Since being selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 6th round of the 2022 draft, Max Rajcic has done nothing but impress. In his first Minor League season, he advanced from Single-A to High-A, and finally to Double-A to make his debut in a playoff appearance. This was enough to earn him Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors for the Cardinals' organization. His three lofty goals of pitching 130 innings, reaching Double-A, and being awarded Minor League Pitcher of the Year were all reached. Though Rajcic wouldn't reveal his goals for 2024, I'd imagine they're similarly ambitious and he's as hungry as ever to achieve them.
This past weekend, I interviewed Rajcic alongside Redbird Rants site expert Josh Jacobs and site contributor Sandy McMillan, and we were all very impressed by his rise throughout the lower Minors and drive to succeed and help the Cardinals organization win games.
Rajcic noted that he's spent time this offseason developing a cutter on top of his already versatile pitch mix of fastball, curveball, change-up, and slider combination. While he's not as highly ranked a pitcher by talent evaluators as Tink Hence, Tekoah Roby, or Gordon Graceffo, he's sure to catch the eye of national media soon if he keeps up his rapid improvement.
As one of the non-roster invitees to the Cardinals' Spring Training, Rajcic is ready for the challenge. He mentioned his excitement to face tougher competitions with future Hall-of-Famers Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, and he's excited to learn from the veteran pitchers on the Major League roster. As a student of the game, he'll be looking to soak up all the information from the coaches and some of the newly acquired veteran pitchers, particularly Sonny Gray. As a pitcher with a relatively smaller build, Rajcic's pitching styles match up quite similarly with the new Cardinals' ace.
With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in under two weeks, Rajcic looks more than ready to handle the challenges ahead. He's definitely a name Cardinals fans should be learning this Spring. Hopefully, he'll reach his 2024 goals just as he did in 2023, and we'll see him making an impact in the Big Leagues very soon.