St. Louis Cardinals 2021 Top 50 Prospects

Graphic design by John Stewart, @jonance on Twitter

In a year where we weren’t even sure if we were going to be able to watch our favorite MLB teams, we all breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced it was time to play ball. With little to no fans allowed to be at the games, it likely could have brought a weird and quiet feeling to the players.

The Cardinals finished the season 30-28, good enough for the 5th seed and a date with San Diego. St. Louis would lose the series but all in all I feel it was a good season with all the setbacks they faced. Earlier in the season the Cardinals had multiple guys test positive for COVID-19, which postponed series after series. This forced them to play lots of extra games during the 2nd half of the shortened season.


With 2021 underway, I can’t wait to see how the Cardinals perform this year. I’m hoping for more MLB debuts, and for guys that made their debuts last season to get into the lineup more. With the J2 signing period opening January 15th, the Cardinals added 15 international free agents. The main headliners of the signees are SS Adari Grant and C Leonardo Bernal. From the Bahamas, Grant has plus speed, but limited power. Bernal is a switch hitting catcher from Panama that focuses more on the defensive side. With all the signees being pretty young, it’s hard to say what will become of them.

Let’s have a great 2021 everyone. Stay safe, and hope you enjoy my take on the top 50 prospects in the Cardinals farm system.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have a high likelihood of making the majors, but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster

 

Tier 1

1. Dylan Carlson, OF
Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB

Carlson is once again my choice for the #1 prospect in the Cardinals system. No surprise here after what he did in between AA and AAA in 2019. He made his much anticipated MLB debut in the 2020 season and although he didn’t hit for a huge average, he did hit 3 home runs, and finished with 16 RBI. Carlson is no doubt an elite bat, and the future is bright for him and the Cardinals. He played all 3 outfield positions in the MLB in 2020, with his versatility, and power potential he should be in the St. Louis outfield the entire 2021 season.

2. Nolan Gorman, 3B
Age: 20
Highest Level: A+

Drafted 19th overall in 2018, Gorman has some of the best raw power in the Cardinals system. Since being drafted Gorman has moved from Rookie ball up to A+ through the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He has mashed 32 home runs, 106 RBI, going along with a .263 average. While he does tend to strikeout quite a bit, I feel the power potential he has outweighs the Ks. If Gorman can cut out some of the strikeouts, this will greatly improve his value, while translating into a higher average and more home runs.

Tier 2

3. Matthew Liberatore, LHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: A

The top ranked pitcher in the system, Liberatore will be a solid contributor in Cardinals lineup within the next couple years. I feel he has top of the rotation kind of stuff with his average to above average mix of 4 pitches. Liberatore is a fairly consistent pitcher that relies on his very good control. He’s only going to get better in the next couple years, and I see him being the 2nd or 3rd starter in the Cardinals rotation in the next 2-3 years.

4. Ivan Herrera, C
Age: 20
Highest Level: A+

Herrera has potential to be a top catching prospect not only in the Cardinals system, but in the entire minor league system. I’m a very big fan of Herrera and feel with his potential he’s going to be a top catching prospect in the near future. He hits for a very decent average (.309 between Rookie and A+) and can tap into some power as well with 11 home runs, 99 RBI collectively through the same leagues. He is definitely the catcher of the future in St. Louis, and if you don’t have him in your fantasy leagues, I suggest you go and get him. You won’t be disappointed.

5. Zack Thompson, LHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: A+

Thompson will entrench himself into the rotation along side fellow lefty Matthew Liberatore. Thompson also has a 4 pitch mix like Liberatore, with all 4 being average to above average as well. I’m looking forward to Thompson getting in some solid work in 2021, after only pitching 15.1 innings mainly out of the bullpen in 2019. If he can stay healthy, he will move quickly through the minor ranks and most likely make his MLB debut in 2022.  I like Thompson as a starter and with his stuff he can be a very good starting pitcher in the mid to upper half of the rotation.

6. Jordan Walker, 3B
Age: 18
Highest Level: High School

Drafted 21st overall in the 2020 draft, Walker signed with the Cardinals rather than going to play college at Duke University. Standing a whopping 6’5″, Walker has some of best power out of anyone in the 2020 draft. Walker has the athletic ability to play at 3B, but as he gets older and matures, he may lose a step or two and end up moving to the outfield. As a junior in Decatur(Ga.) High School, Walker went on to mash 17 home runs, 60 RBI, and steal 24 bases, to go along with a .519 average. Walker was  the player of the game at the MLB High School All-star game, and got selected to join the 2019 Perfect Game All-American Classic where he won the Home Run Derby. He’s still a few years away but he’s going to be one to watch in the upcoming season.

7. Masyn Winn, SS/RHP
Age: 18
Highest Level: High School

Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft, Winn is solid on both sides of the ball. As a pitcher, Winn has a mid 90’s fastball that touched 98 mph at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship. Winn also throws a curveball, and a low 80’s changeup that is a plus pitch when he’s at his best. On the other side of the ball, Winn has plus power, as well as some good speed on the base paths. Winn has the stuff to be a decent player as either a pitcher or infielder. I’m looking forward to getting to see Winn in the 2021 season, and hoping he can stick at both positions.

8. Junior Fernandez, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB

Fernandez didn’t pitch very much in 2020 only pitching in 3 total innings. Another casualty of a positive COVID-19 test. Fernandez still has the stuff to stick in the Cardinals bullpen and take on some high leverage situations. He’s got a solid sinking fastball reaching the upper 90’s that is his bread and butter pitch. I’m looking for him to get into lots more action in the 2021 season, and maybe get a save or two along the way.

9. Elehuris Montero, 3B
Age: 22
Highest Level: AA

Montero is coming off an injury plagued 2019 season. He should come into the 2021 season at full health and I’m looking forward to him getting back on track to what his 2018 season was. Montero has solid power and is an all around great hitter when healthy. If he can start the season on a tear, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make his MLB debut sometime during the 2021 season. Montero has the abilities to hit 20+ home runs a year, and if he can cut down some of the strike outs, can most likely bat around a .275 average.

10. Tink Hence, RHP
Age: 18
Highest Level: High School

Hence was another great 2020 draft pick going 63rd overall. As a junior at Watson Chapel High School, Hence had a 0.64 ERA, and 61 strikeouts in just 43.2 innings. When he was 17 years old, his fastball already was touching 96 mph, which is crazy to think that he’s only going to get strong and throw the ball harder. Hence has a chance to stick as a starter but I can see him being a high leverage bullpen arm. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him hit 100 mph in the next couple years. Fun Fact: His real name is actually Markevian Hence.

11. Johan Oviedo, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB

Oviedo made his MLB debut in 2020. He started 5 games and pitched 24.2 innings with the Cardinals. Oviedo didn’t really perform to the best of his abilities. He has been one of the better strikeout pitchers in the system, but during his MLB stint he only amassed 16 in those 24.2 innings, and walking 10. Obviously he’s still only 22 and will get another chance to show what he can do. Oviedo will improve in the coming years and when that happens he will be a solid arm for St. Louis.

Tier 3

12. Angel Rondon, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: AA

Rondon has been one of the Cardinals most consistent pitchers. He combines his mid 90’s fastball with a nice crisp above average curveball that has some late, vertical action. Rondon needs to work on improving his control and command but is still great at making the hitters swing and miss. He is most likely going to be a back end starter, but if he can’t improve his command and control then he’s destined to be a solid bullpen arm that can spot start when needed.

13. Malcom Nunez, 3B
Age: 19
Highest Level: A

Nunez is another prospect with plus raw power in the Cardinals system. He has a solid power swing that generates high exit velocity. Nunez makes a ton of contact but leans more towards ground ball contact. When Nunez learns to elevate the ball a little more he will without a doubt be a solid home run hitter. While Nunez has decent arm strength and could stick at 3B, he’s more destined to move over to 1B.

14. Jhon Torres, OF
Age: 20
Highest Level: A

As one of the pieces coming back to St. Louis, Torres offers both power and speed. Torres has played all 3 outfield positions, and has great arm strength. Torres hasn’t really lived up to his potential so far in his minor league career, but he’s only 20 and with his skill and athleticism, he’s got a good chance at being the future right fielder for the Cardinals.

15. Kodi Whitley, RHP
Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB

Whitley made his MLB debut with the Cardinals in 2020. He only pitched 4.2 innings in the majors, but looked impressive striking out 5, and having an ERA of 1.93. Whitley would of pitched more last year if it wasn’t for his positive COVID-19 which forced him to miss a huge chunk of the season. Now free from COVID-19, I’m looking forward to Whitley having a solid 2021 season. He’s one of the Cardinals better relief pitchers and he should get a lot of innings this upcoming season.

16. Tre Fletcher, OF
Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie

The speedy Fletcher will need to continue to work on his hitting approach. He struck out more that 43% of the time since making his minor league debut. Fletcher has lots of power and speed and is an above average defender out in the field. If he can manage to fine tune his swing and miss tendencies, he has the tools to be a very solid all around player. He’s still pretty young and if he’s willing to put in the work it, he will be and excellent addition in the Cardinals lineup.

17. Edmundo Sosa, INF
Age: 24
Highest Level: MLB

Sosa has played in a few games with the Cardinals since 2018, but not getting any action in 2020. Sosa played at 2B in all the games in the MLB, but he can play SS as well. He projects more of a utility infielder rather than an everyday guy, but with his ability to hit the ball it’s hard to keep him out of the lineup.

18. Edwin Nunez, RHP
Age: 19
Highest Level: International FA

Signed as an International FA in 2020, Nunez has an elite fastball touching high 90’s and peaking at 100 mph. Nunez was highly regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in the 2019-2020 class, mixing his electric fastball with a crisp curve, and a changeup. Nunez looks like he’s got a lot of potential to be a solid pitcher in the future. I like guys that can throw fireballs so I’m going to be watching this kid.

19. Justin Williams, OF
Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB

Williams had only 5 AB in 2020 with the Cardinals. Williams has lots of skills when he puts them to use. He has had seasons in minors where he’s been able to tap into his power potential, hitting 14 home runs in 2017, 11 in 2018, and 8 in 2019. With minimal AB’s in the MLB so far, Williams should get more action in 2021.

20. Seth Elledge, RHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: MLB

Making his MLB debut in 2020, Elledge pitched in 11.2 innings and finished with 14 strikeouts. Elledge normally has fairly good control and throws a lot of strikes. He can be a solid bullpen piece for the Cardinals for many years to come.

21. Ian Bedell, RHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: NCAA

Drafted in the 4th round in 2020, Bedell was dominant at Missouri posting a 1.56 ERA. As a starter in the Cape Cod League, Bedell finished with a 0.59 ERA, and an 36/3 strikeout to walk ratio. Bedell is an excellent pitcher and projects as a back end starter.

22. Tony Locey, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: A

Primarily a reliever, Locey has great strikeout ability using his mid 90’s fastball, sharp slider, and curveball. I like Locey as both a starter and a reliever, although I see him being a solid power pitcher from the bullpen. The potential is there for Locey to have the stuff to be a closer in the future.

23. Mateo Gil, SS
Age: 20
Highest Level: A+

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Gil has been improving every year since. He’s got excellent range and athleticism to stick at shortstop long term. He’s got an accurate throw, which stems from him being a closer in high school. With his bat Gil has been really good. Since being drafted, Gil has moved from Rookie up to A+, he’s registered 8 home runs, 50 RBI in 381 AB. As he matures he should get into some more power.

24. Levi Prater, LHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: NCAA

Drafted in the 3rd round in 2020, Prater was dominant at Oklahoma. Prater managed to outpitch his teammate in college and 2020 1st rounder Cade Cavalli in their 3 years together. He has a low 90’s fastball, and a slider which tends to be tough on the lefties.

Tier 4

25. Griffin Roberts, RHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: A+

Roberts didn’t pitch well at all in 2019 after finishing up his 50 game suspension. Roberts slider was highly touted as one of the best in his draft class. He’s been both a starter and a closer between college and the minor leagues. I like him better as a reliever just base on how well he’s done in the past. Shorter outings seem to be what he’s made for.

26. Andre Pallante, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: A-

Pallante won’t over power you with his pitches, but he does tend to throw lots of strikes. His fastball at times can reach 97 mph but usually sits in the lower 90’s. He can end up being a back end starter with this consistency.

27. Luken Baker, 1B
Age: 23
Highest Level: A+

Baker got into a little more power in the 2019 season hitting 10 home runs. But his strikeouts also greatly increased as well. Baker is primarily a 1B, but his size and build are suited for it. If Baker can improve on his power and get more balls in play he can make a big impact at first.

28. Edgardo Rodriguez, C
Age: 20
Highest Level: Rookie

Rodriguez was the 2nd piece coming back with Matt Liberatore in the trade with Tampa Bay. Although he has yet to suit up for any of the Cardinals minor league teams, 2021 will show what he can bring. Rodriguez is a pretty good hitter and will have to rely on his hit tools to make it anywhere.

29. Alec Burleson, OF
Age: 22
Highest Level: NCAA

Burleson was drafted 70th overall in 2020. Burleson isn’t a huge power guy, but can hit to the gaps consistently. The Cardinals system has lots of OF players, so Burleson will most likely have to tap into a little more power to have a decent shot at making the MLB in the future.

30. Patrick Romeri, OF
Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie

Romeri was drafted in the 12th round in 2019. At only 19 years old, he’s a pretty intriguing prospect. He’s got tons of power potential and getting in a full season in the minors in 2021 will greatly improve his stock.

31. Alvaro Seijas, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: A+

Seijas was outrighted off the 40-man roster in 2020 after a COVID-19 outbreak. He’s better set up to be a relief pitcher and in shorter outings he can be great. Hopefully he can get stronger and work more on his command in 2021.

32. Edgar Escobar, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: A+

This full time relief pitcher pitched in 59.1 innings in 2019. He had a solid 2.58 ERA an struck out 72 over that span. Escobar should move quickly through the minors and can even make his MLB debut in the next year or two.

33. Julio Rodriguez, C
Age: 23
Highest Level: AA

Rodriguez is a solid cather, but will probably never be more than a decent backup option. With Ivan Herrera being the future of the Cardinals, it appears that it’s going to be a large challenge to be anything other than a backup for any catcher in the system. Rodriguez can put the ball out of the park, but it will all depend how many opportunities he gets.

34. Tommy Parsons, RHP
Age: 25
Highest Level: AAA

Parsons has very consistent command with his pitches. His best pitch is his changeup which he gets most of his strikeouts off of. Might make his MLB debut in 2021 out of the bullpen.

35. Roel Ramirez, RHP
Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB

Acquired in the deal that sent Tommy Pham to Tampa Bay in 2018, Ramirez has pitched pretty well out of the bullpen in recent years. He made his MLB debut in 2020 with the Cardinals but gave up 4 home runs in just 0.2 innings pitched. 2021 is a new season and I expect him to be apart of the Cardinals bullpen.

36. Justin Toerner, OF
Age: 24
Highest Level: AA

Toerner is a fantastic outfielder defensively. He has a really strong arm with lots of power and fairly accurate. Although his bat needs some work he can still manage to hold his own on the offensive side. If he can improve his hitting a bit, he can potentially be in the lineup more often than not.

37. John Nogowski, 1B
Age: 27
Highest Level: MLB

Nogowski made his long awaited MLB debut in 2020 getting only 4 AB. At 27 years old, Nogowski is one of the older prospects in the system, and won’t be anymore than a decent backup player at best. In 2019 he hit 15 home runs, 75 RBI in AAA for the Cardinals.

Tier 5

38. Leandro Cedeno, 1B
Age: 22
Highest Level: A

Cedeno has been good through the bottom ranks of the minors. In 2019 he hit 6 home runs, 44 RBI and a solid .270 average. Cedeno has been consistent so far and 2021 will be a big year for him to move up to the next level.

39. Logan Gragg, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: A

Drafted in the 8th round in 2019, Gragg pitched in 45. 2 innings between A- and A ball. He struck out 50 in those 45.2 innings while sporting a 3.15 ERA. Gragg looks more like a long reliever who can make the occasional start if needed.

40. Pedro Pages, C
Age: 22
Highest Level: A-

Pages is a very good defensive catcher that will need to improve on his hitting and power presence. Pages batted .291 in 2019 with 2 home runs, and 21 RBI in A-. He has some potential but more so as a backup.

41. Kramer Robertson, SS/2B
Age: 26
Highest Level: AAA

Robertson projects more as a solid utility infielder. He hasn’t been hitting for a very high average over 2018 and 2019 but did hit 11 home runs, 51 RBI, and stole 14 bases (caught stealing 10 times) in 2019. If he can somehow get his average up he could make a push at a backup infielder role.

42. LJ Jones IV, 1B/OF
Age: 21
Highest Level: College

Jones missed almost the entire 2019 season at Long Beach State after getting hit in the hand with a pitch. After returning the lineup in the shortened 2020 season, Jones hit .327 with 2 home runs. Jones can launch the ball when he makes contact, so he’s going to have to rely on hit bat to get into the lineup.

43. Chandler Redmond, 1B/OF
Age: 23
Highest Level: Rookie

Redmond has pretty decent power going off for 62 home runs between college and his one season in Rookie ball. He seems to be more set at playing 1B but can play outfield as well, although he doesn’t have much for arm strength. If he can keep up his power numbers up, and strikeout less, he can move through the minors quickly.

44. Ludwin Jimenez, RHP
Age: 19
Highest Level: A+

I’ve been keeping my eye on Jimenez over the last couple years.  Still only 19, I’ve been waiting for him to start his climb through the system. Jimenez has a low 90’s fastball, but as he gets older he will add more velocity to that. I’m looking forward to 2021 to see what happens.

45. Darlin Moquete, OF
Age: 21
Highest Level: Rookie

Moquete hit 5 home runs, 33 RBI in 2019. He also added in a whopping 23 stolen bases while only getting caught 4 times. Moquete minimized his strikeouts to only 16 in 154 AB, and had an average of .370. Of course he’s only in Rookie ball, but keep your eye on this guy.

46. Juan Yepez, 1B/3B
Age: 22
Highest Level: AA

The versatile Yepez has played both corner positions and in 2019 added the outfield to his arsenal. With his size however he is more likely to stick at 1B, if he can tap into some power on a regular basis.

47. Alex FaGalde, RHP
Age: 26
Highest Level: AA

FaGalde pitched in 139.1 innings in 2019, and struck out 113 batters. He doesn’t have that elite strikeout ability that we always look for but he’s pretty consistent with command and control.  More setup for a middle reliever, but could definitely still start a game here or there.

48. Conner Capel, OF
Age: 23
Highest Level: AAA

Capel was decent enough in 2019 hitting 11 home runs, 47 RBI. His average wasn’t great and he struck out 90 times. Capel will need to be more consistent at the plate to get some MLB time.

49. Evan Mendoza, 3B
Age: 24
Highest Level: AAA

Although Mendoza isn’t the offensive minded 3B we all want, he has the potential to be an elite defender at the hot corner. He may never become a offensive threat at all, but if you need someone to come in for defense, he’s your guy. If he can at least become a little bit of a hitter then he’s got a good shot at a backup defensive role.

50. Brendan Donovan, OF/2B/3B
Age: 23
Highest Level: AAA

Donovan has the potential skills to be apart of the Cardinals. He’s got a decent enough bat to get to the MLB, all he needs to do is improve his fielding and it’ll be only a matter of time until he gets the call.

 

 

 

 

 




About Chris Eros 11 Articles
I am the St. Louis Cardinals correspondent for Prospects1500. Live in Manitoba, Canada. Big sports fan for all sports. Love my Philadelphia Eagles, San Jose Sharks and the Boston Red Sox. Part of Diamond Duos V deep dynasty league. Always free to answer questions, or just chat fantasy sports. Thanks!! Follow me on Twitter at @ChrisEros

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