St. Louis Cardinals Prospects: Malcom Nunez promoted to AA
By Matt Graves
The St. Louis Cardinals moved up three of their top third base prospects on Monday including sending 20-year-old Malcom Nunez to AA Springfield.
Monday was a huge day for the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system as three bright young third basemen all were bounced up a level as they continue to grow and improve.
The two easiest names to know, Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker, jumped up to AAA Memphis and High-A Peoria, respectively. The third baseman is smack dab in the middle of these two, and that is none other than Malcom Nunez.
Nunez, 20, was given the promotion from Peoria up to AA, taking Gorman’s spot. Nunez is listed as 5’11”, but has also been listed as 6’1”. The righty is the Cardinals’ 13th-best prospect and is from La Habana, Cuba. Nunez signed for $300k during the 2018 international signing period at the ripe age of 17.
Three years later, it’s been his 2018 summer season that still stands out. After being signed, Nunez hit for a .415/.497/.774 slash line in just under 200 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League. After 2018, the question was always how he would perform once he got to USA soil.
Between Rookie-level Johnson City and then Low-A Peoria in 2019, things didn’t go so hot for Nunez as that 1.272 OPS dropped to .623. As all the good hitters do, Nunez has shown adjustments in 2021 and that has been the key to his earned promotion to AA Springfield.
Over 35 games at now High-A Peoria, Nunez finished with a .285/.351/.453 slash line including three homers and five stolen bases. The third baseman got off to a slow start, but has turned things around, and watching him bat in the same lineup as fellow top prospect Jhon Torres at Peoria has been fun to watch.
While I’ve watched a lot of Nunez’s games at Peoria this year, I’m not quite confident enough yet to really judge if this promotion has been “earned” or not, but I trust that if the Cardinals want to be aggressive with their promotions (as they frequently are), the players they are pushing are deserving of that push.
Nunez has done enough in my rookie eyes to show that the scuffling 2019 season was an outlier and that he can play on US soil, but the jump from High-A to AA is a big one. With Gorman gone, Nunez should be the primary third baseman at Springfield and he’ll be just another name in that exciting lineup to keep an eye on.