Why Ivan Herrera remains an important part of the Cardinals future

Jun 26, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ivan Herrera (47) walks off the
Jun 26, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ivan Herrera (47) walks off the / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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Ivan Herrera remains a promising option

Looking at his stats from 2022, Herrera only had 22 PA at the big league level. With the way many of us talk about him, you'd think he caught half the games and showed no promise. That just was not the case.

In 65 games for Triple-A Memphis, the 22-year-old slashed .268/.374/.396 with 6 HR and 34 RBI. With six years of club control remaining, not turning 23 until after the season kicks off, and still showing promise both at and behind the plate, Herrera is not a piece to sell low on for St. Louis. Think about how frustrating it was to see many of Yadier Molina's backups play over the years. Herrera has a chance to give the Cardinals a nice option off the bench, something many contending teams in baseball have aimed to do with their rosters in recent years.

In a deep Cardinals farm system, Baseball America still had Herrera as the club's #8 prospect, and noted that he was "pushed aggressively over the past two seasons". Herrera, if anything, has performed above expectations until last year, so 2022 and 2023 are opportunities for his bat and receiving skills to catch up to the Triple-A and Major League levels.

He is still graded at having a 60-rated hit tool, and they noted that his improvements in exit velocity show he could have average raw power as well. Is he the prospect some made him out to be a year or two ago? Not necessarily, but he still has a bright future behind the plate as an offensive first catcher.

Herrera will have internal competition outside of Knizner to compete with as well. Pedro Pages made his way up to Triple-A in 2022, and the club just signed Tres Barrera to a minor-league deal as well. Leonardo Bernal is still years away from the Major Leagues but is impressing more and more and could be a factor long term.

Regardless, the club will have Herrera every opportunity to compete with Knizner for a spot on the MLB roster, and they are eager to see if he'll take a step forward in his development in 2023.

Chip Caray is the Cardinals new play-by-play announcer . dark. Next