St. Louis Cardinals: Interviewing Arkansas Sticks Head Coach, Chase Brewster

St. Louis Cardinals’ picks Masyn Winn and Tink Hence have a ton of potential.

St. Louis Cardinals

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI – OCTOBER 07: A general view prior to game four of the National League Division Series between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 07, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)

Overall, the St. Louis Cardinals were awarded a B+ grade by Bleacher Report for their 2020 Major League Baseball draft. Of the seven total players taken, three were from high school, there were four pitchers and some possibly very exciting two-way players.

The Cards’ second and third picks of the draft were Masyn Winn (taken at pick 54) and Tink Hence (taken at pick 63). These are two exceptional prep ballplayers with a lot of upside. Both were ranked in the top 10 high school right-handed pitchers of the MLB 2020 draft by PerfectGame with Winn ranked 3rd and Hence ranked 10th – check out the full list here.

The Arkansas Sticks Baseball Academy is a facility based out of Little Rock, AR. The Sticks take in elite athletes from Arkansas that have a passion to become great baseball players and help develop them within one of their five teams that compete within their College Exposure Program. After Winn and Hence were taken by the Cardinals in 2020, the Sticks have now had 17 players drafted by major league teams since it’s inception!

Chase Brewster is Director of Player Exposure, and Head Coach of the Arkansas Sticks. Chase started his coaching career at Texarkana College in 2011 and spent seven years coaching at Genoa Central High School, AR. He has been pivotal in developing the new redbird draftees and was gracious enough to give me some of his time to discuss Masyn Winn and Tink Hence:

With the 54th overall pick in the second round, the St. Louis Cardinals pick shortstop/right-handed pitcher Masyn Winn from Kingwood (HS).

St. Louis Cardinals

LAKELAND, FL – MARCH 01: A detailed view of a pair of official Rawlings Major League Baseball baseballs with the imprinted signature of Robert D. Manfred Jr., the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, sitting in the dugout prior to the Spring Training game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 1, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 10-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Masyn Winn is an 18-year-old two-way player, originally from Kingwood, Texas. He has been really promoted for his fastball, but has great secondary pitches in his change-up and curveball, plus comes out as a plus defender at shortstop and shows up well with the bat also.

Masyn was ranked at 54 by MLB Pipeline and came out very well on their scouting report. His pitching arsenal all graded above average, with his fastball and curveball both ranking at 60, and his change-up at a 55 grade. In the field, the positivity stays high with his arm ranking at 65 and his fielding and running coming out at 55 when playing shortstop.

Baseball America’s scouting report had a shining review, stating that:

“Pound for pound, Winn could be the most purely talented player in the 2020 class.”

When I spoke with Chase Brewster of the Sticks, the compliments just kept coming about Masyn Winn. Chase had a glowing description of the two-way draftee, “Masyn was one of the best leaders the Sticks have ever had, he is always looking to improve his game and always demands the best from everyone including his teammates and us coaching staff, even when we haven’t played well.”

Related Story: What to make of the team’s second-round picks

Chase had a lot of excitement about Masyn’s fastball which has ticked up 19 mph since 2015, telling me, “He’s currently sitting happily at 95 – 97 mph, but he’s topping out at 98 mph which absolutely puts him top of his class!” He did though praise the young Texas natives other pitches, saying, “don’t sleep on Masyn’s slider though, it’s one of the best high school sliders in the country which he will keep improving.” Lots of positivity from Coach Brewster on the pitching side.

Masyn was the talk of the World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) World Championship in October, when he touched 98 mph with his fastball, which matched the tournament record held by Rick Porcello, and hit a homer in the same game. Masyn was awarded by being listed in both the All-Tournament Pitchers and the All-Tournament Hitters ranking at the WWBA.

When asked how he sees Masyn’s ceiling in the majors, Chase was really positive, saying, “If the Cardinals allow Winn to stick as a two-way player then he will absolutely hit. It just depends whether he continues to develop as a shortstop, or if he moves into the outfield.”

Then looking longer term on the pitching front, Chase agreed that Masyn has the length to become a starter long term, but based on his pitch variety stated, “Masyn Winn could become one of the best relief pitchers in the country,” which is a glowing accolade from the Sticks’ head coach.

All in all, that is a lot of excitement for what is going to be an extremely exciting player in the Cardinals organization!

With the 63rd overall pick in the Competitive Balance Round B, the St. Louis Cardinals pick right-handed pitcher Tink Hence from Watson Chapel (HS).

St. Louis Cardinals

JUPITER, FLORIDA – MARCH 12: A detailed view of the Nike cleat worn by Kolten Wong #16 of the St. Louis Cardinals in action during the spring training game against the at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 12, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Markevian (Tink) Hence is a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He has been described as a four-pitch guy by the likes of Keith Law, who loves his curveball and has a standout 95 – 96 mph fastball and 76 – 81 mph slider.

Hence was ranked at 84 by MLB Pipeline and has four above-average pitches with his fastball being ranked at 60 grade and his slider ranking at 55. His fastball velocity has increased over the last four years, which he has credited this to a change in his arm slot transitioning from a three-quarters arm slot to over the top.

Chase Brewster similarly was very high on Tink Hence, promoting his all-around pitching saying, “Tink has a standout fastball which has been topping out at 97, but has excellent secondary pitches which excel his game.” Chase told me that Hence was the closer for the Sticks last summer, mostly to save his innings and went as far as saying “I can’t remember a game that Tink has ever lost – he’s a real leader on the mound.”

Hence excelled at the WWBA including a shutout start against the rival Scorpions, and was praised for his lightning-quick arm which was clocked at 96 mph during the championships.

Looking forward to his Cardinals career ahead, Chase felt Tink would make a real impact as a starter in the majors. “Tink has the athletic ability, mindset, and arsenal to become an effective major league pitcher. The only real weakness for Tink at the minute is his age and proving his health, but based on his history and drive for greatness there is nothing stopping him from becoming a real star for the Cardinals,” said Chase.

Overall Brewster was extremely positive about the Cardinals two new recruits and wished them both well. “This couldn’t happen to two better kids and I couldn’t be more thankful that they played for the Sticks and to have coached them.”

Moving on, Chase said, “although you can replace talent, it is impossible to replace two kids that are as hard-working and as happy to be at the ballpark every day as Masyn and Tink. I wish all the best to both of the guys, and am hopeful to watch them making their debut in St. Louis soon!”

Arkansas prep players do not have a strong history of reaching the big leagues, having to go back to Travis Wood in 2005 to find the last one. But based on their scouting reports and the glowing summary from Coach Brewster, everything points in the right direction that the St. Louis Cardinals have drafted two future stars in Masyn Winn and Tink Hence.

Next: The MLB Draft was a hit in 2020

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I, for one, am really excited to see the guys progress and work their way through the Cardinals system!

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