Ranking the St. Louis Cardinals players with the most value beyond 2022

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 02: Tommy Edman #19, Paul DeJong #11, Kolten Wong #16 and Yadier Molina #4 talk with Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals during the fifth inning of Game Three of the National League Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on October 02, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 02: Tommy Edman #19, Paul DeJong #11, Kolten Wong #16 and Yadier Molina #4 talk with Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals during the fifth inning of Game Three of the National League Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on October 02, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 26: Jake Woodford #40 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 26, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 26: Jake Woodford #40 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 26, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

39-29

None of these first seven were with the St. Louis Cardinals last season. As such, they have no ranking to compare to from last year.

39. Ali Sanchez
38. Brandon Waddell
37. T.J. Zeuch
36. Jake Walsh
35. Johan Quezada
34. Freddy Pacheco

The six of these guys are talented, but unlikely to make large contributions to the team. The one key in their favor is that they are all under contract for at least one additional season, so there is plenty of time to advance up this list. The only question is if they’ll have an opportunity to do so.

33. T.J. McFarland

How do you rank a 33-year-old lefty pitching on a one-year deal? If McFarland continues to be the double-play machine that he was last season, then maybe you keep him around for another season and his future value goes up. I’m rooting for T.J., and he’s a key part of this year’s pen. Beyond 2022, however, it gets a little murky.

32. Junior Fernandez
31. Angel Rondon
30. Jake Woodford
29. Johan Oviedo

These four players are in quite a delicate spot. All of them are talented pitchers with the ability to both start and come out of the bullpen. Each one is highly regarded by the Cardinals. The problem is that none has a clear path to a role as a consistent contributor in the big leagues.

Woodford is penciled in right now as the spot starter in case of a last minute injury. We’ve seen Oviedo have some success last season. Rondon is still only 24 years old. And Fernandez was lights out last year in Memphis.

The St. Louis Cardinals would benefit greatly from any of these four pitchers taking a big step forward in 2022. If not, there is plenty of depth both ahead and behind them.

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