RP Edwin Nuñez
Nuñez doesn't get talked about nearly enough. Perhaps that's due to his status as a relief prospect. Perhaps it's because he's been in the Cardinals' organization for three seasons and just reached A-Advanced ball for the first time. Or perhaps it's because he dealt with control issues throughout his first two seasons with the Cardinals. Regardless, he broke out in a big way in 2023. Nuñez was effective enough with Palm Beach (3.62 ERA, 35 strikeouts, 27.1 innings pitched) to earn a midseason promotion. He made the jump with Max Rajcic, another 2023 breakout story.
Nuñez needed no adjustment period in Peoria, as he dealt from the start. By the time the season wrapped up in early September, it was clear he'd been even better. Nuñez stepped into a high-level role, often serving as Peoria's closer. He made 22 appearances, totaled 36 innings, and pitched to a 3.22 ERA. Though he didn't generate as many strikeouts, he cut down on walks. Nuñez also continued to demonstrate a strong ability to limit the long ball. On the season, he allowed just five. He was at his best in August when he threw 16.2 innings of 2.70 ERA ball. Nuñez also generated 10 strikeouts and allowed just one home run during this stretch.
His development was very encouraging for Cardinal officials. This was a make-or-break season for him, and by finishing strong at a more advanced level, he can now break into the upper minors during his age-22 season. Expect to see Nuñez reach Springfield, and perhaps even Memphis in 2024. He could be an effective member of the Cardinals bullpen shortly thereafter, as high-octane relief arms tend to move quickly. His 2024 season is sure to be an exciting one.