8. Ivan Herrera
This time last year, the Cardinals were adamant that Ivan Herrera was not ready to have a significant role on the big league club. So how did Herrera respond to that? He was the Cardinals' 2023 Minor League Player of the Year and led them to part ways with Andrew Knizner to carve out a consistent role for him.
Posting a .951 OPS in Triple-A at age 23 as a catcher is going to catch the attention of a lot of people, and Herrera also made improvements defensively as well. While he remains a bat-first catcher, he is someone the Cardinals feel confident in managing the staff consistently in 2024.
Herrera had limited opportunities in St. Louis in 2024, but in the 13 games he did play, he posted a 0.5 fWAR and 122 wRC+, and will not get the opportunity to show the Cardinals what he can do on a consistent basis.
Remember, this list is about value, not necessarily who the best player is right now. Edman is the better player today, but six years of control for a promising catcher like Herrera is going to be a more valuable asset right now. While the Cardinals have Contreras entrenched for the next four seasons, Herrera allows them to have a great option behind him that can start 60-80 games for them next year, and his role will only increase as the years go on.