This season didn’t go like most seasons. The Cardinals were terrible. I stopped writing here very much, with nothing after the blog anniversary. However, some things must go on and that includes the Exit Interview series! Now in its 12th year, it’s our look back at each player that made an appearance in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals. We’re approaching it a little different this season, a little more literary and a little less statistical, but hopefully you enjoy it just the same. As always, I am grateful that cardinalsgifs has agreed to use his talent for the header image!
Player: Masyn Winn
Stats: 37 G, 137 PA, 8 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB, 1 CS, .172/.230/.467, -0.6 bWAR
Statcast: 2.0% barrel, 26.7% sweet spot, 103.9 max exit velocity, .211 wOBA, .252 xwOBA, 19.0% K, 7.3% BB
If Jordan Walker is going to bring the power to the next great Cardinals team, Winn is going to bring the panache. There was truly no path for Winn to make the roster coming out of spring training, not with Tommy Edman and Paul DeJong manning the shortstop spot. Yet with Edman at the World Baseball Classic and DeJong missing a lot of time hurt, Winn stepped up and proved that the majors weren’t completely out of his grasp. He was turning incredible double plays while hitting .333 in 54 at bats.
Instead of going to Springfield, where he was probably ticketed to start 2023, Winn went straight to Memphis. Given that I didn’t have access to Cardinals games but did to Redbird outings, I probably saw more of Winn than any other player last season. It was to the point that I was a little disappointed when he was called up because I wouldn’t be able to see him anymore. Winn scuffled a bit when he started out at AAA, which wasn’t surprising given that he was five years younger than the average player, but when it clicked, boy did it click.
He torched the league in July, slashing .359/.427/.750 with eight home runs. Almost every night he was making a great play or getting a key hit. It wasn’t just a month-long hot streak either. August saw him go .325/.391/.550. By any measure you want to use, he earned his promotion. Whether it would have come if the team was contending or if Edman was actually playing short instead of center field is left for the field of conjecture, of course. Nevertheless, Winn came up and while he didn’t necessarily replicate the success of his recent Memphis run, he also has a history of taking a little time to get adjusted to a level. He didn’t look overmatched, though, and played defense with some flair. Plus he’ll never forget his first major league hit, especially thanks to Pete Alonso.
Overall, Walker might have been the most talented player to make his debut but Winn was arguably the most exciting. Having that partnership together all year is going to bring a lot of fun to St. Louis.
What’s in store for 2024: The Cardinals made sure that Winn stayed eligible for the 2024 Rookie of the Year award by limiting his at-bats and time on the roster. Like Walker, he’ll go into the season as one of the favorites, especially since he should be starting at shortstop all year. If he adjusts to the big leagues like he did to Memphis, next October he’ll have a fancy award for his mantle.