3 Cardinals prospects who should not get a September call-up

With this season a lost cause, the Cardinals could use the last several weeks to get a glimpse of the future. However, there are some players who shouldn't join the major league roster this fall.
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Masyn Winn

The Cardinals thinned out their middle-infield logjam with the trade of Paul DeJong to the Blue Jays, one of three deals this season between St. Louis and Toronto. This move left Tommy Edman as the primary shortstop and cemented Nolan Gorman as the everyday second baseman. Of course, few players are truly "everyday" players, so Brendan Donovan (when healthy) and Taylor Motter are available to provide rest when Edman and Gorman need it.

Masyn Winn is tearing it up at Triple-A Memphis this year. Through August 11, he was hitting .286/.356/.467 with 17 home runs, an equal number of stolen bases, and 94 runs scored in 101 games. This 21-year-old prospect is ready to shed that label and replace it with "major leaguer."

But is bringing Winn to The Show the correct move for the Cardinals? The benefits are exposure to the highest level to get him ready for next season and some excitement for the fans in this down season.

The drawbacks are the risk of interrupting a strong season one rung below the majors, either by poor performance or by allowing Winn to sit on the bench too much, getting a taste of the big league environment but not enough on-field action. After all, Edman and Gorman do need to continue to play a lot.

The service time issues of 45 days or 130 ABs are easy enough for the Cardinals to control. The ROY potential for next season is more difficult to gauge. Is there any guarantee Winn will finish in the top three of ROY voting? Of course not. Sure, he looks great now, but lots of things can affect how a youngster plays when he first reaches the majors.

The most likely scenario for St. Louis is to keep Winn in Memphis all of 2023 and start him there to begin the 2024 campaign, with Winn likely to reach the majors around Tax Day of next season. It's probably not fair, and it might not even be prudent if he does earn a top-three ROY finish.

However, the benefit of a draft pick around No. 35 probably doesn't outweigh locking in the risk of losing Winn a year earlier than the CBA permits. I expect the typically conservative Cardinals to play it that way, all but ensuring control over Winn through the 2030 season.