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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#8 - Ivan Herrera

Ivan Herrera has had a lot of pressure on him since his name began to make headlines as a prospect a few years ago. The potential heir to Yadier Molina, his 2022 campaign left some things to be desired for the Cardinals, causing them to go out and sign Willson Contreras. While the Cardinals made an excellent move in bringing in the former Cubs' backstop, Herrera has risen to the occasion since then and is now one of the best backup catchers in baseball and doing an admirable job filling in for Contreras behind the plate.

Herrera has had big moments at the plate this year but has mostly been right around league average at the plate for St. Louis. For someone who is in their first full big league season as a catcher, that is really impressive production, and you'd figure he'll continue to build on that as more of a bat-first catcher. With the struggles of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado this year and the general slump from the Cardinals' lineup, there has been more pressure on Herrera to produce than anyone would have expected. He's done an admirable job navigating that as well as the task of managing the Cardinals' pitching staff.

Herrera has already shown a knack for coming through in big spots offensively, which is a nice trait to see in your young catcher. I think the Cardinals would expect Herrera to be one of the better hitting catchers in the game when he's fully developed, which is a huge asset for the club long-term.

This year has been a mixed bag for Herrera behind the plate. In terms of blocking pitches, he's been one of the best in the game this season, ranking in the 80th percentile in blocks above-average. His framing has been slightly below-league average, but with the improvement we saw in Willson Contreras in just one calendar year, I bet we see strides from Herrera in that area as well.

Herrera's big issue defensively has been his inability to control the running game. Both Oli Marmol and John Mozeliak have said Herrera's arm is in need of major improvement long-term, and if he is unable to improve that clear weakness in his game, it will be difficult to start him consistently behind the plate.

For now, we are loving what we are seeing from the young Cardinal catcher, and the future is bright with the duo of Contreras and Herrera in St. Louis.