6 Cardinals' prospects who could make their MLB debut in 2024

The Cardinals' prospect depth is much improved. These talented players in the upper levels of the minors could make their debut next year.

Wichita Wind Surge v Frisco RoughRiders
Wichita Wind Surge v Frisco RoughRiders / Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/GettyImages
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Cesar Prieto

The final player on this list happens to be the oldest player as well. Cesar Prieto will turn 25 in early May, and he bats left-handed. Prieto stands only 5-foot-9, but he is a versatile defender. While he won't wow you with any spectacular defensive plays, he will be able to make the sure play. FanGraphs has his hit tool as his most valuable attribute.

Prieto started his career playing professional baseball in Cuba as a member of the Cuban National Series. He claimed the league's batting title in 2021, evidence of his ability to hit well. The Baltimore Orioles signed him in May 2021 as an international signee, and he immediately displayed his plus hit tool with a .340/.381/.619 slash line for their high-A team. Prieto was a part of the package that included Drew Rom and Zach Showalter when the Cardinals shipped Jack Flaherty to Baltimore at the 2023 trade deadline.

Cesar Prieto spent time at AA and AAA last year for both the Cardinals and the Orioles, and his statistics dropped slightly with each promotion or transition. He ended 2023 with a .323/.367/.446 slash line, but that is slightly misleading, as he didn't hit nearly as well in Memphis. He has never been one to generate walks, but he has excelled at hitting for his career. In fact, his walk rate and strikeout rate were nearly identical in both AA and AAA for Baltimore. The script was flipped when he came over to Memphis, but the blueprint for success is there for the utility infielder.

Most of Prieto's innings last year came at second base, but he did log 261 innings at shortstop and 294.1 innings at third base. His ability to play multiple positions on the infield is beneficial. While Tommy Edman, Masyn Winn, Brendan Donovan, and Thomas Saggese are able to play those same positions, Prieto's history of hitting for average sets him apart. Injuries would cause him to be called up, and I think most fans would prefer Prieto get a chance to debut next year rather than seeing Jose Fermin run it back in St. Louis.

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