Who are the prospects to watch as Cardinals open minor-league camp?

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – By now, Cardinals fans should be quite familiar with the three players universally recognized as the top prospects in the farm system – Nolan Gorman, Jordan Walker and Matthew Liberatore.

All will be on the field on Monday when the minor-league spring training camp officially opens – where they will be joined by 150 other players whose names might not be as well known.

With the major-league portion of spring training shut down because of the ongoing labor dispute between the owners and the players union, players on the 40-man roster have been locked out of team facilities.

In the Cardinals case, this affects only one of their top minor-league prospects. Catcher Ivan Herrera, likely headed to Triple A Memphis this season, is the only player in STLSportsPage’s ranking of the top 16 prospects in the organization last summer who will not be in the minor league camp.

Other than the top three – Gorman, Walker  and Liberatore – there are several prospects who will be worth following for the next month of camp, as well as when the regular season begins.

Perhaps the most exciting player among that group is Masyn Winn, who split time between Palm Beach and Peoria last season and likely will reach Double A Springfield this season. Winn, 19, was the Cardinals’ second-round pick in the 2020 draft after starring as both a shortstop and pitcher in high school in Texas.

The Cardinals have said they will give Winn a chance at both positions, but in his first professional season last year he only made one appearance on the mound for Peoria, needing 14 pitches to record a perfect inning.

The rest of Winn’s pro debut came at shortstop, where he hit ,242 with five homers, 44 RBIs and 32 stolen bases in a combined 99 games between the two Class A levels.

Winn said it was a big learning year for him, and he is excited to get started on his second season.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I feel like this is probably going to be a pretty good year. I can’t wait to get going.”

Winn still hopes to get a chance to pitch more at some point, but at the moment he is content to play primarily at shortstop.

“We haven’t talked too much about it,” he said. “I’ve kind of just been working at shortstop so far but I am sure they have a plan. I love pitching, but if they want to prioritize me at short we’ll see if that works out. I just kind of play it by ear.”

Winn has played with many of the player in the Cardinals camp, but he also is looking forward to watching some of those he  will be seeing in person for the first time.

“I don’t know the older guys too much, but I know the younger prospects,” Winn said. “I’ve seen the talent. We’ve got some guys who are better than people give them credit for I think.”

Here are some of the other prospects to watch, including three who will be going through their first spring training, listed in alphabetical order:

Joshua Baez – He is one of the three newcomers to spring, following his selection by the Cardinals in the second round of last year’s draft out of a Massachusetts high school. Baez is a right-handed hitting outfielder, who at 6-foot-4, projects to be a power hitter in the future. He made his pro debut as an 18-year-old in the rookie Florida Complex League, where he struggled (.158 average) which is not uncommon for a player in his first pro season, especially considering he came from a background of playing prep baseball in the northeast.

Alec Burleson – Along with Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez (both on the 40-man roster) Burleson was one of the breakout players in the organization in 2021. The 23-year-old outfielder from East Carolina rose from Peoria to Springfield to Memphis during the season, hitting a combined 22 homers with a .270 average between the three levels. The left-handed hitter likely would have received a non-roster invitation to the major-league camp if not for the lockout.

Won-Bin Cho – A lot of eyes will be on Cho as the camp opens. The 18-year-old outfielder, from South Korea signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent in January, the first amateur free agent signed by the organization out of the Far East. His background alone makes the left-handed hitter an intriguing prospect but he also showed off his power potential in summer showcases before signing with the Cardinals instead of staying home and playing in the Korean Baseball Organization.

Tink Hence – It has been a slow start to his pro career for the 19-year-old Hence, a right-handed pitcher from Arkansas selected in the 2020 draft. He had to sit out that year because of the covid-cancelled minor-league season, then was able to pitch only eight innings in the Complex League in 2021 because of a shoulder injury. Now healthy, Hence comes into spring training looking to earn a spot in the Palm Beach rotation.

Michael McGreevy – The Cardinals’ first-round pick in last year’s draft, the right-handed pitcher was known for throwing strikes at UC-Santa Barbara, walking only 11 batters in 101 innings last year. He was limited to just seven innings in his first pro season and will be starting his first spring training, like Hence looking to earn a spot in the rotation at Palm Beach.

Edwin Nunez – One of the hardest throwers in the organization, Nunez is still trying to figure out how to harness the 100-mph velocity with the ability to throw strikes. The  20-year-old right-hander struck out 59 batters in 53 innings last year for Palm Beach, but also issued 56 walks in his first professional season.

Malcom Nunez – The 20-year-old third baseman split last season between Peoria and Springfield, where he was one of the youngest players at the Double A level. Still progressing as a hitter, Nunez also needs to keep working on his defense as the organization tries to determine where he best fits on the field going forward. He likely will be back in Springfield to begin the regular season.

Andre Pallante – After a solid season at Springfield last year, Pallante had a breakout performance in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 1.29 ERA and struck out 22 in 21 innings. The 23-year-old right-hander, a product of UC-Irvine, was the Cardinals’ fourth-round pick in 2019. Pallante is trying to earn a spot in the Memphis rotation to begin the regular season.

Zack Thompson –  Thompson’s 2021 season was good and bad. The bad was his performance at Memphis, where he was just 2-10 with a 7.06 ERA as he made the big jump up after pitching just 15 innings in 2019 and then missing the 2020 season. The good was his performance in the Fall League, where appearing in relief, the left-hander was 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA and recorded 22 strikeouts in 17 innings. Thompson probably will be in the Memphis rotation to start the year, but could be an intriguing option if the Cardinals are looking for a third left-hander in their bullpen.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @Rob Rains

Photo of Masyn Winn courtesy of the Peoria Chiefs

Here is the complete roster for the minor-league camp, in alphabetical order, with uniform numbers – note: there are many duplicate numbers

13 Antico, Mike ………………………… OF
43 Antonini, Aaron………………………. C
27 Báez, Joshua ……………………….. OF
77 Baker, Luken………………………… 1B
87 Baker, Trent………………………. RHP
49 Baldoquin, Roberto……………….. SS
25 Bedell, Ian…………………………. RHP
15 Beller, John ………………………..LHP
44 Bernal, Leonardo ……………………. C
36 Black, Grant………………………. RHP
89 Bosiokovic, Jacob………………. RHP
8 Brettell, Michael…………………. RHP
66 Brooks, Aaron……………………. RHP
11 Buchberger, Jacob……………….. INF
84 Burleson, Alec ……………………… OF
61 Burns, Jake……………………………. C
34 Cabell, Elijah ………………………… OF
79 Capel, Conner ………………………. OF
66 Chamberlain, Matt ………………… OF
19 Chambers, Mack…………………… SS
52 Cho, Won-Bin ………………………. OF
3 Contreras, Nelfri ………………….LHP
75 Cornwell, Alex……………………..LHP
80 Coulter, Clint………………………….. C
79 Cruz, Adanson ……………………… OF
19 Cruz, Jesús……………………….. RHP
80 Cuenca, Ángel……………………. RHP
18 Dalatri, Gianluca ………………… RHP
47 Dávila, José ………………………. RHP
33 Davis, Jonah………………………… OF
26 DeLuzio, Ben ……………………….. OF
8 Dunn, Nick ………………………….. 2B
26 Elledge, Seth……………………… RHP
33 Escobar, Edgar ………………….. RHP
30 Fletcher, Trejyn…………………….. OF
21 Francisco, Thomas ………………. 1B
32 García, Roy……………………….. RHP
58 Gerard, Chris ………………………LHP
92 Giulianelli, Ettore ……………….. RHP
40 Gómez, Moisés…………………….. OF
56 González, Edgar…………………. RHP
68 Gorman, Nolan ……………………. INF
55 Graceffo, Gordon……………….. RHP
41 Gragg, Logan…………………….. RHP
50 Granillo, Andre…………………… RHP
47 Grant, Adari …………………………. SS
57 Guarate, Carlos………………….. RHP
94 Hart, Tom …………………………. RHP
73 Heinecke, Hayes ………………….LHP
12 Hence, Tink……………………….. RHP
62 Heredia, Nathanael……………….LHP
63 Heredia, Roblin………………………. C
87 Hernández, Brandon …………….. INF
39 Hernández, Francisco …………… INF
67 Holba, Chris………………………. RHP
37 Holgate, Ryan ………………………. OF
36 Hurst, Scott …………………………. OF
80 Jew, Tommy………………………… OF
95 Jiménez, Ludwin………………… RHP
22 Jones, Connor …………………… RHP
25 Jones, LJ…………………………….. OF
59 Kealey, Sean ……………………….LHP
70 Koperniak, Matt ……………………. OF
30 Kruczynski, Evan …………………LHP
76 Lardner, Mac ………………………LHP
31 Leahy, Kyle ……………………….. RHP
52 Liberatore, Matthew……………..LHP
71 Linárez, Carlos……………………….. C
5 López, Irving……………………….. INF
38 Lott, Todd……………………………. OF
49 Loutos, Ryan …………………….. RHP
70 Love, Austin ……………………… RHP
66 Lunn, Connor ……………………. RHP
43 Manzo, Edgar ……………………. RHP
52 Marnon, Kevin …………………….LHP
4 Marrero, Andrew ……………….. RHP
21 McGreevy, Michael …………….. RHP
35 McKeithan, Aaron …………………… C
16 Mendlinger, Noah ………………… INF
7 Mendoza, Evan ……………………. INF
74 Mendoza, Ramon ………………… INF
71 Mills, Zane………………………… RHP
48 Montano, Luis ……………………… OF
93 Moquete, Darlin……………………. OF
90 Mora, Sander………………………. INF
96 Moreno, Jose…………………….. RHP
81 Naile, James ……………………… RHP
13 Newsome, Ljay ………………….. RHP
54 Nuñez, Edwin…………………….. RHP
22 Nuñez, Malcolm……………………. 3B
63 Ortíz, Luis …………………………. RHP
94 Otamendi, Hansel …………………. OF
99 Pages, Pedro …………………………. C
97 Paniagua, Inohan……………….. RHP
91 Pallante, Andre ………………….. RHP
34 Parsons, Tommy ……………….. RHP
37 Pereira, Wilfredo………………… RHP
73 Pérez, Delvin………………………… SS
11 Pike, Tyler…………………………..LHP
12 Pinder, Chase ………………………. OF
53 Pino, Luis ……………………………. OF
68 Pope, Bryan………………………. RHP
39 Prater, Levi ……………………….. LHP
35 Ralston, Jack…………………….. RHP
18 Raposo, Nick…………………………. C
76 Redmond, Chandler……………… INF
81 Reichenborn, Tyler ……………….. OF
64 Richard, Yordy…………………… RHP
65 Richardson, Zade……………………. C
41 Rivas, Jeremy………………………. SS
78 Roach, Dalton……………………. RHP
40 Roberts, Griffin………………….. RHP
78 Robertson, Kramer ………………. INF
28 Robles, Domingo…………………LHP
7 Rodríguez, Dionys ……………… RHP
50 Rodríguez, Edgardo………………… C
61 Rodríguez, Gustavo ……………. RHP
74 Rodríguez, Julio……………………… C
67 Rodríguez, Luis ……………………… C
82 Romeri, Patrick…………………….. OF
44 Ruíz, Alredo………………………..LHP
58 Ryan, Kyle ………………………….LHP
5 Sánchez, Ómar ……………………LHP
16 Sánchez, Ricardo…………………LHP
74 Schmid, Colin ……………………..LHP
81 Solano, Enmanuel………………. RHP
32 Soto, Carlos…………………………… C
54 Soto, Franklin ……………………… INF
38 Soto, Hector ……………………… RHP
98 Statler, Tyler ……………………… RHP
29 Stauss, Wade…………………………. C
79 Tabata, Sebastian ………………. RHP
78 Taveras, Felix……………………….. OF
83 Taveras, Leonardo ……………… RHP
35 Tejeda, Anderson………………….. SS
46 Tena, Luis…………………………. RHP
86 Thomas, Connor………………….LHP
65 Thompson, Cory………………… RHP
57 Thompson, Zack………………….LHP
4 Toerner, Justin …………………….. OF
56 Torres, Jhon ………………………… OF
28 Tovalin, Osvaldo …………………… 3B
48 Trogrlic-Iverson, Nick…………. RHP
84 Velásquez, Diego ……………………. C
82 Villanueva, Victor……………….. RHP
83 Walker, Jordan …………………….. 3B
27 Warner, Austin…………………….LHP
15 Whalen, Brady ……………………… 1B
29 Williams, Garrett………………….LHP
60 Willis, Alec………………………… RHP
3 Winn, Masyn …………………SS/RHP
89 YaSenka, Michael ………………. RHP
86 Zápata, José ………………………….. C

About stlsportspage 1692 Articles
For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.