The Cardinals #2 prospect, Masyn Winn, has shown major strides so far this spring
The St. Louis Cardinals came into Spring Training with a variety of exciting players, with Jordan Walker stealing the show to this point in camp. One name that may have taken more strides than any other player to this point in camp though may be shortstop Masyn Winn.
The 20-year-old has already made headlines with a 99.9 MPH throw from shortstop on Thursday and a 435-foot bomb on Friday, showing he's an exciting player on both sides of the game. Entering 2022, there were questions about whether or not Winn's bat would be good enough to become more than an elite defender, but now he has risen to the #2 prospect in the Cardinals' system according to MLB.com and most scouting outlets and may have accelerated his own timeline.
Yes, it's just Spring Training, but there are a lot of signs of growth for Winn so far this spring. He looks comfortable at the plate, batting .500 in his four games so far, and has had a variety of batted balls at 100 MPH exit velocity or higher. No one should be thinking Winn deserves to be on the Opening Day roster as of now, but it is fair to wonder if he has truly taken significant strides in his development.
Could Masyn Winn be in St. Louis during 2023?
If you asked me a month ago, I would have given Winn's odds of an MLB debut in 2023 at about 20%-25%. A lot of that has to do with Winn's bat needing time to develop and no clear path toward consistent playing time in St. Louis. But if Winn's strides so far this spring are a sign of things to come, those odds jump significantly for me.
If Winn is truly ready to get a shot in St. Louis, the Cardinals will have to determine if they are comfortable giving him the amount of playing time a prospect of his caliber deserves. Like the Jordan Walker conversation, they are not going to bring up Winn to be a backup infielder, unless it's down the stretch or for October. A guy like Winn needs to be playing every day, so what does a path toward that in St. Louis look like?
Again, this hinges on Winn actually being ready. If he is, the paths toward playing time would be via a trade of one of Tommy Edman, Nolan Gorman, or Brendan Donovan, an injury to one of those three, or the club beginning to value someone in that trio less than they do now. Donovan is too good not to find an everyday role for right now. Edman has been one of the most valuable Cardinals over the last two seasons and is a terrific shortstop. Gorman has a high ceiling and needs to have at-bats between a crowded DH spot and second base.
This is an incredible situation for John Mozeliak and Oli Marmol to navigate. I don't think anyone expected Winn to make as much noise as he has already, and this should excite Cardinals fans and their front office a lot.