Ranking the St. Louis Cardinals players with the most value beyond 2022
Talented arms and top prospects
19. Kodi Whitley
18. Ryan Helsley
17. Genesis Cabrera
16. Giovanny Gallegos
15. Alex Reyes
14. Jordan Hicks
Reyes, Hicks, and Gallegos could be put in any order. And the same goes for Cabrera, Helsley, and Whitley. But the modern game relies on a strong bullpen, and these six make up the late inning backbone for the Cardinals.
However, questions remain with each player. Helsley will be returning from a season-ending injury. Whitley has only pitched 30 career innings. Cabrera has struggled at times with consistency. Gallegos is now 30 years old. Hicks and Reyes have the least defined roles of maybe any pitcher of their talent in all of baseball.
The Cardinals may still add to their bullpen with a free agent acquisition this offseason. Reyes and/or Hicks could move to the rotation. But as we learned during the difficult middle stretch of the 2021 season, there is no undervaluing pitching.
13. Zack Thompson***
12. Matthew Liberatore***
11. Ivan Herrera
10. Nolan Gorman***
Thompson, Liberatore, and Gorman are not yet on the 40-man roster. But for the second year in a row, these four talented minor leaguers occupy spots 10-13. I said it best a year ago when I did this exercise, so I’ll just copy the explanation again:
"I put these prospects up here because this is a list about potential… if the Cardinals are to be a successful team in the 2020s, they need their top prospects to deliver."
Gorman and Liberatore look like they will arrive in St. Louis sometime in 2022, as both prospects had strong showings in Memphis in 2021. Thompson struggled a bit last season, but the 19th overall pick from the 2019 draft is still a highly talented pitcher. And Herrera is waiting in the wings as the catcher of the future, whether he makes his debut this season or next.
Each of these prospects are knocking on the door of the big leagues, and Cardinal fans are right to be excited about their potential. However, this list is about future value. Any contributions these four make to the 2022 team are a bonus.