St. Louis Cardinals 2024 Top 30 Prospects List: #30-21

Pete Hansen - Shriners Children's College Classic
Pete Hansen - Shriners Children's College Classic / Bob Levey/GettyImages
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Greetings everyone! This is part 1 of a 3-part series showcasing my personal top 30 Cardinals prospect list. I have considered several factors, such as age, level, production, projection, underlying metrics, and film to influence the order of this prospects list. I hope all of you enjoy this series and can take away something from each of the write-ups.

If you're not previously familiar with my work, I am Kareem Haq. Since 2022, I have written and created social media content focusing on the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. You can find me at @KareemSSN on X/Twitter and @CardinalsProspects on Instagram. Side note: I recently created a Cardinals Prospects X/Twitter community, and if that is something that interests you, be sure to join here! Last February, I released the Data-Driven Top 12 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects article alongside @CardinalsReek on X/Twitter, and this will be my first time compiling a prospect since then.

Without further ado, let's get started!

30. RHP Cade Winquest (2023 level: Single-A)

Winquest is an athletic right-hander who possesses a high-spin fastball that flirts with triple digits. The Cardinals selected him in the 8th round of the 2022 draft out of UT Arlington. Winquest was listed as an OF/RHP in college, and although he never played the field, his athleticism is on display when you watch him pitch. He hits the high-90s on his fastball with ease, and in 2023, he reached a top velocity of 99.6 mph (In Statcast-tracked games). His average fastball velocity last year was 95 mph, but it increased as the season went on. It also helps that he gets nearly 7 feet of extension on the mound, making his pitches appear even faster. His 99.6 mph fastball max velocity, which I discussed earlier, had a perceived velocity of 101.7 mph for reference.

In 4 seasons for the UT Arlington Mavericks, Winquest posted a 5.77 ERA in 160 2/3 innings. Despite putting up unspectacular numbers, the Cardinals bet on his stuff to play, and in his first full season in pro ball, it certainly did. Don't let Winquest's 4.87 ERA scare you away; he was much better than that would indicate. Winquest struck out 24.2% of batters while walking 10.4% and did a respectable job managing batted balls overall.

His pitch mix includes the aforementioned high-spin heater, a mid-80s cutter, a high-70s to low-80s slurve, and a firm changeup. Although Winquest's fastball gets great velo, the shape isn't particularly great. He gets around 13 inches of induced vertical break and 5 inches of run and throws from a lower-than-average release height. Winquest has gotten up to 19.5 inches of IVB, but even if he lived in the 15-17" range with his release height and velo, the pitch would play extraordinarily well up in the zone.

While it would be ideal if he had more ride on his fastball, I'm still enamored by Winquest's ability to reach close to triple digits, especially in a starting pitcher role (currently). Of Winquest's three secondary offerings, his slurve and changeup show the most promise. His slurve was, without a doubt, his best offering performance-wise last year, with a whopping 47.6 whiff rate and 33% CSW%. The movement profile on the pitch varies a ton but averages around 80 mph with -10" of IVB and 9 inches of sweep (up to 16.4" of sweep). I think it would be a lot of fun if Winquest added a true sweeper to his pitch-mix, thrown a tick harder than his slurve.

Winquest also throws a 90 mph changeup. Even though the pitch is only 5 mph off the fastball, it has a difference of almost 6 inches of fade, which helps create a solid tunnel. The pitch induced a ton of swings and misses, with over a 30% whiff rate. It's his go-to secondary offering against lefties, but he also has a feel for it against righties. Winquest's cutter is currently a work in progress, but it could be a key pitch for him to help bridge the gap between his fastball and slurve. The offering is 83-87 mph, with 3-5 inches of sweep, but the command on the pitch needs refinement.

Winquest sometimes struggles with his mechanics and that is something he is going to need to clean up in order to keep his starting pitcher hopes alive. Additionally, his velocity does tend to drop as his pitch count rises. Although it seems inevitable that he will shift to a bullpen role in the future, he's still one of the most underrated prospects in the system. With a fastball that continues to increase in velocity and secondary pitches that can flash, he will be a name to watch this year. I understand the concern about his fastball shape, but this is a guy who can run it up to 100 mph with 7 feet of extension (102 mph perceived velo) and has an outstanding feel for spinning the ball.