These 4 Cardinals are being severely undervalued by ESPN's fantasy baseball rankings

ESPN's fantasy baseball rankings for 2024 sell Cardinals' rising stars short.
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages
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#129: Jordan Walker

Sure, Tommy Edman's got positional flexibility at second base, shortstop, and in the outfield, but putting Walker over 25 spots below Edman is criminal. Walker was worth fewer head-to-head points last year, but that's because he didn't play the full season. His .276/. 342/.445 slashline amounted to a 114 OPS+ at just 21 years old, far exceeding the 91 OPS+ of Edman.

Of course, we're failing to take into account that Edman is a terrific defender, while Walker was one of the worst last year, but in most forms of fantasy baseball defense is valued extremely little or none at all. Purely from an offensive standpoint, Walker clears easily. But enough about Edman, who else is Walker behind?

Well, at 62nd Walker is over 65 spots behind Jung Hoo Lee, a Korean outfielder who's yet to see any Major League action. ESPN projects Walker to post a .779 OPS, down from his .783 OPS last season, but Lee is only projected at .710. While Lee probably won't strike out as much as Walker, which is a big deduction, Walker's power numbers should dwarf Lee's.

Speaking of strikeout rate, Walker is over 50 spots behind Reds "super-prospect" Elly De La Cruz. Again, De La Cruz put up better defensive numbers in 2023, but offensively was nowhere near Walker. They've also got comparable numbers in projections, so we can only guess why Walker's ranking is so low.

FanGraphs projects Walker to be the best amongst all Cardinals in wRC+, a much more reasonable prediction. Walker's ceiling is yet untapped, but he's been working hard to elevate the ball and even add to his already elite exit velocity numbers this offseason. The sky is the limit.

On draft day, when stuck deciding between Wilmer Flores, Jake Cronenworth, Thairo Estrada, Zack Gelof, and Jordan Walker, go with Walker. You won't regret it.