Here is who MLB executives are mocking to the Cardinals in a loaded draft class

The Cardinals will have a lot of interesting options to look forward to during the MLB Draft.
West Virginia v Pittsburgh
West Virginia v Pittsburgh / Justin Berl/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals have stormed back into contention over the month of May and look like a team that will be in contention all season long, but they still have a prize to look forward to from their awful 2023 campaign in mid-July.

The Cardinals hold the seventh overall pick in this year's MLB Draft, and while they'll miss out on some incredible bats like Charle Condon and Travis Bazzana, this year's class is loaded at the top, meaning there will be some incredible talent on the board when it is the Cardinals chance to pick.

I recently went through seven different players the Cardinals could select at number seven overall, and many of those names continue to be mocked to the Cardinals in recent days. While the MLB Draft is highly unpredictable due to the different grades teams will have on players as well as the potential that a team would draft a player for an under-slot deal to have more money to spend later, there are a few names that seem to be coming up more often than others.

JJ Wetherholt, Hagen Smith, Nick Kurtz, and Konnor Griffin are the names most frequently mocked to the Cardinals.

As you can see by the MLB executives poll that MLB Pipeline recently did, no one seems to have a firm grasp on where those players will go when July comes around, with all but one of those names going as high as number three overall, and all but two of them falling to the tenth pick.

Still, at least among executives, JJ Wetherholt of West Virginia seems to be the name to watch for the Cardinals. Wetherholt is an SS/2B that you can read more about in the breakdown I linked above, but he is clearly a top-5 talent who may fall due to some injuries he had this year. He projects to be an elite contact player from the left side with some pop in his game, and would certainly rival Tink Hence as the club's top prospect immediately upon being drafted.

Speaking of someone who could rival Hence, Arkansas left-hander Hagen Smith has taken college baseball by storm this year, striking out the world and quickly becoming the 1A or 1B starting pitching prospect in this year's class alongside Wake Forrest's Chase Burns. Burns seems to be rising up the board in recent weeks, and there's a chance that both Burns and Smith will be gone when the Cardinals go to pick.

Nick Kurtz is a first baseman, and with the depth of position players at the top of this class, may fall to the seventh pick with with how good his bat is. Another Wake Forrest player, Kurtz could easily become the first baseman of the future for St. Louis and project to be in the middle of their order for years to come, but the limited defensive upside has been the biggest knock on him. Baseball America has been mocking Kurtz to St. Louis for a while now (subscription required), although they have been clear in saying they aren't reporting that it's likely that's the case.

Lastly, high schooler Konnor Griffin received votes from executes, but I have also seen reports from other draft analysts that the Cardinals may prefer high schooler Bryce Rainer if they decided to go with a prep bat. Both are extremely high-upside players, but there always seems to be a bit more risk and time involved in developing high school players.

We'll continue to bring you coverage of the Cardinals' draft plans as the process heats up. While there will be a lot of unknowns until they make their pick, it's clear that it is an exciting year to be selecting in the top seven picks.