The birds just hired Carlos Marmol to manage, which would be wild if true. Instead, they went with Oliver Marmol, who is not related to the former Cubs hurler who never met a man he couldn’t walk. 

It’s interesting that they moved on from Mike Schildt following an epic winning streak to end the season, but them’s the breaks. Life comes at you fast. Halloween. The World Series. Facebook soiling a word nobody at the company understands. The Cardinals firing and hiring managers in the blink of an eye. It’s all happening, and we don’t miss a beat here at Razzball, so let’s stroll through this system and see what we can see. 

 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA

1. 3B Jordan Walker | 19 | A+ | 2023 

I made the trip to see Walker in High-A, but he was on the bench that night, or rather, atop the dugout steps cheering on his new teammates, looking like a human giant. I have no reason to argue against his listed 6’5” 220 lbs, but I can say he dwarfed everyone else on the team. I can also say I saw enough of Walker’s work on MiLB.tv that I want to be driving that bus in dynasty leagues. He features double-plus athleticism for a big man, a controlled swing that explodes through the zone, and plenty of foot speed to make himself a pest on the base paths. Walker played 82 games across two levels in his pro debut and was young for both levels, yet he slashed .317/.388/.548 with 14 HR and 14 SB. He’s looking like a consensus top-ten prospect sooner than later.

 

2. 2B/3B Nolan Gorman | 21 | AAA | 2022

The fair-haired boy in this system since his noisy draft season, Nolan Gorman breathed some spice into his dynasty stock by sliding over to second base and popping 25 home runs in 125 games across two levels, slashing .279/.333/.481 by reducing his strikeout rate early and adding power later in the year as the K-rate kept dropping all the way down to 19.2 percent after a 31.7% rate back in 2019 at High-A. In short, it’s all coming together for Gorman. I’d still be more likely to sell than buy if he’s considered an elite piece in your league, but that’s mostly because I’ve always thought his top-end outcomes would be closer to good than great.

 

3. 3B Juan Yepez | 24 | AAA | 2022

Yepez is one of two late breakouts on the list; we’ll be hoping to see both he and Brendan Donovan in 2022, but the impending DH ruling will have a bigger impact on their potential to help us in redraft than anything they can do in Triple-A  Memphis, where the 6’1” 200 lb Yepez has nothing left to prove after slashing .289/.382/.589 with 22 HR in 92 games. Even without a universal DH implemented, Yepez could make an early push for playing time with a strong spring.

 

4. LHP Matthew Liberatore | 22 | AAA | 2022

For a while, Liberatore seemed fated to become a blip in trivia history as the player acquired for Rays postseason beast Randy Arozarena. After 2021, skies look a little clearer. The club jumped him over AA and let him throw 124.2 innings at AAA, where he was six years younger than his average competitor. He struggled at first (5.21 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1.87 HR/9 through 11 starts) but got better results over his final ten turns (2.67 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 0.78 HR/9). The WHIPs here show some luck both ways, but the home run ball was clearly his bugaboo early, and he cut that by more than 100 percent over the 2nd half. His pitch shapes could still leave him vulnerable in that department (his fastball doesn’t ride), but he’s adding velocity as he ages and was burying that big curve with consistency by season’s end. If he keeps that up, he’ll be a nice addition to the Redbirds’ rotation this year.

 

5. 2B/3B/OF Brendan Donovan | 25 | AAA | 2022

Brendan Donovan is every bit as good as his outcomes. He slashed .304/.399/.455 with 12 HR and 19 SB in 108 games across three levels, adding power each step of the way while keeping his strikeout rate low.

25 games in A+ = 2 HR, 15 SO, 10 BB 

50 games in AA = 4 HR, 39 SO, 25 BB 

33 games in AAA = 6 HR, 23 SO, 15 BB 

He’s also playing well in the Arizona Fall League, slashing .357/.387/.536 with 2 SB in seven games. If he were on the Dodgers, Donovan would be on the tips of several prospect writer’s fingers as a late-developing lefty bat who can play several positions. 

 

6. SS/RHP Masyn Winn | 20 | A+ | 2024

Drafted as a two-way player out of high school in 2020, Winn spent most of the season at shortstop before twirling a single frame in September. This didn’t stop people who’ve never seen him pitch from clamoring first a position switch on my Twitter timeline, huzzah, basing said claims on, I guess, his relative struggles to adapt to professional pitching. He got better with time in A ball but never found his footing in High-A, slashing .209/.240/.304 with 2 HR and 16 SB in 36 games. I still think he’s a hitter. Professional pitchers are good, and Winn will add strength to his plus-contact, plus-speed profile.

 

7. OF Alec Burleson | 23 | AAA | 2022

My large adult son made waves in his debut season, traversing three levels and slashing .270/.329/.454 with 22 HR and 3 SB in 119 total games. He was a two way player in college and has enough athleticism and arm to provide plus defense in a corner. I don’t think he’s a big impact bat for our game, but he is a likely major leaguer we’ll get some big league looks at in 2022 if he’s hitting in AAA.

 

8. OF Nick Plummer | 25 | AAA | 2022

2021 was a breakout season for Plummer, who’s profile looks a little like Burleson’s in that he’s a likely major leaguer with a decent lefty bat, but he’s probably not good enough to matter for our game except in his hottest stretches.

 

9. 1B Luken Baker | 25 | AAA | 2022

We could give this spot to RHP Angel Rondon, RHP Michael McGreevy or LHP Zack Thompson, but Luken Baker is more likely to matter for our fantasy squads in the next couple seasons. None of these four seems particularly impactful in the dynasty game, so I’ll wait and see on the arms as I cozy up to the 6’4” 280 lb teddy bear that is Luken Baker. The upside here is that he figures out how to turn his stay-puft soft body into something resembling a professional athlete and makes better contact as a result. Even with his belly in the way, Baker slashed .248/.322/.530 with 26 HR in 91 AA games. This list has three dudes who could help us in spurts if the Universal DH becomes a permanent part of our lives, so here’s to hoping for that particular treat on Halloween.

 

10. OF Joshua Baez | 18 | CPX | 2025 

The 54th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Baez has a case to be a little higher on the list, but he just hit .148 in the complex league and struck out 29.5 percent of the time. It wasn’t all bad, as he took a lot of walks (14.7%), hit two home runs and stole five bags in his 23 games there. At 6’4” 220 lbs, Baez has double-plus raw power and was among the best athletes in his class, flashing just enough athleticism to keep centerfield in play as he climbs the ladder. He’s a little like Rece Hinds with the Reds in that he was a first-round talent who fell due to signability concerns and holds his future in the palms of his hands if he can just make enough contact to get to his power in games.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

13 Comments
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Harley Earl
Harley Earl
10 months ago

How is Juan Yepez going to push Nolan Arrenado for time at third base? I really want to read your answer to this!

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  The Itch
10 months ago

Haha!! I know man.

I just wanted to give you some #%@(* %@#$^!!!!!

Joebobsays
Joebobsays
10 months ago

In a vacuum— NL only dynasty league pick: Baty or Jordan Walker?

Thanks for the good work!

Ray
Ray
Reply to  Joebobsays
10 months ago

Gonna say Walker based on this from his write up:
“Walker played 82 games across two levels in his pro debut and was young for both levels, yet he slashed .317/.388/.548 with 14 HR and 14 SB. He’s looking like a consensus top-ten prospect sooner than later.”

scoboticus
scoboticus
10 months ago

Happy Halloween, Itch!

Jimmy
Jimmy
10 months ago

Hey itch….18 team 5×5 dynasty! Who do I keep? Gavin Sheets or Adolis Garcia?
Thank for your valuable input!

junior56
junior56
10 months ago

Thanks for the list itch!

Where would Ivan Herrera end up on this list?

junior56
junior56
Reply to  The Itch
10 months ago

Thanks Itch.. Yeah at this point it doesn’t seem like he is the heir apparent to Molina… Other then Liberatore do the Cardinals have any arms worth taking a shot on ? Looks like slim pickings to me.