Cards call up Winn, team's top prospect with cannon arm

August 18th, 2023

ST. LOUIS -- On the heels of hitting a mammoth 412-foot home run and crafting another three-hit night on Thursday, shortstop Masyn Winn -- the Cardinals' top-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- is heading to the big leagues.

St. Louis announced the promotion of the 5-foot-11, 180-pound shortstop late Thursday night following a 4-2 loss to the Mets. Lars Nootbaar, who fouled a bouncing pitch off his groin on Wednesday, was placed on the 10-day injured list, clearing space on the roster for Winn.

Winn, 21, got the callup after hitting .288 with 18 home runs, 61 RBIs and 17 stolen bases this season with Triple-A Memphis.

“He’s one of the most exciting players I’ve seen in a while, and I am thrilled that he is coming up, and we’ll get a chance to see it up here,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said Thursday night. “This is an electric player, for sure.”

The No. 32-ranked prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, Winn joins Jordan Walker and Alec Burleson as young Cardinals to emerge from the 2020 MLB Draft class. Winn had three hits in Memphis’ 6-2 win vs. Norfolk on Thursday, including the 412-foot home run for his 18th long ball of the season.

Walker, who was previously the Cardinals' top-ranked prospect before graduating to the big leagues, said he knew it was just a matter of time before Winn’s talent took over and he played well enough this season to impress the Cardinals brass.

“He’s been going off down there [with Triple-A Memphis], and he’s been feeling really great lately, so it’s great to see him doing so well,” Walker said. “We’ve been through so many ups and downs together, and seeing him do his thing now in Triple-A is so special to me. I’m excited to start playing with him again, for sure.”

Marmol talked to Winn on Thursday night not long after the Cardinals informed him that he was being promoted to the big leagues. Marmol was impressed with the response that he got from the excitable shortstop.

“He’s ready to come up, and he’s ready to win -- that’s how I would describe it,” Marmol said. “Our organization has done a nice job of developing all these young guys into winning players. We’re continuing to see [Jordan] Walker taking steps in the right direction, and now we’re going to see Masyn join him. You think about [Lars Nootbaar] and [Brendan] Donovan, and we’ve got some talented young guys here who are going to be around for a long time and a big part of a winning culture.”

With many of their players off competing in the World Baseball Classic in March, the Cardinals got an extended look at Winn throughout Spring Training. Already aware that he had a strong throwing arm and plus defensive abilities, St. Louis was impressed with his advanced maturity at the plate and his ability to drive the baseball for extra-base hits and homers. It was part of a complete package that Marmol couldn’t wait to work with at the big league level.

“He ran the bases well, he put together some really impressive at-bats and he played some great defense,” Marmol recalled. “He deserved every bit of this callup, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch him play at this level.”

Walker, 21, said he will be more than happy to help Winn make the transition from Triple A to the big leagues because of the close bond the two have forged through the years.

“He’s pretty much my brother -- about as close as we can be without being blood-related,” Walker said of Winn, who he roomed with last year while the two of them played at Double-A Springfield. “He’s always been so supportive of me. When I told him the news [that Walker had made the Cardinals' Opening Day roster back in March], he was super excited for me. It’s always cool to have somebody like that on your side.

“Masyn has every tool imaginable, so he’s going to do great up here.”