Cardinals’ Masyn Winn Primed For A Huge Year

With his back to home plate and his hat tumbling toward his feet, shortstop Masyn Winn ranged into center field to make a basket catch against the Yankees that saved a run and kept a spring game scoreless for the visiting Cardinals.

“He tries to be flashy,” teammate, friend, and fellow prospect Jordan Walker grinned. “It was a great catch. Don’t tell him that.”

In the opening weeks of spring training, a trio of young players, all drafted out of high school in 2020 and all first-timers in big league camp, were three of the most impactful players.

Walker, drafted 21st overall, showed a jolt from the plate and athleticism in the outfield. Supplemental second-round righthander Tink Hence dazzled with his breaking ball and electric velocity from his spring-loaded mechanics.

And then there’s second-rounder Winn, who readily claims that he is his friends’ “hype man” and joked that they need to create a “sixth tool” to describe Walker.

Drafted as a two-way player, Winn blossomed at the plate last season by hitting .283/.364/.468 with 12 home runs and 43 stolen bases in 119 games, mostly for Double-A Springfield.

He had hits in seven of his first 18 spring at-bats and had drilled a 435-foot homer. Gifted with a truly elite arm at shortstop, Winn has steadied his play in the field. To get a speedy runner by a step, he made a sliding stop and threw 99.9 mph across the diamond this spring.

“His personality lends itself well to this game,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “You need a lot of confidence and a little bit of ‘I don’t care what people think’ in that mix. He has both.”

A return to Double-A is possible for the 21-year-old Winn—though spring training has already rewritten the Cardinals’ depth chart at shortstop. Winn is moving up, and fast.

Don’t tell him that.

It’s really just for me a learning experience,” Winn said. “I’m trying to go out there and compete and play well. I think this is going to be huge for me this year.”


— Top prospect Walker launched his bid to be in the big league Opening Day lineup with a breakout 4-for-4 game early in spring that included two home runs, one of which traveled 460 feet. At the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Walker hit two homers, a single and a double to become the first Cardinals player with two homers in a spring game since Dexter Fowler (2019) and first with four hits since Paul Goldschmidt (2022).

— Righthander Freddy Pacheco experienced soreness in his right elbow, delaying his appearance in spring training and possibly delaying his start to the regular season. Early reviews of the elbow did not show any structural issue, but the team is taking a cautious approach. Pacheco recorded a 3.50 ERA in 50 relief appearances in 2022, and his 84 strikeouts in 62 innings put him on the 40-man roster with a chance to contribute at some point in 2023.

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