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.
2B Nick Dunn
Age 90 (Age 26 season)
Drafted in the 5th Round of the 2018 Draft
5'10, 185 (I'll take the under on both)
Bats L/Throws R
There are few players in the Cardinals organization that are as annoying as Nick Dunn is. If I were the opposition, I'd want to kill him. Just straight murder him. Or, more rationally, bean him every at-bat.
That's because Nick Dunn kinda rakes? Like, he did in 2022, at least. And he's a pesky son of a bitch at the plate. "He'll use the entire field" is what you usually say about a player that uses the opposite field, but the truth is that this motherfucker uses the opposite field like it's his pull side. It's WILD. Even then, he can still pull a tough pitch on the outside corner. The gif below is a great illustration of this. This is an incredibly tough pitch for a lefty going up against a lefty to do anything with, and Dunn just stays within himself and lines it for a single.
One thing to truly love about Dunn is that he's as good against lefties as he is against righties. You can also tell that he's made the adjustments that the coaching staff has asked him to make via the teachings of the minor league hitting apparatus. It's really paid off for Dunn, who seems more explosive in his swing and motions than he has in past years. Dunn only had 107 plate appearances against lefties during the 2022 "campaign" (now who sounds smart), but he did hit 256/393/361 while striking out less than 10% of the time. Again, he's old and advanced in repeating the level, but there were few in the organization that made swing decisions as well as Dunn did during the 2022 season. And this is with a brutal April, too. I want to make a point to highlight the gif below. I mean, what an incredible piece of hitting. It's the perfect illustration of what makes Dunn a prospect, and it's something that I don't think many lefties on the farm could do against that pitch from that arm angle. If I'm being honest, this gif alone makes me wish that I had ranked him ten spots higher.
You'll notice in the above stat line that Dunn does that awesome thing that few hitters are capable of, where he walked more than he struck out during the 2022 season. He also made more contact than any other player in the Cardinals organization during the 2022 season. I want to make sure that I give him the huge amount of credit that he deserves for that before I go on a rant that pretty much minimizes all of these achievement. Way to go, Nick!!! For real, what a great 2022 season at the plate for Nick Dunn.
So, here is my issue with the contact rate and giving him the credit that he probably deserves for BB/K rate: he was 25 while repeating AA. This type of production is the exact type of production that this type of player should be having in this league with this background and this profile. Sure, maybe not to this level because both his contact rate and K/BB rate was crazy-good in 2022, but it's really not *too* far off from what you'd expect from this type of hitter to do while repeating this level at that age. I really do hate to minimize it as much as I have, but it's such important context for his season. If he does it at Triple-A next year while working defensively around the diamond we'll have a more thorough picture of who Nick Dunn really is.
Much like with prospect #49 Noah Mendlinger, Nick Dunn doesn't make much in the way of hard contact. However, it is worth mentioning that Dunn made some solid gains in this area in 2022 as compared to 2021. Again, probably to be expected when repeating this level at that age, but it's worth pointing out as an underrated positive. You'll notice in the gif below that Nick does have the ability to pull one over the fence, especially when he's looking for a heater up and in, or up and over, the middle of the zone.
The other issue with Nick Dunn is that he is basically *Just* a 2B at a time when every *real* infield prospect is either a shortstop or a utility option. Dunn has hardly moved around the diamond and he seems completely limited to second in my humble and dumb opinion, which naturally makes his path both to the Majors and higher up on my list limited. You'll notice in the gifs below that he has good range, a good arm, and some underrated speed, but he's clunkier with his motions than you'd expect for someone of his size.
We'll have to wait and see how he's used during the 2023 season, but one of the things I'll be keeping a close eye on is what his defensive acumen around the diamond is like. He's a "good" MINOR LEAGUE second baseman with a surprisingly strong arm while turning double plays specifically, but he just seems like the type of fielder that is limited when he eventually gets to moving around. We'll see. Dunn could be a real interesting utility option with a little bit of practically applied work around the field. I don't think I'm being too crazy to think that there's at least some Greg Garcia-esque upside with Dunn if he can move around defensively.
That's Nick Dunn there he is there ya go woot woot we did it.
Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis