1. Outfielder Joshua Baez
The Cardinals were very high on Baez when they drafted him in the second round of the 2021 MLB draft out of high school and signed him to a generous $2.25 million dollar signing bonus. After having wrist surgery early last season, Baez was promoted to Palm Beach ( A ball) and had an impressive .286/.418/.540 slash line in limited time.
Unfortunately for Baez 2023 has not brought him the same fortune. According to his scouting report, his two greatest traits are his ability to hit for power and he has a cannon of an arm, and I don't think we have seen enough of either of those traits this season.
In 71 games with Palm Beach this season, Baez has only hit 7 home runs, and in 126 total minor league games in the Cardinals organization, he only has 13 long balls. The potential is clearly there as 25 of his 49 hits this year have gone for extra bases but one other concern is he is not getting enough hits mainly due to his proneness to strike out.
Baez's K rate has been over 30% in each of his three professional seasons, granted strikeouts are more common in the game of baseball now than ever before, but with the speed that Baez possesses ( 20 stolen bases in 22 attempts this season) you'd like to see him put the ball in play more.
When it comes to the arm strength Baez possesses in the outfield, we have not seen it this much in 2023 mainly because almost half of his appearances this year have been as a designated hitter. In 38 games in the field, he has committed 3 errors and has just 1 outfield assist.
It has also been a huge struggle for Baez in the month of August, as he has a .115/.361/.154 slash, and he has gone down on strikes in 8 of his last 14 at-bats, dropping his season average down to .210. If it all comes together for Baez ( still just 20 years old) he has the potential of being a five-tool player, but his lack of production this season could leave people in the Cardinals organization worrisome.