Updated: Feb 14
THIS IS THE PROSPECT PREAMBLE.
Each post will feature these words, so feel free to skip accordingly. I offer the same always-standing apologies for the lackluster quality of my writing, as well as the stream of consciousness nature that I write with. I sincerely wish that I was better at writing than I am but, alas, here we are. Also, I'm very good at this as compared to most, but I am still VERY bad at it. Just think about that for a second, for context purposes.
I want to start off by reminding everyone that these posts are aided and enhanced by the works of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, Baseball America, and Prospects Live. Each embedded link will take you to their subscription pages and you should absolutely do that. Shout out to Geoff Pontes and Matt Thompson from Baseball America and Prospects Live, respectfully, because they're awesome. FanGraphs stats are OBVIOUSLY clutch and awesome, and that's why they are used in nearly every "Dirty" post. LOVE that FanGraphs.
Accordingly, @Cardinalsgifs provides his artistic touch to the pictures in each article, and I wouldn't do this at all if he wasn't a part of it. Special shoutout to @KareemSSN who is a must follow for Cardinals prospects stuff. His partner in crime is @Cardinalsreek and they have their own prospect list coming out soon!! Shoutout to Blake Newberry (@BT_Newberry)and Brian Walton (@B_Walton) for their work on their list over at The Cardinal Nation, too.
I also want to remind everyone that my list is different in that I don't include players with rookie eligibility that have made a Major League debut. So, you'll have to look elsewhere for Matthew Liberatore, Ivan Herrera, Alec Burleson, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez, Brendan Donovan, Jake Walsh, Andre Pallante, and ZacK Thompson. Some of these guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway. I'm just trying to get ahead of this because I will 100% be asked about each. I did almost add 32-year-old Rule 5 draft selection Wilking Rodriguez to the list, but decided against it because he's 32-years-old, entering his age 33 season, and the coverage of him will surely be overly saturated by the time that Spring Training gets going. Also, I didn't add recently acquired Jose Fermín because I just don't care at all. I'm sure he'll make a Major League debut at some point in 2023 which will be cool but I just can't find it in me to care about it at all.
The last thing that I'd like to do is remind everyone that this is just a snap shot of THIS moment. I'm not 100% sure what every player on the list has worked on or has been doing this offseason. So, when I'm a little more conservative with a player like, say, Michael McGreevy, it's without the knowledge of what he's worked on this offseason, along with the gains that he's made in the areas that I'm concerned about. You never know when/if things are going to click for a player, and there's more reason now than ever before - with the advancements in modern baseball technologies - for a prospect to catapult themselves from out of nowhere. Vice versa, it's easier than ever for a prospect to fall off into obscurity.
Finally, I'd like to provide links to other sites that rank Cardinals' prospects. The Cardinal Nation, Prospects Live, and Baseball America all have their 2023 lists published, and MLB and FanGraphs will link to their most recent rankings from 2022:
KAREEM AND CARDINALS REEKS TOP 12
THIS HAS GONE ON TOO LONG. LET'S. GO.
RHP Ian Bedell
Drafted in the 4th Round of the 2020 Draft
Listed at 6'2, 198
We spend a lot of time talking about the 2020 draft and how it allowed the Cardinals a chance to draft Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn, Alec Burleson, and Markevian "Tink" Hence in what amounted to the shortest draft in my lifetime with its 5 rounds.
With respect to L.J Jones and Levi Prater, Ian Bedell could be the other piece of that draft that might turn out to be something special.
It just seems like it is going to come down to health for Bedell.
It's been a struggle for Bedell so far, and we haven't nearly seen the best of him because of his arm's health, but I firmly believe that 2023 is going to be his breakout season now that he is one full off-season removed from Tommy John surgery. It's something that I'm clearly betting on because it's not like me at all to be this aggressive with a pitcher that has experienced arm issues. It's also not common for me to be this aggressive with anyone that has had such infrequent in-game reps within the organization.
Bedell didn't get many innings during either the 2021 or the 2022 seasons, and he had a set back or two in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery, but you could still see a few signs here and there of a pitcher capable of contributing at the Major League level. Not a ton of signs, mind you, because I still hardly have any gifs of him to share.
Between his athleticism, his pitchability, his understanding/use of advanced technologies, his drive to be as good as he can be, and his poise on the mound, you'd have to think that Bedell is just health away from potentially being on the fast track to the majors. When I watched the one relief appearance that was available to me during the 2022 season it was clear that Bedell was in his own head a little with mechanics because they weren't nearly as athletic as they have been in the past. Instead, they were... stiff as fuck, really. You'll notice the difference immediately, specifically in his landing leg. I only have one gif from that appearance and it's the first gif in this post, but just watch it as compared to the other gifs in this post. It's glaring and obvious. Athleticism is one of the things that Bedell brings to the mound, so it's going to be important for him to rediscover that in his delivery.
One of constant words that I use in these write-ups is "consistency". I try to drive it home as much as I can when I can because I believe that it's the most important part of both a player's development and their ability to have success at the Major Leagues (if they make it to the Major Leagues). Another word that I try to use a lot is "steady" because I believe that "steady" and "consistency" are two very important and mature traits that a prospect usually has on their road to the Majors. These are two words that I would use to describe Bedell when he's healthy, and they are two adjectives that can be used strongly when describing him when he's healthy. I'd also like to add "smart" and "cerebral" in the way that he pitches, which is incredibly important for pitchers. Even in the one, singular, shortened relief appearance that was available during the 2022 season, you could see the next level plan of attack. Bedell just didn't have the command of his stuff to execute it.
Over the years, Bedell has messed with a bunch of pitches as he's worked to design his arsenal to be as effective as possible. In his short 2022 sample, we saw Bedell throw a four-seam, sinker, changeup, and curveball. Working his way back, he didn't really demonstrate command of any of these pitches, especially his changeup and curveball. This obviously means that we are going to need to see marked improvements with off-speed command in order for Bedell to move up the list. I know that I believe in both his changeup and his curve when he is dealing and dating all of the way back to his time at Mizzou, and I'm clearly banking that he'll rediscover the feel for both of those pitches. You'll notice in the gifs within this post that his curveball is a difference making pitch against both lefties and righties when he's feeling it. Bedell is a pitcher that throws his entire arsenal, which means that it's important that he's feeling his entire arsenal for him to be as good as he's capable of being. Thus, it's all about feel for Bedell. When he's "feeling it", all four of his pitches have the potential to be above-average pitches.
Actually, you know what? BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. I'm not really saying anything, am I? Read all that junk, but it just comes down to health for Bedell. He's smart and savvy, and he won't be too far off from the Majors if he's healthy. It's just that simple, and it's something that we are just going to have to wait and see how it works out. I can't wait to see what kind of offseason Bedell has had.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis