3 St. Louis Cardinals prospects who are flourishing and 2 who are faltering

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Faltering prospects

Joshua Baez, OF

After the Cardinals hit a home run with their 2020 first-round pick in Jordan Walker, they took another mighty cut in round two in 2021, drafting another power threat in Joshua Baez. Unlike Walker, however, Baez has not found much success in the minor leagues. He is currently hitting .202 with Palm Beach and slugging .382, far below what was expected of him.

Baez's most worrying stat is his 37.1% strikeout rate, combined with a career-low 9.5% walk rate. His pop-up rate is a ghastly 33.3%. Baez is only 19 and still has a lot of time on his side, but so far, he is a reminder that high school power hitters fail in professional baseball far more often than they succeed.

Connor Thomas, LHP

Connor Thomas was a fifth-round pick in 2019, and while he initially showed promise in Memphis in 2021, he has not found success since then. Thomas has a 5.55 ERA in 2023, and he has allowed 86 hits in only 58.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .337 off of him, and he is inducing fewer ground balls than in years past. Thomas also lacks strikeout stuff, with 41 induced K's this season.

Thomas is 25, so he needs to turn it around quickly if he wants a chance to be a bullpen piece for the Cardinals. Left-handers are usually given more leeway and chances to succeed, but Thomas might be running out of rope.

The players in these two categories are going in different directions in their careers, but the unpredictability of baseball makes it impossible to know what's down the road. Development is not linear, so it's not advisable to get too high or too low on minor league players. In time, all will be revealed.