Too far away: Tink Hence and Tekoah Roby
Tink Hence, the Cardinals' second-ranked prospect and consensus top-50 prospect in baseball, was promoted to Double-A not all that long ago and has already surpassed a career-high with 73.1 innings pitched. The Cardinals have been very patient in their development of Hence, and I do not see that accelerating his timeline any time soon.
This isn't to say that Hence couldn't show up in St. Louis in 2024. If all goes well, he could receive a call late into the year as another rotation option, or more likely a bullpen piece. 2025 feels like the year when Hence will really have an opportunity to fight for a rotation spot.
Tekoah Roby was acquired in the Jordan Montgomery deal and just came off the injured list after dealing with a shoulder injury in the last few months. He's set to make his Springfield debut on Saturday, so his timeline is really muddy right now. My guess is he gets some looks in Spring Training along with Hence, but but are likely bound for Memphis during most of 2024. I could see a scenario where Roby's debut comes a bit sooner than Hence's, but it's too difficult to predict without seeing him pitch in the Cardinals system yet.