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

Pete Hansen - Shriners Children's College Classic
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28. LHP Brycen Mautz (2023 level: Single-A)

The Cardinals selected Mautz in the 2nd round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of the University of San Diego. Mautz was originally a walk-on at the program and to ultimately be drafted in the 2nd round is truly an amazing story and can't be understated.

Mautz spent his first two collegiate seasons in the bullpen and broke out in a major fashion in 2022, cracking the starting rotation. He posted a 3.87 ERA in 90.2 innings, struck out an impressive 129 batters, and walked only 22. His ability to strike out hitters and generate groundballs while limiting walks enticed the Cardinals to take him with their 2nd pick in 2022.

Mautz's sinker comes in at around 92 mph with minimal sink (11 inches of IVB) and 15 inches of arm-side run. The offering performs best when locating it low in the zone, where he induces groundballs at a solid rate. Mautz generally lives low in the zone with the pitch, but he does incorporate it up in the zone.

I'd like to see him tinker with a four-seamer with higher induced vertical break rather than using his sinker up in the zone. Mautz has decent control with his sinker but needs to do a better job of keeping the pitch outside the heart of the zone. I'm curious to see how the offering performs against higher-level competition. It's slightly below average right now, but with an uptick in velocity (which he's showcased in the past), it could be average.

Mautz's best pitch is undeniably his slider. The pitch lives around 80 mph with 0.2 inches of IVB and 2 inches of sweep. While the pitch might not stand out from the movement profile alone, Mautz has great feel for the offering. He's comfortable using the pitch against both lefties and righties and is consistently able to locate it. Hitters struggled to make contact against it as he had a 41.4% whiff rate when using it.

Mautz's 3rd offering is his changeup, and he exclusively throws it to right-hand hitters to keep them off balance. In college, Mautz was primarily a 2 pitch pitcher, leading many evaluators to label him as a future reliever. However, last year, he started incorporating his changeup more. The pitch lives in the mid-80s with similar arm-side run to his sinker. I see it as a clear, below-average offering right now. Aside from the spotty command, I also don't love how the pitch profiles stuff-wise and I think Mautz should experiment with a different changeup, potentially even a splitter. Mautz also threw an occasional curveball, a pitch he's been working on in the offseason. It could be an effective pitch at the start of counts to steal strikes and ultimately lower his early-count sinker usage.

While Mautz might not have the best arsenal when it comes to overpowering stuff, he got plenty of results in his first professional season following a 2nd round selection in the Draft. Apart from his slider, I have questions about his secondary stuff. He must continue developing those pitches if he wants any chance to be a future starter in the big leagues.