The Cardinals system showed some great improvements in 2021 for a multitude of players, and also some utter disappointment for others. 2022 will be a year where we could see some of the top prospects on this list make their MLB debuts, and without a doubt, they will shine. The system is getting better and better each year with players that have been in the lower tiers making a splash and moving up the lists. I’m excited about next season and can’t wait for Spring Training to start. Without further ado here is my 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Top 50!
St. Louis Cardinals minor league affiliates:
Triple-A – Memphis Redbirds
Double-A – Springfield Cardinals
High-A – Peoria Chiefs
Low-A – Palm Beach Cardinals
Rookie – FCL Cardinals
Rookie – DSL Cardinals Blue, DSL Cardinals Red
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 provide minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster
Levels listed for each player are the highest level reached in 2021
1. Nolan Gorman, 2B/3B, 21, AAA
Gorman absolutely dominated in 2021 in both Double-A and Triple-A. He finished 2021 with 25 home runs, 75 RBI, and a .279 average. There’s no doubt he’s the real deal and easily my #1 prospect in this system.
2. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, 22, AAA
Liberatore pitched the entire season at Triple-A in 2021. While his stats weren’t great last season, he was really good the last two months in Memphis. He’s still a top of the rotation pitcher with ace potential, and a must-get in any fantasy league.
3. Jordan Walker, 3B, 19, High-A
Walker dominated 2021 in a big way. The 19-year-old hit 14 home runs, 48 RBI, 14 SB, and a .317 average. Walker has skyrocketed up most of the Cardinals prospect lists and will be a mainstay in the top of them for years to come. The all-around talent is there and has made him into one of the top 3B prospects in all of baseball. He’s still really young and will be a future stud.
4. Ivan Herrera, C, 21, AAA
Herrera got a small taste of Triple-A in 2021 with only 4 plate appearances. Although he didn’t have a great average in Double-A, he did hit 17 home runs and 63 RBI. One of the more consistent hitting prospects in the organization, that average in 2021 seems like a minor speed bump on the way to being the next big thing behind the plate in St. Louis.
5. Masyn Winn, SS/RHP, 19, High-A
The potential two-way player didn’t get to pitch very much in 2021. In only 1.0 inning, he finished with 1 strikeout. I feel he should get the chance to pitch more, but the Cardinals apparently disagree with me. As a hitter, Winn didn’t show much for power hitting only 5 home runs, while also striking out 100 times. But he did steal 32 bases while getting caught only 5 times. His hitting needs some work, but the speed is a potential difference maker.
6. Zack Thompson, LHP, 24, AAA
Thompson didn’t fair very well in Triple-A last season. He finished with a 2-10 record and a large 7.06 ERA. Although Thompson seems more and more like a reliever each day, he was a starter most of the season. He played in the Arizona Fall League and was much better as a reliever, winning 3 games, and recorded a minuscule 1.56 ERA with an 11.4 K/9.
7. Tink Hence, RHP, 19, Rookie (FCL)
In 2021, Hence ended up pitching in only 8.0 innings in Rookie ball. He did manage to get 14 strikeouts in those 8.0 innings. But on the negative side of things, he also gave up 8 ER and had a 9.00 ERA. Still lots of talent and such a young player, watch for him in the future, because he will improve greatly and be a potential stud bullpen arm.
8. Jhon Torres, OF, 21, High-A
Torres spent all of 2021 in High-A ball. In 420 plate appearances, he managed 6 home runs, 32 RBI, and a mediocre .238 batting average. Torres has lots of potential and will continue to improve in the next few years. The power will come out more and more. Although he only had 3 stolen bases last season, he does have decent speed.
9. Alec Burleson, OF, 23, AAA
Burleson had a great year moving through 3 levels up to Triple-A. Between the 3 levels, Burleson hit 22 home runs, 76 RBI, with a .270 average. It was a pretty solid year for his first in the system. He did struggle a bit with Triple-A pitching, but I don’t think he will have any issues in the future once he gets more reps at that level.
10. Luken Baker, 1B, 24, AAA
Baker simply crushed in 2021. Pretty much all of his at bats were at the Double-A level, but he did get 6 AB in Triple-A. Baker erupted with 26 home runs and 70 RBI. His average wasn’t great at only .249, and he does strikeout quite a bit. But if he’s going to keep up hitting this many home runs, the average can sit on the back burner and almost go unnoticed.
11. Juan Yepez, 1B/3B, 23, AAA
2021 saw Yepez have his best season in the Cardinals system. He absolutely dominated in most hitting stats the entire season. Yepez finished 2021 with 27 home runs, 77 RBI, and a pretty solid .286 average. After slipping through the Rule 5 Draft unprotected by the Cardinals, Yepez started 2021 in Double-A. It didn’t take the Cardinals very long to move him up to Triple-A and he continued to dominate there. Yepez might just get a chance to make his way to the MLB in 2022 on the heels of an eye-opening Arizona Fall League campaign which saw him produce as one of the top hitters there.
12. Angel Rondon, RHP, 24, MLB
Rondon got his chance to pitch with St. Louis in 2021, getting into 2 games and pitching 2.0 innings. He looked pretty good in what little chance he got, and will undoubtedly be in the bullpen for St. Louis sometime next season.
13. Edwin Nunez, RHP, 20, Low-A
Nunez started just 2 games in 2021, but finished with a 3-3 record. In the 53.2 innings he pitched, he managed 59 strikeouts. The downfall of 2021 for him was the fact he gave up 64 hits and 7 home runs in that time, and an ERA of 10.90. Still a young talent, Nunez has a top notch fastball and will be looking to improve his command, as well as strengthen his other pitches next season.
14. Malcom Nunez, 3B, 20, AA
Nunez had an alright 2021 moving up to Double-A. Between High-A and Double-A, Nunez finished with 9 home runs, 39 RBI, and added in 7 SB, with a .268 average. Nunez still hasn’t tapped into the solid power potential he has as of yet, but at only 20 years old it will come with time.
15. Brendan Donovan, 2B/3B/OF, 24, AAA
Donovan could find himself in the MLB in 2022. He had an all-around solid year moving from High-A up to Triple-A in 2021. Donovan hit for over .300, and added in 12 home runs, 66 RBI, and 19 SB. He seems to be improving each year and can play multiple positions which will help him get into the MLB lineup easier. He can also has power, speed, and doesn’t strikeout a whole lot, so I think it’s only a matter of time until we see him in St. Louis.
16. Michael McGreevy, RHP, 21, Low-A
McGreevy struggled a bit in 2021. After being drafted 18th overall in the 2021 draft, McGreevy went on to the Cardinals FCL team, eventually moving up to Low-A. He only pitched in 7.2 innings last year professionally, so the minimal amount of innings he pitched in won’t be indicative of how good he actually is. 2022 you will see what McGreevy can do, and it should be impressive to say the least.
17. Delvin Perez, SS/OF, 23, AA
Perez was decent in Double-A in 2021. While he doesn’t have much for power, he brings a ton of speed as he stole 24 bases last season. If he can improve his hitting and lower his strikeouts, he can get on base more and use his primary weapon to cause havoc on the bases.
18. Freddy Pacheco, RHP, 23, AAA
Pacheco pitched in 54.0 innings in 2021 with an ERA of 3.67. The bright spot for him is his strikeout rate at a whopping 15.8 K/9. He’s strictly a bullpen arm, adding in 11 saves last season. With his strikeout capability, he can be a solid bullpen arm for the Cardinals sooner rather than later.
19. Joshua Baez, OF, 18, Rookie (FCL)
Baez wasn’t great in his professional debut in 2021, hitting for only a .158 average. He did add in 5 SB, but the lack of at bats didn’t help the situation. Baez still has some of the best power potential in the system and it’ll come eventually. Look for him to greatly improve in 2022 and tap into that 60-grade power he’s known for.
20. Ian Bedell, RHP, 22, High-A
Bedell didn’t do much in 2021 as he underwent Tommy John surgery. With his talent and once healthy, Bedell will be quite a talented pitcher for the Cardinals. He’s consistent and one of the better pitchers the Cardinals have already. I’m a big fan of his talent and hope he comes back healthy and ready to work.
21. Andre Pallante, RHP, 23, AAA
Pallante had a decent 2021 moving between Double-A and Triple-A. He finished with a 3.81 ERA between the two levels as a starter. He’s looking more destined to be in the bullpen, and I feel that he’s better off pitching in shorter stints than as a starter.
22. Levi Prater, LHP, 22, Low-A
23. Lars Nootbaar, OF, 24, MLB
24. Luis Pino, OF, 17, Rookie (DSL)
25. Jeremy Rivas, SS, 18, Rookie (FCL)
26. Patrick Romeri, OF, 20, Low-A
27. Austin Love, RHP, 22, Low-A
28. Ryan Holgate, OF, 21, Low-A
29. Julio Rodriguez, C, 24, AA
30. Edgar Escobar, RHP, 24, AA
31. Ali Sanchez, C, 24, MLB
32. Jake Walsh, RHP, 26, AAA
33. Kramer Robertson, SS/2B, 27, AAA
34. Austin Warner, LHP, 27, AAA
35. Justin Toerner, OF, 25, AAA
36. Tre Fletcher, OF, 20, Rookie (FCL)
37. Zane Mills, RHP, 21, Rookie (FCL)
Nootbaar is a fun name to watch, and following his 2021 MLB debut (124 PA in 58 games), he slashed .314/.437/.643 in the Arizona Fall League…..Love didn’t pitch much in 2021, but ended the season with 13 strikeouts in just 8.0 innings and a 1.13 ERA…..Walsh moved between Double-A and Triple-A last season, and finished with 34 strikeouts in 22.0 innings and should have a solid chance of getting some innings in the MLB before season’s end…..Fletcher continues to fall down many of the prospects lists including this one, once a highly touted draft pick, hasn’t turned out very well for him so far, still young and can turn it around…..Mills, their 2021 4th round MLB Draft selection, had a successful pro debut in the Florida Complex League, allowing only 1 ER in 7.2 IP.
38. Ludwin Jimenez, RHP, 20, Low-A
39. Jesus Cruz, RHP, 26, AAA
40. Inohan Paniagua, RHP, 21, Low-A
41. Leonardo Bernal, C, 17, Rookie (DSL)
42. Darlin Moquete, OF, 22, Rookie (FCL)
43. Matt Koperniak, OF/3B/SS, 23, AA
44. Thomas Parsons, RHP, 26, AAA
45. Griffin Roberts, RHP, 25, AA
46. Chandler Redmond, 1B/OF, 24, AA
47. Alec Willis, RHP, 18, Rookie (FCL)
48. Jack Ralston, RHP, 24, High-A
49. Conner Capel, OF, 24, AAA
50. Thomas Francisco, 1B/OF, 22, High-A
Paniagua pitched in Low-A in 2021 and finished with a 4-1 record, 3.88 ERA, and 62 strikeouts in 46.1 innings, he’s got great potential so keep an eye out for him in 2022…..Bernal wasn’t great in 2021, but did hit 5 home runs and 29 RBI, the average was just .209, he’s got lots of potential and he’s still only 17 years old…..Koperniak had a decent 2021 season hitting 7 home runs, 41 RBI, and a .306 average, he could move up this list quickly if he keeps up this pace…..Willis was selected in the 7th round in the 2021 draft, he’s a giant at 6’5″, he should develop more strength and build up velocity on his low 90’s fastball…..Ralston has lots of potential to move up this list by midseason, he’s got pretty decent stuff and projects more of a reliever, but we will see what 2022 brings.