and didn’t drive the ball with any consistency in 2022 until the end of the season. A well-below-average runner out of the batter’s box, he’s quicker once he gets going and shows some savvy on the bases.
#24 Connor Thomas
At age 24, Thomas bats left and throws left.He is 5″11′ and 173 lbs. While is college, Connor Thomas was a top pitcher for Georgia Tech in his sophomore and junior seasons. Each season, he finished with an ERA under 3.40 and five strikeouts of mor per walk.
He was selected by the Cardinals on the 2019 draft and signed fir exact slot money, He first season was a bust due to the pandemic. In 2021, much of the year was at Triple-A Memphis where he finished with a 3.10 ERA and 92 strikeouts with only 30 walks in 101 2/3 innings pitched.
The lefty hurler has comes in around 90 mph with lots of sink to it. He induces a groundball bout 60% of the time. the lider is near 85 mph and he can throw it for strikes. His changeup is a quality pitch that uses well against right-handed batters.
Thomas isn’t bothered by a pitch clock and is a fast worker, His combo of pitchers might be one of the best in the Cardinals organization. . With his fastball and groundball rate, he will play well in St Louis and could be a backend starter for the St Louis Cardinals sometime in 2023.
#23 Ian Bedell
At age 23, Bedell is 6’2″ and 198 lbs and a right-handed pitcher. In the collegiate ranks, he was a reliever for to seasons for Mizzou but got his best break playing in 2019 in the Cape Cod League. There he garnered a 0.50 ERA with a 36 strikeouts and only 3 walks.
The next season in college he started with a 12 K’s game as a starter against the Western Illinois Leathernecks which was his last outing before the season was shut down. The Cardinals took him in the fourth round of the next draft and signed him for $600,000. He appeared in two games for High-A Peoria before needing Tommy John surgery. He came back in August 2022. Prior to this he had a low 90;s four-seam fastball a a two-seamer with movement. He can use his change-up a curveball effectively as off-speed pitches. He also throws a cutter in the mid 80’s to complete his arsenal of pitches.
The organization hopes he returns with his complete package and continues to fill the strike zone. If that happens. look for his to be a back \-f-the-rotation guy in 2024 for the 2024 St Louis Cardinals.
#22 Freddy Pacheco
Pacheco is 24 years of age and bats right and throws right. He is 5’11” and 203 lbs.The Cardinals signed him out of Venezueal as a 19 year-old in 2017. They converted him to a reliever. In 2019, he got them to notice him as he struck out 90 batters in 54 2/3 innings pitched in Peoria.
However, he also walked more than in the past and finished with a 4.12 ERA. He continued to improve as he climbed the minor league ladder. In Triple- As he had a 3.67 ERA with 965 K’s. He was added to the 40 man roster due to concern of losing him in the Rule 5 Draft in 2021.
He is a two pitch pitcher with a fastball that get to 95-98 mph and he can throw high strikes with it. His skider hits mid 80’s and can buckle knees of batters with its slurve action. Lefty hitters tend to hit him harder than righties since he doesn’t have a third pitch.
Pacheco has late-inning reliever potential, but barring split/control improvements, a middle-inning profile might fit best — and it’s one Pacheco is close to reaching in his age-24 season. Look for a major league debut in 2023.
#21 Jake Walsh
Jake Walsh is 27 years old and 6’1″ and 192 lbs. He came from Jacksonville State to Florida Southern and was drafted by the Cardinals in the 16th round of the 2017 draft.
He was doing fine in the lower levels of the minors and then tore his UCL in 2019. In 2021 he came back as a reliever and showed promise. Triple=A Memphis wasn’t kind to him as he got hit more often. He was sent to the Arizona Fall League and earned as protection in the Rule 5 draft.
The right-hander can hit 9-97 mph on his fastball and a 12-to-6 curveball that comes in at 83-84 mph. He doesn’t use it often, but his change-is nearly at 84-85 mph.He showed some control issues at Memphis . Walsh seems to prefer longing outings rather than an inning or two of work. Look for Jake Walsh to get a call sometime in 2023 to St Louis.
Watch for part 2 with prospects 20-11 and part 3 with #10-1.
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