St Louis Cardinals Top 50 Prospects (2023)

St. Louis Cardinals Top 50 graphic design by Michael Packard, @CollectingPack on Twitter

The 2022 season saw the big league Cardinals make another postseason appearance. That appearance would not have been possible without significant contributions from their minor league system. Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, and Juan Yepez all gave the team valuable at-bats last season and look to play significant roles yet again this season. Even right hander Andre Pallante gave the Cardinals quality innings in both a starting and relief role last season, and is firmly slotted into their bullpen plans for this season as well.

Even with all those players graduating, the minor league system is far from bare. Led by two of the top-50 prospects in all of baseball, this system still has some serious talent. Thanks to a strong 2020 draft and one of the biggest breakout pitching prospects from last year, their top five is as strong as any organization. Outside the top five there is some intriguing young talent and also a slew of college arms from the 2022 draft that could move quickly through the system. There is a lot to like here.

Cardinals Minor League Affiliates:
Triple-A: Memphis Redbirds (International League)
Double-A: Springfield Cardinals (Texas League)
High-A: Peoria Chiefs (Midwest League)
Single-A: Palm Beach Cardinals (Florida State League)
Rookie: Florida Complex League, Dominican Summer League

A review of the tier system used here at Prospects1500 for our rankings:
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.
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster.

* – denotes player being on 40-man roster.
Levels listed for each player are the highest levels player reached in 2022.

Tier 1

1. Jordan Walker, OF, 20, Double-A
No surprise here. Walker is a top-5 overall prospect and looks more and more the part of an All-Star level big leaguer. 20-year-olds should struggle with their first taste of Double-A ball. They are not supposed to hit .306/.388/.510, steal 22 bases, and only strike out 21% of the time. Here is a scary thought, some evaluators think there is more power coming. Getting to see him multiple times in person last year I can attest that the ball just comes off his bat different than his peers. A midseason change to the outfield has opened up his path to the big league club which is coming soon. His arm will work just fine out in right field.

2. Masyn Winn, SS, 20, Double-A
It would be no surprise at all to me if Winn ends up the best fantasy asset on this list. That is not a slight on Walker at all, it is just an indication of what kind of talent Winn possess. He is virtually a lock to stick at shortstop where he will provide high level defense to go along with an above average power/speed combo offensively. Like Walker, he also saw the Double-A level last season and performed better than expected. With the Springfield club he hit .258/.349/.432 with 11 homeruns and 28 stolen bases in 345 AB’s. Crazy thing is his in game power hasn’t fully shown up yet, and when it does look out.

Tier 2

3. Alec Burleson*, OF, 24, MLB
Burleson is a guy that doesn’t get enough respect in my opinion. Is that because he doesn’t have that stand out 60 grade tool? Maybe. He isn’t going to steal many bases and he may never hit 30 home runs in a season. But the guy hits and he hits well. The 2020 draftee has 888 professional at-bats under his belt and has hit .300, with 42 home runs and 163 RBI, with and OPS of .842. He uses a great approach to make pitchers work and doesn’t get himself out. He may never be an All-Star, but he will help the Cardinals win games and could be a consistent contributor for your dynasty team.

4. Gordon Graceffo, RHP, 22, Double-A
Graceffo started the year at High-A and was truly dominant. In 45.2 innings, he had a 0.99 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and had a K/BB ratio of 14. His promotion to the hitter friendly Double-A Texas League saw his numbers come back to earth. After some initial struggles, Graceffo adjusted. In his final three starts with Springfield, he went 16.2 IP, allowing only 5 hits, 0 runs, and 2 walks while striking out 22. With four pitches, a solid frame, and a repeatable delivery there is not much concern about him remaining a starter. With continued work on the command of his arsenal, he could be a good #3 and possibly even a #2 starter.

5. Tink Hence, RHP, 20, Single-A
His stuff is electric. He has two dominant pitches with his fastball and curveball and also a developing third pitch in his changeup. With further refining, he has the pure stuff to be a top of the rotation pitcher. What will need to come along for that to happen is the control and command of those pitches. At the Single-A level his stuff was good enough to get hitters out when he missed location. That will not work as he faces more advanced hitting. At 20-years-old and having only a total 60.1 professional innings pitched, time is on his side.

6. Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, 21, College
Hjerpe was the Cardinals 2022 first round selection out of Oregon State. The tall lefthander is polished and should move quickly once he gets on the mound. He was the Beavers weekend ace and even appeared as a stopper a few times. He throws from a deceptive crossfire, low 3/4 arm slot ala Chris Sale. If the delivery proves to be repeatable against professional hitters, he has the ceiling of a solid big league starter. If not the floor of a tough left handed specialist out of the bullpen is already there.

Tier 3

7. Jonathan Mejia, SS, 17, Rookie (DSL)
When the Cardinals signed Mejia in the International Draft last year, some evaluators slapped a lofty Javier Baez comp on him. Let me be clear, I am not a fan of comps and I don’t put a lot of value on them. I am fan of the tools that Mejia possesses, and I think that he has a chance to really catch fire this year when he comes over stateside. He has an advanced approach for his age, with great plate coverage and bat speed, making him one of the more intriguing prospects in this organization.

8. Moises Gomez*, OF, 24, Triple-A
The numbers that the minor league home run king put up last season were truly eye popping. Across Double-A and Triple-A he slashed .294/.371/.624, hit 39 home runs, drove in 94, and scored 89 runs. There are two things stopping me from buying all the way in. One, he spent the previous seven seasons in the Rays organization prior to being released, and the Rays rarely make mistakes in evaluating talent. Second, is a K rate north of 34%. I remain optimistic. Sometimes a change in scenery is just what a guy needs and plenty of sluggers have survived with a high strikeout rate. A repeat performance this season will make my #8 ranking look low, and that will be just fine with me.

9. Matthew Liberatore*, LHP, 23, MLB
The more I see of Liberatore, the more I believe he profiles as a fourth starter in the big leagues. His curveball is a weapon, a true out pitch, but I question whether his fastball can get big league hitters out multiple trips through a lineup. I do think he could be a good fourth starter and there is value in that, but dynasty owners would be wise to adjust their expectations accordingly.

10. Joshua Baez, OF, 19, Single-A
The K rate is high and a .484 BABIP points to an inflated batting average but the power is legit and at 19-years-old there is still plenty of time for him to develop. He currently has the speed to play in center but a cannon for an arm would make rightfield a fall back if he loses some speed as he develops.

11. Won-Bin Cho, OF, 19, Rookie (FCL)
A sweet left handed stroke and a solid approach give a lot to dream on, but he is young and inexperienced and will take time to develop. He should be in A-ball this year where we can get a better read on just where he is in his development.

12. Brycen Mautz, LHP, 21, College
There is bullpen risk with the 6’3″ southpaw from the University of San Diego. But in this system, under Randy Flores’ tutelage, I think he could really be something special. He will need to develop a solid third pitch for that to happen, something to watch for this year.

13. Michael McGreevy, RHP, 22, Double-A
Much like Graceffo, McGreevy was dominant in High-A but found the hitters in Double-A to be stiffer competition. He likely starts this season back in Springfield where he looks to continue his development against future big league hitters. Thanks to solid control/command of his 4-pitch arsenal, he will likely continue to move quickly.

14. Ivan Herrera*, C, 22, MLB
The signing of Willson Contreras to a five year deal this offseason dealt a huge blow to Herrera’s dynasty value. He performed well in Triple-A last year and I still believe in the prospect, but without a trade he is hard to roster in most dynasty formats.

15. Zack Thompson*, LHP, 25, MLB
Thompson made his MLB debut last season throwing 34.2 innings mostly in relief with a 2.08 ERA. I still think he could have a future as a fourth or fifth starter but if he breaks camp with the big league club this year it will likely be back in the pen.

16. Victor Scott II, OF, 21, Single-A
Last years fifth round pick out of West Virginia has an enticing blend of speed and power. In a small sample size in Single-A those tools were on full display. He is one of the prospects that I am most excited to see over a full season this year.

17. Leonardo Bernal, C, 18, Single-A
The 18-year-old switch hitting catcher has a lot of promise and could very well be the Cardinals catcher of the future. He made his Single-A debut last season and showed a solid hit tool with decent pop, early reports are that his defense is advanced for his age as well.

18. Inohan Paniagua, RHP, 22, High-A
In his first full season as a starter, Paniagua was impressive. In 25 A-ball starts, he had a 2.81 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and had 9.48 K/9.  If his changeup can become a viable third pitch his whole profile changes. He may not be a household name yet, but that could change very soon.

19. Connor Thomas*, LHP, 24, Triple-A
Thomas was named Pitcher of the Year in the hitter friendly Arizona Fall League, which lead to him being added to the 40-man roster. He makes hitters uncomfortable with his pace on the mound and induces a lot of ground balls. Look for him to fill a long relief role sometime this year for the Cardinals.

20. Pete Hansen, LHP, 22, DNP (2022 draftee)
The last of three straight lefties taken atop the 2022 draft was Hansen. He already has a fairly safe floor as a backend starter with some deception in his delivery and a good breaking pitch that will likely result in decent strikeout numbers. The hope is to see him in Double-A Springfield in the second half.

21. Jimmy Crooks III, C, 21, Single-A
The ’22 draftee Crooks made a pretty good first impression. In 79 AB he slashed .266/.396/.468 with 3 HR, and 7 RBI while throwing out 32% of would be base stealers. Kid works his tail off and that will help him get the most out of his ability.

22. Mike Antico, OF, 24, Double-A
Antico stole 67 bases across two levels this season. If he can get on base at the higher levels of the minors this year, he might just enter the conversation of future leadoff hitter in St. Louis. He might just have enough pop in the bat to hit 10-12 home runs a year as well.

23. Freddy Pacheco*, RHP, 24, Triple-A
If everything breaks right, Pacheco could end up at the back-end of the Cardinals bullpen in the near future. His fastball explodes out of his hand and rides well up in the zone and when on, his slider is devastating to right-handed hitters. He needs to develop a better out pitch against lefties and continue to fine tune his command in order to reach his ultimate ceiling, but the potential is undoubtedly there.

24. Jake Walsh*, RHP, 27, Triple-A
Walsh got a small taste of the big leagues out of the bullpen last year and that is where his future seems to lie. His mid to upper-90’s fastball can touch triple digits in shorter bursts and he uses a nice 12-to-6 breaking ball to keep hitters off balance. He will make a push to break camp in the big league bullpen.

Tier 4

25. Max Rajcic, RHP, 21, College
26. Alec Willis, RHP, 19, Rooke (FCL)
27. Dionys Rodriguez, RHP, 22, High-A
28. Andre Granillo, RHP, 22, Double-A
29. Lizandro Espinoza, SS, 20, Single-A
30. Guillermo Zuniga*, RHP, 24, Double-A (Dodgers)
31. Jose Fermin*, IF, 23, Triple-A (Guardians)
32. Austin Love, RHP, 23, High-A
33. Ian Bedell, RHP, 23, Single-A
34. Zane Mills, RHP, 22, High-A
35. Matt Koperniak, OF, 24, Triple-A

Rajcic is a bulldog of a competitor that brings a solid four-pitch mix that he spots well in the zone. He could move quickly this summer. Rodriguez has some enticing skills to dream on, but will need to progress with his command for it all to work. Granillo led the organization in K rate last summer thanks to a high octane fastball and knee buckling slider. He profiles as a potentially dominant back-end of the bullpen guy. Zuniga, the former Dodger farm hand, is already on the 40-man roster and could figure into the bullpen competition in the Spring. Fermin was acquired from the Guardians back in November and instantly became part of the Cardinals utility infielder competition. Bedell has been slowed by Tommy John surgery rehab. Prior to surgery, the former Missouri Tiger had the looks of a pitcher that could move through the system quickly thanks to a solid arsenal and good command.

Tier 5

36. Luken Baker, 1B, 25, Triple-A
37. Ryan Holgate, 1B/OF, 22, Single-A
38. Patrick Romeri, OF, 21, High-A
39. Jose Davila, RHP, 20, Single-A
40. Ryan Loutos, RHP, 23, Triple-A
41. Samil De La Rosa, IF, 19, Rookie (FCL)
42. Andrew Marrero, RHP, 22, Single-A
43. Chandler Redmond, 1B, 25 Double-A
44. Jeremy Rivas, SS, 19, Single-A
45. Levi Prater, LHP, 23, High-A
46. Pedro Pages, C, 23, Triple-A
47. Jhon Torres, OF, 22, Rookie (FCL)
48. R.J. Yeager, CI, 24, Single-A
49. Thomas Francisco, 1B, 23, High-A
50. Nick Raposo, C, 24, Double-A

Baker has some of the best exit velocity in the system and if he can increase the contact rate he could make an interesting power bat off a big league bench. Redmond made history last summer by becoming only the second professional baseball player ever to hit for the home run cycle in a single game. Pages and Raposo both put up good offensive numbers last season but unfortunately they are also buried in this system. Loutos has a great story and is a guy that you can’t help but root for.

Five more teenagers to watch in 2023:
Yancel Guerrero, IF, 18, DSL
Adari Grant, IF, 19, FCL
Yordalin Pena, OF, 18, DSL
Luis Pino, OF, 18, FCL
Anyelo Encarnacion, IF, 19, DSL

Jeremy covers the St Louis organization and contributes on Prospects of the Week for Prospects1500. Born and raised in the Midwest, he is a lifelong fan of the Birds on the Bat. You can follow him on Twitter @JMahyfam for more baseball content.

"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too." -Yogi Berra


  1. Hey Jarrett, thanks for the question.
    Let me start by saying so much of evaluating prospects is subjective and to that point I was not the writer that did the 2022 mid-season list. This Top-50 list was my first covering the Cardinals so that is probably a lot of it.
    But here are my thoughts:
    Baker – On the positive side he has some of the best exit velocity in the system and his K rate was pretty decent last year (25%). But on the negative side he had a BA below .220 & OBP below .300 in Triple-A last year. As a 1B only prospect it puts a lot of pressure on his bat to perform so there is reason for pause there.
    Torres – This is a tough one for me. The tools seem to all be there, the production just isn’t. He has been in this system since 2018 and he has not made it out of A-ball so time is really ticking. The power isn’t there, he isn’t stealing bases, and his career average is hovering around .250. 2023 is probably a make or break year for him. It sucks because I owned several shares of him in dynasty leagues…

  2. Is it time for me to cut bait with Liberatore in my dynasty league? Also my FYP is coming up, so where should I look to take Hjerpe? I liked him at Oregon State and even more now that he is in St Louis.

  3. Hey, JB!

    On Liberatore, without knowing the depth of your league and what the rest of roster looks like I hesitate to give you definitive answer. Maybe just adjust your expectations of him some. If you were looking for a #2 or #3 fantasy starter, he probably won’t be that. But he could be a pretty good mix and match starter that comes with some decent K numbers. With the Cardinals offense and that defense behind him, I could see him picking up some “W’s” when matched up against the other teams #4-5 starter.

    I am seeing Hjerpe go anywhere from pick 22 to pick 44. That is a pretty big range! I would hesitate to take him on the low end of that range, but there is certainly risk in waiting until the 40’s. If it were me I would feel comfortable anytime after about pick 32, but if he is your guy then go get him.

  4. First off I’m born and raised St Louis, I have been watching Cardinals baseball since I was a baby, I was 2 month’s old at the 1982 World Series St Louis Cardinals Parade.

    I knew this year would be start rough, No more Yadi! Need I say anymore….
    Going into this season very pumped about the Offense, Goldy, Arenado signing Wilson Contreras with guys like Edman, Donovon, and the young future in Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker..
    but I had zero hope in the Starting Pitching. I love Wainwright, but he should of retired last year, He is maybe a number 5 starter in rotation. Jack Flaherty hasn’t done anything since his ONE good year, Mikolas is a number 3 or 4, same with Montgomery, Matz is a triple a pitcher.

    This Mozeliak bowtie wearing blah blah tells the cardinal fans this offseason, the teams payroll is going up, and they will be adding to the team. Well Mr. Bowtie, you sign no Pitchers, trade some of your 20 OF’s for some SP.. Enough of the pitching

    The offense I was excited about, but have had my dreams and vision crushed. What is ALEC BURLSEON doing on a MLB roster?? He looks like our 1B on my softball beer league’s team. They have Jordan Walker on the opening day roster, the dude starts career with 13 game hit streak, but they send him down. Ok i understand if they werent going to start him every game, but it is a slap in the face to Cardinal fans when Alec Burlseon is your #2 hitter the first months of season. LOL its a joke..

    Trade away RANDY AROZARENA and ADOLIS GARCIA but give second and third chances to a guy like Paul Dejong, keep Tyler O’Neil, Burlseon, Nootbar, Carlson.. I swear the Cardinals only want white guys on the team lol, Beer League softball looking guys like Burlseon.

    I would trade any single or pair 2 up for some SP help, either one or two combo of Tyler O’Neil, Lars Nootbarr, Dylan Carlson, Juan Yepez, Alec Carlson

  5. The Cardinals need a spark… Call up Masyn Winn!! It might be to early, ok it’s to early, but the kid can hit, run, throw, plays with some spice… THE CARDINALS DESPERATELY need that.

    the future Redbird Offense will be bright, with Gorman, Walker, Winn, Tink Hence, and future superstar Won-Bin Cho and Luis “supermario” Pino. Josh Baez is either going to be an allstar, or never make it passed aa

  6. Thanks for the comments Timothy, sounds like you and I have both been Cardinals fans for life and are pretty close in age. You share the same frustrations as a lot of Cardinals fans right now. I agree that the future looks bright if we play our Cards right (pun intended), but some of the moves this year have left me scratching my head.
    About Winn, I have seen him live several times and I am really impressed by him but he looks to have just a bit more development left. His power numbers have dropped a little so far this year in AAA, but his SwStr% and K% are down which le

  7. Thanks for the comments Timothy, sounds like you and I have both been Cardinals fans for life and are pretty close in age. Tommy Herr was my favorite player growing up. You share the same frustrations as a lot of Cardinals fans right now and the concerns are justified. I do agree that the future looks bright if we play our Cards right (pun intended), but some of the moves this year have left me scratching my head. But for personal sanity I have to look for the positives and there is a lot of that in the minors.
    About Winn: I have seen him live several times and I am really impressed by him. That said, he does look to have just a bit more development left. His power numbers have dropped a little so far this year in AAA, but his SwStr% and K% are down which leads me to believe that he might be making some minor adjustments to his approach/swing. I read some of his comments the other day about the implementation of the automated ball-strike system that is now being used across AAA and how it has helped him better understand the strike zone and how to attack his pitches. You have to believe we see him at some point this year, but not likely as soon as some of us would like. Hang in there Timothy as hard as that may be right now.

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