The 8 Cardinals I was most impressed by at Winter Warm-Up

While speaking to the media this week, these 8 Cardinals stood out above the rest.
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
6 of 8

Max Rajcic

Drafted in the 6th round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of UCLA, Max Rajcic (pronounced Ragic, like Magic), was dynamite in his first taste of pro ball in 2023, posting a 2.48 ERA in 23 starts.

Rajcic told us his goals for 2023 were to throw 130 innings, reach Double-A, and win the Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and he accomplished all three of those goals last year.

While Rajcic is not as highly ranted among talent evaluators as guys like Tink Hence, Tekoah Roby, and Gordon Graceffo, he caught the eyes of any last year and will surely move up prospect lists going into this year. His fastball sits between 92-94 MPH and can get higher than that at times, and he uses that fastball to set up his 55-grade curveball and other off-speed pitches.

Rajcic is not a strikeout pitcher per se, but he did average about a strikeout per nine innings last year and is continuing to work on building more velocity and honing his off-speed pitches as well. Rajcic's command of the strike zone is seen as a strength of his, and he projects to be a guy who can be a back-of-the-rotation starter, but I'd bet there is some rotation upside if his stuff continues to play up as it has.

When Rajcic was asked to reveal his goals for 2024, he kept those close to the vest, and if his performance in 2023 is any tell, he's ready to take major strides again this coming season.