Although the Cardinals (perhaps unwisely) spent most of their recent pitching draft picks on pitch-to-contact control artists, Andre Granillo breaks from that herd. The Cardinals drafted Granillo in the 14th round in 2021 out of UC Riverside after he showed improved stuff in the Cape Cod League.
Granillo is strictly a bullpen arm, and he broke out in 2022, posting elite strikeout numbers amid a fastball that drastically increased in velocity, from the high 80s and low 90s to the mid-90s. He fanned 14.9 batters per nine innings across three levels, although his 5.2 walks per nine was higher than desired. His strikeout percentage of 35.7% in 2022 trailed only Tink Hence among pitchers in the Cardinals system with 50 innings or more.
Granillo pairs his fastball with a lethal slider, which had a whiff rate around 60% the past two seasons. His sinker and curveball need work, and his changeup could stand to improve to give him a weapon against left-handed hitters. Granillo is close to seeing major league action, and it looks like the Cardinals may have unearthed a gem in the late rounds.
A healthy Ian Bedell turned heads in 2023 after Tommy John surgery sidelined him for all but 8.1 innings in 2021 and 2022. The Cardinals drafted Bedell in the fourth round of the five-round 2020 draft, and he blossomed in 2023, putting up a career-best 2.44 ERA in 96 innings at High-A Peoria. He also struck out 106 batters.
Command has long been Bedell's calling card, especially with his curveball. His fastball won't blow anyone away, as it sits around 94 mph, but it has decent movement and spin. A slider that he added to his arsenal at the beginning of 2023 has also paid substantial dividends.
Bedell's ceiling, like that of many pitchers in the Cardinals system, is probably that of a back-of-the-rotation starter, but a job out of the bullpen in his first taste of the major leagues is likely. Although Bedell has yet to reach Double-A, the Cardinals will likely put him on the fast track given that he's already 24.