5 prospects who can make the St. Louis Cardinals' Opening Day roster

The Cardinals have a number of exciting prospects, and these five could make the Opening Day roster.

Springfield Cardinals v Amarillo Sod Poodles
Springfield Cardinals v Amarillo Sod Poodles / John E. Moore III/GettyImages
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RHP Ryan Fernandez

Ryan Fernandez, like Svanson, was acquired recently. Fernandez was selected in the Rule 5 draft, which means he must begin the season on the active roster. Should the Cardinals wish to demote him, he'll have to clear waivers. Then, the Red Sox will be offered the chance to bring him back. Should they decline, the Cardinals would have the option to assign him to the minors. So, I guess I'm cheating here. Fernandez will begin the season with the big league club, so learn his name!

Fernandez is someone I'm excited to watch in 2024. He dominated at the AA level for Boston last season, and though he struggled in AAA, there's a lot to like about him. He has an outstanding fastball that occasionally touches 99! He throws a nice combination of secondary pitches, including a slider and a cutter. Both could become above-average offerings at the major league level. Having three or more strong weapons is a great thing for a reliever. He won't become stale the way other pitchers with just one or two out pitches often do. Moreover, Fernandez successfully limits walks, something the Cardinals value. That's thanks to his strong command, which should allow his breaking stuff to play up, even above its strong evaluations.

Fernandez will be in the bullpen at Busch Stadium on Opening Day unless he's injured. But, like everyone else in the system, he'll be hoping for a strong spring training. With a strong spring, he could find himself taking on increased opportunities instead of languishing in relative obscurity on the fringe of the roster. Either way, he'll be worth monitoring leading up to the season.