Masyn Winn's rise to stardom is giving the Cardinals hope both now and in the future

Masyn Winn has officially arrived, and he'll have a major influence on the Cardinals' chances of "Winn"ing both now and in the future.
Baltimore Orioles v St. Louis Cardinals
Baltimore Orioles v St. Louis Cardinals / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals have not been quiet regarding their excitement when it comes to Masyn Winn and his future as their shortstop, and yet, I think it is safe to say he's surpassed all expectations up until this point.

As of June 14th, Winn leads the Cardinals' active players in AVG, OBP, OPS, wOBA, wRC+, and fWAR while coming in third to just Nolan Gorman and Alec Burleson in SLG. Coming into the season penciled in at the bottom of the Cardinals' order, Winn has been one of their most productive and reliable hitters through the first two months and a half months of the season.

His defense and base running continue to provide the Cardinals with highlight-reel plays and make a major difference for the ballclub. While the hope was that one day Winn could be a productive offensive player with elite defense and baserunning, he is doing all of those things already.

Winn has been remarkably consistent this year as well. You'd expect to see a bit more of a variance in performance from a rookie like Winn, but his production month by month has been steady.

Winn month by month




























One of the major reasons for Winn's success at the plate this year has been his MLB-leading 32.3% line drive rate, which is 3.8% higher than the second baseline driver hitter in baseball this year, Luis Arraez. Other names in the top 10 include MVP candidates like Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Marcell Ozuna, along with his Cardinal teammate Alec Burleson.

Winn ranked in the 93rd and 92nd percentile in LA Sweet-Spot% and Whiff%, both of which contribute greatly to his batted ball profile. As Winn continues to develop more strength and drive those baseballs with even more authority, it will help him to continue to do damage consistently, even when the line drives fall off a bit.

Winn and Burleson are interesting hitters to watch, as both have had hit line drives at an elite level, but neither guy walks a ton nor hits for elite power. Burleson has more power in his bat right now than Winn, the point is that both guys will have cold periods where their hits just aren't falling, but overall, the process is so sound that you know they'll get back to getting hits consistently sooner rather than later.

At 22 years old, Winn has already moved himself from a promising young shortstop to a budding star, and it's not just Cardinals fans who are seeing this growth in him.

Dan Plesac hit the nail on the head. Once you get to the middle of June and a guy is hitting over .300 and producing at the level Winn is, you know they are legit. That doesn't mean Winn won't hit some cold spells (frankly, every player does), and it doesn't mean he will finish the season batting above .300, but it's clear that he's going to be a very good player for a very long time.

Winn currently leads all MLB rookies in average, hits, and total bases while also being second in hits and fourth in RBI. Winn struggled mightily last year when he got his early call-up to the show, but as both Winn and the organization have pointed out (and the numbers back up as well), he's always been a slow starter upon his first taste of a new league. Now that Winn is feeling comfortable, he's on his way toward potentially winning National League Rookie of the Year.

Masyn Winn is giving the Cardinals hope in the present and for their future

While the Cardinals' 2024 season still has a lot of uncertainty surrounding it, Winn is giving the club reasons to be hopeful for their playoff contention the rest of the way. If Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are able to heat up some as the summer goes on, or frankly, they just get Willson Contreras back in the lineup soon, they now have a young shortstop producing like one of the best bats in baseball, something they had no idea would happen for them this year.

Long-term, it makes you really dream about what Winn can become for this club. Most of my commentary has been on his bat so far, but that's because it's the part of his game we thought would take the longest to come around on. His raw talent defensively and on the base paths are even more exciting, and as he cleans up some of those errors and refines his approach on the bases, he'll be a Gold Glove defender at shortstop and among the league leaders in stolen bases every year.

The defensive metrics are already showing you just how valuable Winn is defensively, even while he's still getting comfortable at playing shortstop in the big leagues. He's tied for second among all shortstops in baseball in DRS with 6, while OAA has seen him as a net negative this year, likely due to his 10 errors which are tied with Oneil Cruz for second in baseball behind just Elly De La Cruz.

If you watch Winn play defense, you can see that a lot of his errors have been weird miscues that seem to be more about him growing and maturing as a player, rather than being wild and erratic. In the same vein, the more you watch Win, the more you'll also see all of the ways his raw athleticism and 80-grade arm strength can change a game. Winn is second in baseball in double plays, just one behind Ezequiel Tovar, and while this is also credit to the Cardinals' pitching staff and his double-play partner Nolan Gorman, Winn's arm strength allows them to turn double plays that no other shortstop in the game can.

We all knew his arm strength would lead to some incredible plays this year, but he's also shown how good his instincts are and how that athleticism translates into diving stops and put-outs that you just don't see outside of a few elite shortstops.

Winn is a star in the making, and while the Cardinals' farm system as a whole isn't super exciting, the amount of young talent emerging in St. Louis right now makes you wonder what things can look like in 2025 and beyond. Nolan Gorman is showing for the second straight season his ability to slug in the middle of the Cardinals' order and be a great double-play partner for Winn. Alec Burleson has emerged as an impactful hitter who can slot anywhere in the lineup long-term for St. Louis. Jordan Walker is figuring things out in Triple-A right now but was hitting 20% above league average as a rookie last year from June till the end of the year. And let's not forget about guys like Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, and Ivan Herrera.

Over the next few years, we'll see names like Victor Scott II and Thomas Saggese join the party offensively as well. I would be shocked if we don't see at least two of Tink Hence, Quinn Mathews, Cooper Hjerpe, Tekoah Roby, Gordon Graceffo, or Sem Robberse emerge into rotation pieces. The future is bright for the Cardinals' young care, and Winn now has an argument to be the leading piece of that.

For now, the Cardinals' focus is on winning ball games this season, but luckily for them, their rookie shortstop has become a major piece of both their short and long-term plans.