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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21. C Pedro Pages (2023 level: Double-A)

Pedro Pages is a stout defensive catcher who took significant strides on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball in 2023. But more importantly, he is a high-character individual and someone beloved by his teammates. He perfectly embodies what it means to be a catcher in the Cardinals organization. When the news came out that the Cardinals added Pages to the 40-man roster, many fans were left surprised. At the time, Andrew Knizner was still on the roster as the backup, and Ivan Herrera was the 3rd catcher.

The purchasing of Pages' contract would give the Cardinals 4 catchers on the 40-man roster, and that wouldn't last long with the news of Knizner's non-tender a few days later. Amidst the obvious questions of Contreras behind the plate and 23-year-old Ivan Herrera being the only other catcher on the roster, it speaks volumes to how the organization feels about Pages and his readiness to be a big league catcher.

Pages was a significantly better hitter in 2023 than he was in 2022. Between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, Pages struck out over 30% and had an 80 wRC+ in 337 plate appearances. In 2023, he would improve those marks to 19.3% and 113, respectively, in 497 plate appearances. Pages ended the season strong in his final 19 games with a .348/.444/.507 slash line and a 156 wRC+. When assessing his offense, there's a night and day difference between his contact rates in 2022 and 2023, which played a huge factor in his offensive surge.

As mentioned earlier, Pages is a superb defender behind the plate. Baseball Prospectus grades him out as one of the best defensive catchers in Minor League Baseball with their Deserved Runs Prevented and Catching Defense Added metrics. I have been told to take these stats with a grain of salt; still, it's encouraging to see Prospectus' data back up my preconceived notion of Pages' defensive aptitude. Albeit catcher defense is one of the hardest things to evaluate, I'm fairly confident Pages is going to be a great defender at the next level.

As Pages got more comfortable with his new one-knee-down catching approach, his mobility behind the plate to block pitches and steal strikes developed rapidly. Pages pairs his blocking and framing skills with an above-average throwing arm, giving him a well-rounded defensive profile. Pages gunned down 47 baserunners on 123 attempts last year, which is good enough for a 38.2% rate. Leonardo Bernal and Jimmy Crooks get all the spotlight regarding Cardinals catching prospects but don't sleep on Pedro Pages following his tremendous 2023 campaign.

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