Markevian "Tink" Hence was another one of the elite prospects the Cardinals picked up in the 2020 MLB Draft, and team's around baseball are kicking themselves for letting him fall so far.
In Baseball America's recent rankings of the Cardinals' top prospects, they had Hence at number 2, having this to say about his ceiling.
"One of the most exciting pitchers in the minor leagues, Hence will look to take on a bigger workload in the coming seasons. If he can hold his stuff deep into starts, he could one day rank as the top pitching prospect in the game."- Baseball America
Hence as the potential to be the best pitching prospect in all of baseball soon. His stuff is next-level, and as Baseball America said, the main questions are whether or not he can go deep into games and maintain his stuff throughout it. Across 52.1 innings in 2022, Hence had a 1.38 ERA with 81 SO and a 0.88 WHIP. His low innings were by design, as the Cardinals are going to be very patient with him as they look to build him into a front-line starter for years to come.
John Mozeliak was equally complimentary of Hence in the same interview with Cusumano referenced earlier. When asked if Hence had number one stuff, Mozeliak had this to say.
"Stuff-wise, yes. You know, there's also going to be a maturity factor, there's going to be a physical factor. But when someone throws, you know, 100 at his age, it's not hard to imagine him being a one in a rotation. Now, he's going to have to learn to build up, he's going to have to learn how to go poll to poll, but there's a lot to be excited about him and you know, the upside and how often he was asked for, I think is a pretty good proxy of what type of prospect he is"- John Mozeliak
Do not expect to see Hence in the conversation for a promotion until 2024 at the earliest, but do expect to see him be talked about more and more as a legit front-line starter in the making.