3 Cardinals players who won't make Opening Day roster but will contribute a ton in 2023

Houston Astros v St. Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros v St. Louis Cardinals / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
2 of 4

3. Tink Hence

Tink Hence has the dynamic swing-and-miss that the Cardinals have been missing for a long time. Luckily for St. Louis, Ryan Helsley has emerged as one of the best closers in the game. However, one arm is not enough to go deep in the postseason.

The Cardinals might have a second one in Hence. Drafted in the third round of what could be one of the best drafts in Cardinals history, Hence finished the season last year at Palm Beach and logged 52.1 innings.

The development plan for Hence is notable because he has yet to throw significant innings as a starter. He made 16 starts and averaged around three innings per outing. That is not exactly what you are looking for in a big-league starting pitcher.

Hence, however, has a dynamic arm. He throws in the mid to upper 90s and averages almost 14 strikeouts per nine innings. This is a good development blueprint for a prospect who could have an Andre Pallante-type role this season.

Hence, when he makes it to the major leagues, could be featured in some important games if he is called up in September when the rosters expand. He is a candidate to be an impactful pitcher for the Cardinals sooner rather than later.