The good, the bad, and the ugly for Cardinals prospects in the Arizona Fall League

The Cardinals had 7 prospects participate in the 2023 edition of the Arizona Fall League. Today, we'll dive into their performances and see what they mean for their futures!

Surprise Saguaros v Scottsdale Scorpions
Surprise Saguaros v Scottsdale Scorpions / Jennifer Stewart/GettyImages
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The Good

RP Edwin Nunez

Edwin Nunez enjoyed a strong 2023 season. Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2021 season, Nunez has long been seen as a raw arm with the talent to someday impact the big league club. His first two seasons were disastrous. He pitched to an abysmal 5.67 ERA, splitting time between Palm Beach and the Florida Complex League. Then, in 2023, he was awesome. Nunez dominated Palm Beach and earned a promotion to Peoria, where he was even better.

The young reliever pitched well this fall. Nunez appeared in 8 games, recording 10.2 innings pitched and allowing just three earned runs. That works out to a 2.53 ERA, a respectable mark for a young prospect facing much more advanced hitters. He only struck out six hitters, but that slight disappointment is offset by his strong control, as he issued just four free passes. While the sample size is low, this is an encouraging development for Nunez. He's demonstrated that he's capable of getting mature hitters out. The AZFL is generally composed of A+ and AA position players, though teams have sent hitters from all levels. Nunez has likely proven to the Cardinals that he can handle AA. Expect to see the 21-year-old reach that level by the middle of 2024 at the latest.

RP Andre Granillo

Granillo has been with the Cardinals for just three seasons, but he's already 23. Drafted out of college in 2021, Granillo reached Memphis late in the 2023 season. After a strong 2022, he seemed poised to jump onto the Cardinals' MLB radar. Unfortunately, he took a sizable step back in 2023. He was terrible with Memphis and was less than viable with Springfield. The AZFL has offered a nice chance to reset. He's also found himself in some high-leverage situations with Scottsdale.

Granillo posted a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings. He struck out 14, a very encouraging sign, especially when considering that he walked just three opponents. He allowed too many hits, but the sample size is incredibly small, so it's difficult to really dig into that number. Granillo enjoyed a successful showing this fall and should have at least bought himself some time with this performance. I'd be surprised if he's not back with Memphis in April. Perhaps the gaudy numbers could be parlayed into an opportunity with the major league club.

CF Victor Scott II

Scott is a highlight machine. He plays otherworldly defense and just stole 94 bases. He's going to be really fun to watch in St. Louis. Fortunately for Cardinals fans, we don't have to wait. He did amazing stuff this fall in the AZFL. Scott also caught up with Josh Jacobs on an episode of the Noot News podcast earlier this year to talk about the progress he's made. Cardinals fans should be excited about his performance in the AZFL.

Scott, still just 22, must have loved his time in Arizona. He hit .286 with a .388 OBP. This is right in line with what he's done throughout the Cardinals' system. He also slugged .417, which closely resembles his time with Memphis. However, he's now striking out less. Scott drew 12 walks in just 99 PAs (84 ABs)! Scott struck out just eight times. It's impressive that he's managed to cut down on his strikeouts without sacrificing power or average.

He also swiped 18 bags in just 23 games. As with any AZFL performance, the sample size is small. But, this fits Scott's overall performance, both in 2023 and before. He's always run high OBPs and he's always stolen a lot of bases. It seems likely that Scott will be patrolling Busch's expansive outfield sooner rather than later.