The consensus top ranked prospect in the Cardinals' farm system right now is without question Masyn Winn. The slick fielding shortstop with a cannon for an arm has continued to make strides at the plate the last couple of years. While he will never be a masher, his hit tool and patience at the plate has improved enough that he should be a solid offensive contributor with big upside on defense at a premium position.
With guys like Paul DeJong and to a lesser extent Tommy Edman potentially available at the trade deadline, having Winn around to man the left side of the infield is a tremendous luxury and allows the Cardinals to be agile when it comes to making moves to fill other holes on the roster.
Now if the opportunity presents itself to get a premium player with some team control, Winn could be on the table. However, those options appear to be few and far between at the deadline this year. As for the offseason, such a move could be more likely and the front office could plan accordingly. However, the most probable course is that Winn is St. Louis' shortstop of the future and he should be treated as such.
With the Cardinals' pitching woes at the forefront of everyone's minds at the moment, it is hardly a surprise that their top pitching prospect, Tink Hence, should be all but off limits if they want to compete in 2024. Hence possesses a plus fastball and plus slider that could make him a frontline starter in the big leagues.
Most importantly, Hence is already at Double-A and has pitched extremely well this season with a 2.54 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 56.2 innings of work. While he only recently got promoted to Double-A, he is very clearly on the fast track to the big leagues for the Cardinals. Assuming that continues to hold, Hence should provide the Cardinals' rotation a boost sometime next year.
Tink is still a pitching prospect, though, and they carry a much higher risk so he shouldn't be untouchable. However, he should only be considered as a trade piece in a high end trade that will make a big impact on the 2024 roster.