Ranking the St. Louis Cardinals' 10 most important young players and prospects

There is so much young talent in the Cardinals organization right now.
Jun 2, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second base Nolan Gorman (16) celebrates his home run with shortstop Masyn Winn (0) against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 2, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second base Nolan Gorman (16) celebrates his home run with shortstop Masyn Winn (0) against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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#1 - Jordan Walker

We are way too quick to write off guys. Jordan Walker is still the hitter who was a consensus top-3 prospect in all of baseball, but it's clear there are some things he needs to work on in order to fulfill his potential, but that potential is to become the true star in the middle of the Cardinals lineup every day.

Walker is a natural hitter, he is a guy that could hit for a .300 average one day, even in today's game. But he also has a giant frame and hits the guts out of baseballs, meaning if the Cardinals can continue to unlock Walker, he'll be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

Walker saw his defense in the outfield improve this year, so the noise about him moving positions should quiet down for a while. Sure, long-term he may become a first baseman, but at this stage of his career, he's athletic enough to play right field for the Cardinals.

It's not fun waiting for Walker to get back to St. Louis, but if he's able to recapture his form soon, he was a 20% above league average hitter at the MLB level after being recalled to St. Louis last year, and I am sure he can build on that performance too.

Here is what I find odd. Before the season, Walker would have been the overwhelming favorite young position player among fans. Not just as someone to watch, but as the guy they think has what it takes to lead the club long-term. Now, fans don't seem as sure.

Obviously it is just a small portion of the fan base voting on this poll, but it likely reflects a large group of Cardinals' fans. Walker narrowly edged out Nootbaar for being ranked as the third player that Cardinals' fans have the most confidence in.

I get why Winn and Gorman have garnered so much support recently, I just praised both of them extensively. But Walker just turned 22 years old and more than held his own against big league pitching last year. Walker has all of the talent in the world and is a great guy, so I have a hard time knocking him down the list for a couple of harder months when he's working on his game to improve long-term.

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