The St. Louis Cardinals are extremely thin when it comes to starting pitching talent. Sonny Gray will provide them with some much-needed talent at the top of the rotation, while Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn can help raise the floor of this staff with quality starts and innings galore. Still, the rotation leaves much to be desired in the eyes of Cardinals' fans.
If we focus on the pitching, things are, well, boring to say the least. But if we turn our eyes to the club's position players, it couldn't be much brighter than it is right now.
Stud veteran players? Yup. High-upside, young talent on the Major League roster? Check. Even more players coming up through the minor leagues? You bet. This is a whole other topic for another day, but outside of the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves, I'm not sure there is another group of young position players you'd rather have for the next 5 years.
There are so many names that are already impact players on this Cardinals roster that have multiple years of club control remaining. There are players that are a year or two away from St. Louis that can be impact players as well. At some point, the Cardinals will need to cash in some of those position players for pitching talent, and when they do, we'll feel a lot better about their pitching situation.
Let's take a look at the 10 most valuable young position players that the Cardinals have in their organization. My criteria for this list were players who will have five years or less of service time at the end of the 2024 season and will not be free agents until after the 2025 season.
Here are the 10 most valulable young position players in the Cardinals organzation
Honorable mentions: Dylan Carlson, Leonardo Bernal, and Chase Davis
The list of honorable mentions makes me really appreciate the young position player talent that the Cardinals have.
Carlson continues to be underwhelming production-wise, but someone who could easily be a much better player long-term. He's shown the ability to be a good defensive outfielder who can rake against left-handed pitching, but that only carries him so far when he has a career .717 OPS overall. It wouldn't be shocking at all to see Carlson fly up this list in the near future, but for now, he just misses the cut. Don't forget, he finished top-3 in Rookie of the Year voting just two seasons ago.
Leonardo Bernal is a really intriguing catching prospect in the Cardinals' system who is just 19 years old and has already put up good numbers at the Cardinals' Single-A affiliate. A switch hitter, Bernal shows more power from the left side right now but has the potential to be a true all-around catcher. Catching prospects, especially so early in their development, are hard to project out, but with a strong 2024, Bernal may move up onto this top 10.
Lastly, Chase Davis, the Cardinals' first-round pick this last year, is a pretty raw prospect who boasts promising power and defense in the corner outfield. Again, we just haven't seen enough from Davis yet to let the promise push him onto this top 10, but he very well could find himself among the top names in the near future.