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2023 D50: The Olds And The Used Parts

PROSPECT PREAMBLE

Each D50 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.

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. 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 that's linked to below!! Shoutout to Blake Newberry (@BT_Newberry) and Mr. Brian Walton (@B_Walton) for their work on their list over at The Cardinal Nation, too.


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 of what every player on the list has worked on or has been doing this offseason. 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.


LET'S GET TO IT


Look, I am aware that I lack what my father would call "tact" and that it's probably not fair to categorize players between the ages of 24 and 33 as "old". However, because of the Rule 5 draft and some Minor League signings and deals, the Cardinals have a group of players that I do not exactly know what to do with. They are neither prospects nor veterans, but they all deserve some attention. That's where some of the "used parts" come in.


And, honestly, I just wanted a little time away from The Dirty50-proper or The Dirty50 annexes to highlight Logan Sawyer and Wilking Rodriguez. The other guys are fine, too. I will not be discussing Oscar Mercado, Taylor Motter, or Andrew Suárez because none of them have rookie eligibility.


They are listed in a specific order based on how you should be paying attention to them. I leGit almost titled this post "The Put Away Wets".



RHRP Wilking Rodríguez

Age 33 (In March)

Selected in the 2022-23 Rule 5 Draft

Listed at 6'1", 180 (He's heftier than 180)


Quick aside: How lucky are we that Baseball Reference exists?!?! VERY lucky, that's how lucky we are.


This motherfucker has "king" right there, already in his name. Emotionally, I really need this Rule 5 draft pick to work out for the Cardinals.


Ideally for the Cardinals, Rodríguez would slide somewhat into the role that Jose Garcia performed during the 2021 season, but with a different arsenal and plan of attack. If all goes well for him and his command-and-power profile that he demonstrated in the lesser-talented Mexican League, then Rodríguez should adapt to that role with relative ease. My guess would be that it'll come down to how consistent he is at repeating his delivery and motions.


For a right-handed bullpen arm, Rodríguez brings an ideal profile. Four-seamer in the upper 90's? CHECK. A couple of interesting breaking pitches built on the back of both a cutter and a somewhat loopy curveball that've come a long way? CHECK. A changeup that *might* be a viable pitch moving forward with more refining? CHECK. ENERGY LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER? CHECK.


When the Cardinals selected Wilking in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft, I knew nothing about him. When I went on the journey of discovery I was blown away by the energy and excitement that he took the mound with. This guy is borderline crazy on the mound, and I personally love the fit for the Cardinals. I just really love the entire package that Wilking Rodríguez potentially brings to the table and I hope that it works out perfectly for both him and the Cardinals.




RHRP Logan Sawyer

Age 30

Signed as a Minor League Free Agent for the 2023 season

Listed at 6'4, 215




Logan Sawyer is the wild card of wild cards. The 30-year-old has been all over the world trying to find the best opportunity for himself, and he's picked up some tricks and tools along the way. Our good friends Jason Hill and Blake Newberry talked to Sawyer (or, rather, Sawyer talked at them) on THIS PODCAST for Viva El Birdos that you should definitely listen to. Get to know Sawyer, because every muscle in my body is telling me that he's going to make an impact with the Major League club at some point during the 2023 season.


As you'll learn when you listen to the podcast, at this point in his baseball journey Sawyer is mostly a fastball/split-finger/changeup righty that is capable of getting into the high 90's and touching 100 with his fastball. His split-finger in particular has some funky-ass movement on it and I hope that the Cardinals don't decide to fuck with it. It's my understanding that the Fastball, split, and change all work incredibly well together, as well.



Sawyer gained the attention that put him on the Cardinals' radar via a retweet from the esteemed Pitching Ninja (one of the all-time best baseball follows and a truly class act that you should be following but you already are, I'm sure). Even if Sawyer didn't have an entire story behind his journey as a pitcher, this would be cool enough as is. Again, this is another victory for the Cardinals' front office and scouting staff as they continue to mine every possible avenue available to them for talent.


From the Rockies system to Eric Cressey assistant to Australian baseball to Frontier League baseball to HVAC expert to Cardinals farm hand, Logan Sawyer could end up being the personnel story of the year for the St. Louis Cardinals. Sawyer goes about it a different way than John Brebbia, but here's to hoping that this young man with a personality that comes off as a chattier version of Adam Wainwright (lol) can have a similar impact in the Cardinals' bullpen as a healthy John Brebbia once had.




Infielder José Fermín

Turns 24 in March

Acquire via trade with Cleveland in 2022

Listed at 5'11, 200. Bats R/Throws R




One thing that the Cardinals 40-man roster is lacking is infield depth, and after Tommy Edman and Paul DeJong the next name at shortstop will probably be that of José Fermín even though he doesn't have a lot of time there in recent years. Because of this, I feel confident that we will see Fermín in the Majors at some point during the 2023 season. Of course, he could also end up being a 40-man roster casualty if the Cardinals added a player or two to the 40-man, but that's getting ahead of ourselves.


The stats show us a light-hitting middle infielder and the scouting reports back that up. There was a time when José Fermín was a somewhat highly thought of prospect in the Guardians' system, but that seemed to fizzle out hard after the lost 2020 MiLB season. In my research (and in the videos in this little capsule), you'll see in his swing that there are reasons to think that there might be more to Fermín's bat and approach than what we've seen before. When you just search him, there are some pretty loud shots off of his bat.


I've watched some of the games that are available to me on MiLB TV, and it's clear that Fermín knows how to handle multiple spots on the infield. While Fermín hasn't played much at short since 2019, the positive scouting reports from back then are backed up by what I watched out of him at both second and third during the 2022 season.

If Fermín can get into that pop more frequently while showing the skills that he possessed at short back in 2019, then he'll be more than just the throw away roster spot that I'm painting him as. I know that people who follow the Guardians' system think the world of Fermín's potential, and that speaks volumes.




LHRP Kenny Hernandez

Age 24 (June Birthday)

Selected in the MiLB phase of the 2022-23 Rule 5 Draft

Listed at 6'1, 197





The only thing in this world that I feel like I know for sure is that any older left-handed reliever is going to get a fair shake within the Cardinals' organization.


I honestly don't know a lot about Kenny Hernandez other that he has struggled a lot at the upper levels of the minors and that he's left-handed. I know from doing some searching here and there that he appears to have a very effective sweeping slider that makes lefties looks stupid pretty frequently. Really, the entire deal with Hernandez is that he's tough against lefties.


There isn't really anything fancy about what Hernandez does on the mound, with his low-90's fastball and his changeup to compliment his slider. What he does very well with his arsenal is keep the ball on the ground and throw an above average amount of strikes, and we know that the Cardinals love pitchers that keep the ball on the ground and throw an above average amount of strikes.

Sometimes Hernandez's body will get out of whack from a balance standpoint upon landing and that's usually when his command is shit and he ends up getting crushed. Hernandez has struggled mightily against righties and that's because of how relatively pedestrian his stuff is against them. He'll almost certainly need to add something to his repertoire to suppress the slugging potential of right-handers if he's going to be a viable ML option for the Cardinals.


I say that, but nothing makes sense about left-handed relievers and how they're successful, so I'll probably come to regret that last sentence.




Infielder Juniel Querecuto

Age 30

Signed as a Minor League free agent in November

Listed at 5'9, 195. Bats S/Throws R





The only reason that I'm talking about Querecuto is that his age and his position versatility make him the type of player that a team can call up in case of an emergency then quickly dispatch off of the 40-man and not have to worry about it damaging the organization if someone else decides to pick him up.


This is a VERY under-appreciated role for a player within an organization. Of course, this also informed me that I probably needed to do my home work on him more than I otherwise would have liked to. I'm not even shitting you a little bit when I say that it's dizzying to look at his stats. Any of his stats, but SPECIFICALLY his defensive stats. This motherfucker can play ANYWHERE on the diamond. He's mostly played the infield, but he can also play the outfield.


When I began to put the work in with Querecuto, the first clip that I saw of him was the video below in which he stole home. I was VERY curious if this was an isolated incident, or if taking an extra bag here and there was a part of his profile. I am please to report that, upon more research, this is certainly a part of his profile.


Querecuto plays the game with a ton of energy and smarts, and he's relatively mistake-free for being as energetic and aggressive as he's capable of being. The stats suggest that Querecuto is a more complete and dangerous hitter from the right side than he is the left, and my very modest observation when going back and watching MiLB TV backed this up. Regardless of which side he's hitting from, all of the damage that I witnessed happening came against pitches in the lower half of the zone.


While I will gladly tell you that I really don't care about Juniel Querecuto at all, what I mean is that he is a fun little depth addition that allows the Cardinals some security and stability at the upper levels. Candidly, upon studying and researching Juniel, I've become a bigger fan than I anticipated being. I look forward to his eventual addition to the 40-man instead of Masyn Winn that will surely send Cardinals' Nation into a stupor regardless of how much sense it makes at some point during the 2023 season.




To end this post, 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:

THE CARDINAL NATION (Subscribe to the damn site, dummies)


Thanks For Reading!!



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