MLB player comparisons for 6 Cardinals' prospects

Player comparisons are a tough game to play, as each player is unique and rarely lineup perfectly with one another. These six comps are to help us get an idea of who these players could become.
Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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Tink Hence: Right-handed Blake Snell

This is the comparison I feel the least "good" about, mostly because Blake Snell is about to walk away with his second career Cy Young Award. Could Tink Hence do that? Sure, he's got incredible stuff. But I want to focus much more on the kind of pitchers Hence and Snell are, and let that be where the comparison lies.

Most people know that Hence has been a guy that the Cardinals have been very patient with. He reached a career-high this year with 96 innings, and although he struggled a bit in Double-A when he was promoted, he just turned 21 years old, so there's still a lot of natural development left to happen.

Hence is not a starter, at least at this point in his development, who will give you more than six innings in a start. He walks and strikes out a ton of guys, which raises his pitch count signifcantly. His stuff is so good though, so you can live with those five or six inning outings when he's giving up two or fewer runs at his best. While you'd love for him to go deeper into games, that's honestly where a lot of starters find themselves in today's game.

Blake Snell is the prime example of a player who has mastered the art of this. In 2018, Snell won the AL Cy Young after posting a 1.89 ERA in 180.2 innings of work, and he's on his way to another Cy Young Award in 2023 with a 2.25 ERA in 180 innings thus far. While these two seasons of his career have been incredible, his next highest innings output was 129.1 in 2017 and he usually sits in the mid-3.00 ERA range.

If Hence continues down the trajectory he is on, that feels like the kind of starter he can become. Someone who won't give you many innings, but the ones he does give you are high quality, and when he's at his best, he can compete for Cy Youngs and All-Star appearances.