Masyn Winn is coming. At age 21 the top Cardinals’ prospect has big-league talent and a big-stage personality. Winn’s advance buildup makes him a star even before he makes his official debut for the Cardinals.

Winn is a significant part of the franchise’s future. And after the sensational shortstop got the call late Thursday night, the future accelerated on I-55, a 280-mile journey that took him from Memphis to St. Louis on the interstate of dreams.

What does Winn have for the Cardinals and their fans? He brings abundant talent, a spirited attitude, and a commitment to the hard work that will make him the best version of himself. He carries a munitions-loaded right arm, lightning-flash speed, an ascendant bat and dynamic presence that will brighten the gloomy semidarkness of STL’s lost 2023 season.

Winn’s reputation precedes him. The Cardinals loved everything about him in spring training and will love him in the majors. His graduation will put a collective smile in the Cards clubhouse.

As Memphis manager Ben Johnson told the respected St. Louis baseball writer Rob Rains: “He’s a hard worker, he wants it badly and he’s got a lot of talent but he also can help provide energy for the ballclub. He’s a vocal leader out there. He likes to direct traffic. You know he has tools. You know there’s a high ceiling there but he’s a leader too. That’s pretty cool for me to see. He’s always the first one to the field every day; he’s the first one in the cage. He loves the work and asks for extra work. He’s a really good young man.”

Here is a collection of thoughts, facts, and meaningful meanderings. I’ll finish that off with excerpts from prospect pundits and how they view Winn as he joins the Cardinals …

1. Winn will play a lot at shortstop. (Duh.) The Cardinals didn’t bring him to the bigs to sit and watch. But at Memphis, Winn played 26 games at second base. Given the injuries to Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan, Winn is could spend some time there. His added versatility is a plus, and manager Oli Marmol can take advantage of that. However: on Friday afternoon Marmol told reporters that Winn will be used, exclusively at shortstop for the remainder of the season. Tommy Edman will return to the “rover” role and play all over the yard. He’s in center field for Friday’s game.

2. To preserve Winn’s MLB rookie eligibility for 2024, the Cardinals must limit Winn to 130 at-bats. So don’t have a fit when Winn is seated on the bench for some games. Both sides have something at stake by protecting Winn’s rookie status for 2024. If Winn wins the ‘24 NL Rookie of the Year award, the Cardinals would be given an extra draft pick, slotted after the first round and before round two. And if Winn finishes first or second in the Rookie of the Year balloting, he becomes eligible to enter free agency a year sooner.

3. Don’t worry about how this will impact Tommy Edman. All of this will be sorted out in time; the Cardinals have no choice. Winn only adds to the team’s middle-infield logjam, but he’ll be a priority player for the remainder of 2023 and into 2024. The tentative middle-infield cast for 2024 includes Winn, Gorman, Edman, Donovan and perhaps recently acquired prospects Cesar Prieto (currently in Triple A) and Thomas Saggese (now in Double A.) We can expect the Cardinals to reduce the volume via trade in the coming offseason.

4. What should we expect from Winn offensively? I’ve mentioned this a few times in recent weeks, and it’s timely to do it again. Winn was much better vs. lefty pitching at Triple A … and not nearly as hot vs. righthanders.

* In 134 plate appearances vs. lefties, he batted .353, slugged .639, had a 1.064 OPS and homered every 13.2 at-bats.

* In 364 plate appearances vs. righties, Winn batted .264 with a .414 slug and .749 OPS and homered every 36.2 at-bats.

* This matters for a simple reason: since the start of the 2021 season the Cardinals have taken 77.8 percent of their plate appearances against right-handed pitchers. And in 2023, 75.8% of their PA have come against righties.

I’m not declaring that Winn will be overmatched by right-handed pitchers – but obviously this will be a more demanding challenge for him in the majors. He won’t see many lefties. Eric Longenhagen (FanGraphs) noted Winn’s struggles earlier in the season with high fastballs clocked at 94 mph or higher.

5. Winn started slowly at Triple A but his all-around improvement offensively was outstanding. Here’s the breakdown:

First three months: 73 games, 349 plate appearances, .262 average, .335 OBP, .383 slug and 719 OPS. He homered every 39 at-bats.

July-August: 32 games, 149 plate appearances, .349 average, .416 OBP, .689 slug and 1.106 OPS. And he homered every 13.2 at-bats. Over the last two months for Memphis his strikeout rate dropped by two percent (to 15.4%) and his walk rate (9.4%) more than doubled from his standard over the first three months.

6. Winn’s close friendship with fellow St. Louis rookie Jordan Walker will be valuable to both young men. As roommates at Double A Springfield in 2022, Winn and Walker were like family; they became brothers in baseball. The challenges that go with breaking into the majors can be fast and furious and leave your head spinning. They are both 21, with Winn being only two months older than Walker. Winn can turn to Walker for advice on how to deal with the early slumps and difficulties. Walker can lean on Winn for practical and emotional support. They can go through this experience together – the good times, the hard times, and all of the stuff that’s in between.

7. Winn will increase the team’s speed on the bases and can turn up the stolen-base threat. This season he swiped 17 bases in 19 attempts (89.4%). In 2022 – at High A, Double A and the Arizona Fall League – Winn had 52 steals in 58 attempts for a 89.6% success rate. He didn’t go for steals as much at Memphis this season; I’m pretty certain the Cardinals wanted to decrease the chance of injury. Which makes sense. However … In a lot of games Winn batted in front of slugger Luken Baker, who leads all of minor-league baseball with 34 homers. Why run when Baker can drive you in from first base on a big fly?

8. My Memphis-based friend Frank Murtaugh – the managing editor of Memphis Magazine for the last 28 years – profiled Winn earlier this year for the Memphis Flyer. I wanted to pass along a couple of things.

Legendary Cardinals coach/instructor Jose Oquendo was (and is) a tremendous influence on Winn. The young shortstop reduced his error rate after Oquendo advised him to be more selective about displaying that 100 mph arm. It’s pretty cool that Winn was promoted on the same weekend Oquendo is being inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

“Defensively, Jose Oquendo may be the best in the world,” Winn told Murtaugh. “He told me that I don’t have to show off my arm with every throw. I can go 80 or 85 percent and still make the play, then dial it up when I need to. Shortening up my motion and throwing like a shortstop [as opposed to a pitcher’s motion].”

Winn got over his cold start at the plate this season by focusing on making better, more consistent contact.

“I started off the year striking out a lot, so I’m trying to hit more balls on the barrel [of the bat],” Winn told Murtaugh. “It’s an approach thing. We’ve got sluggers like Jordan Walker, Luken Baker, and Moises Gomez. I’ll let them hit the bombs. I need to be more direct to the ball, get my singles, steal, get a double. Know my game.”

Winn has definitely increased his contact rate; since the All-Star break he has an 86% contact rate on all pitches – and a 95% contact rate on strike-zone wings. His average exit velocity and hard-hit rate have increased as well. But Winn didn’t have to sacrifice power. His improved selection and contact skills have led to a surge in home runs. Winn is obviously a smart, self-aware young player.

9. The Cardinals did the smart thing by promoting Winn in time to give him a meaningful jump start into his major-league career. There are 42 games and 44 days left in their season. This way Winn can check into 2024 with more confidence. He’ll know what to expect – and what he needs to work on.

Arizona outfielder Corbin Carroll – the favorite to win 2023 NL Rookie of the Year – has said he benefited from getting 32 games and 102 at-bats near the end of the 2022 season. He took the positive experience forward into 2024. This season Carroll leads all MLB rookies with 4.0 WAR, is slugging .504, and is 30 percent above league average offensively.

Said Diamondbacks manager Torey Luvollo: “The fact that he’s got 100-plus at-bats, he knows his sight lines. He knows the speed of the game now. He knows what the shape of pitches look like. It may be nothing he hasn’t seen before, but it’s probably just a little bit more consistent in the zone. Him understanding that will make him that much better — rapidly, too, because he’s a really fast learner.”

10. Here’s a sampling of assessments on Winn from multiple prospect watchers.

Keith Law, The Athletic: He had Winn ranked 46th among MLB prospects before the start of the season. Winn moved up to No. 23 in Law’s updated top 60 rankings published July 21.

“Winn might have a better throwing arm than Elly De La Cruz, which should get your attention,” Law wrote. “And he’s at least a 60 defender who’ll probably end up a 70 there when he reaches the majors. He also has electric bat speed, but there were plenty of questions about his overall approach at the plate when he was the Cards’ second-round pick in 2020. That makes it all the more impressive that he’s in Triple A this year at 21 and hitting well … an elite defender at short who puts the ball in play a lot, has some doubles power, and is a 70 runner is a pretty good player. Maybe there’s some more power down the road, but even if not, he should be a regular and able to take over at short next year.”

Kiley McDaniel, ESPN: He had Winn at No. 16 among MLB prospects in his midseason rankings. “Winn is a plus runner who will comfortably stick at short and has an 80-grade cannon for an arm,” McDaniel wrote. “He’s no slouch at the plate, with plus bat-to-ball ability and 15-20 homer upside.”

Jesse Roche, Baseball Prospectus: “Few prospects have hit as well as Winn lately. Since July 4th, he has hit .364/.437/.737 with 10 home runs in 29 games. During that time, he made more hard contact (37.4% hard-hit rate and 7.7% barrel rate) and regularly flashed his sneaky pull-side pop. Winn may only possess borderline power (103.4 mph 90th percentile exit velocity), but he can get into balls, and his (18) home runs in Triple-A this year are no fluke. His size, speed, bat-to-ball ability, and power is reminiscent of players like Ha-seong Kim, Thairo Estrada, and CJ Abrams. Winn projects as a potential 15+ home run bat despite mediocre hard hit rates.” Click here for the link.

R.J. Anderson (CBS Sports) had Winn at No. 24 overall in his updated prospect list posted in early June. At that time Anderson noted Winn’s slow start and expressed concern. Keep in mind that Anderson wrote this before Winn began cranking at a high level offensively. But Anderson’s summation seems prescient. Which is why he’s one of the best in the business.

“We do think Winn will be OK in the long run. He’s young (he’s playing the entire season at age 21) and he has a track record of hitting. He also has a good foundation of physical traits: good speed, a great arm (he was a two-way prospect as an amateur), and a fast bat. Sometimes players just take a little time to adjust. The Cardinals will hope that’s the case here.”

Jeffrey Paternostro and Timothy Jackson, Baseball Prospectus: “Winn’s arm is one of the easiest ‘8’ grades I will ever give, and I’d bet on him breaking triple digits on an infield throw before the end of the season. He’s a plus-plus runner, rangy on the dirt, and a danger on the base paths. At the plate, Winn shows off above-average bat speed and good bat-to-ball skills. It’s not a high-impact contact profile, but he should knock 15 homers or so and leg out plenty of doubles and triples on hard liners in the gaps. All told I’d expect him to post something around 10% better than league-average with the stick, with the possibility of more physical development and power to come. Winn is a complete player and while he might be more of a high-floor prospect given the current state of the bat, it’s a very high floor. I’m not ready to poo-poo the ceiling yet either, given he’s only 21 and has fully focused on hitting for only the last two years.”

More from Baseball Prospectus: BP made a case for his likely success but also offered reasons as to why he could disappoint.

The plus side: “Winn is a plus defender at shortstop with one of the best infield arms in baseball. He runs well, makes a lot of contact, and has started hitting the ball harder the last couple seasons. His upper minors performance—while not overwhelming—is good enough to suggest there is enough in the bat that while Winn might be a glove-first shortstop, he won’t be glove-only.”

The potential downside: “While Winn hits the ball harder in aggregate now, only a thin sliver of his contact is 100+ mph. That suggests he may not do enough damage on contact in the majors to avoid the bottom of the lineup.”

Jesse Borek, “Only two prospects ranked inside their clubs’ Top 30 lists by MLB Pipeline have a full 80-grade arm in the field, the highest rating available on the scouting scale. One of them is shortstop Masyn Winn, and he’s bringing that cannon to St. Louis, where he will join the Major League roster Friday. But while his throwing arm is his flashiest and most impactful tool, things have clicked offensively for Winn with Triple-A Memphis this summer.

“In 22 July contests, the Cardinals’ top-ranked prospect amassed 18 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs, slashing .359/.427/.750 en route to International League Player of the Month honors. His 99 runs scored are far and away the most of any player at Triple-A and his 128 hits put him just off the pace at the top of the level. Only 21 years old, he faced older hurlers in all but two of 445 Triple-A at-bats prior to his callup.”

From our friends at FanGraphs: Dan Szymborski, the developer of the highly respected ZiPS forecast model, is way up on Winn. He listed the shortstop at No. 6 among players that had made the biggest gain in future projections.

“Coming into the season, ZiPS saw Winn like Jordan Walker – more as a long-term play than a player who would pay immediate dividends. The defensive projection at the time was rather meh given Winn’s reputation, but this year, ZiPS has him as +8 runs defensively in a half-season at Triple-A, so there’s an instant boost there in the projections. The fact that he’s been able to keep doing what he did offensively at Triple-A this year, at an extremely young age, provides a significant boost in the projections as well.”

Welcome to The Lou, Masyn Winn.

Thanks for reading …

Have a swell weekend …


Bernie hosts a weekday sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. It airs 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-6 p.m. on Friday. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at or the 590 app.

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The “Seeing Red” podcast on the Cardinals, featuring Will Leitch and B. Miklasz is available at, the 590 the fan app or your preferred podcast platform. Follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.

All stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Fielding Bible, Baseball Prospectus or Bill James Online.

Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

For the last 35 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.