The next crop of St. Louis Cardinals prospects

The farm system is quite top-heavy after a reboot at last year's trade deadline. Which players are behind the top-tier of prospects?

Panama v USA - WBSC U-15 World Cup Super Round Final
Panama v USA - WBSC U-15 World Cup Super Round Final / Hector Vivas/GettyImages
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C Leonardo Bernal

Leonardo Bernal was chosen by the Cardinals during international free agency in 2021. He was signed for $680,000 out of Panama, and he was very familiar with international baseball due to his participation in the Little League World Series and the U-15 World Cup in 2018. The Cardinals have been aggressive with the 20-year-old backstop thus far after inviting him to Spring Training in 2022.

Bernal is a switch-hitter who is balanced on all facets of his game. His highest-ranking scouting grade according to MLB.com is his arm and his fielding ability. His hit tool is the next best attribute that he possesses. Bernal's defense is his calling card, and if his bat can catch up to his work behind the plate, a breakout for the young catcher could be nigh.

Ivan Herrera and Willson Contreras will handle the major league catching duties these next 3-4 years. Behind them, St. Louis doesn't have much to worry about, as Leonardo Bernal is on the way. Don't expect him in St. Louis until at least 2026, but keep an eye on this young backstop.

RHP Ian Bedell

Ian Bedell is a member of the vaunted 2020 draft class of the Cardinals which includes Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn, Alec Burleson, and Tink Hence. Bedell, 24, profiles as a right-handed starting pitcher with a plus changeup and fastball and an average "gyro" slider that he developed last year.

I was able to catch up with Bedell recently and discuss his professional career thus far and his recovery from Tommy John Surgery. He struck out 106 batters in 96 innings last year with a 2.44 ERA. His ascent to the majors should be expedited given his age, experience, and impressive performance next year. Bedell will likely start 2024 at AA Springfield, but a promotion to Memphis by year's end isn't out of the question.

With his new arsenal, boosted confidence, and track record of success in college, Ian Bedell figures to be a key starting pitcher for the Cardinals in 2025 and beyond.