ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals turn to the future, calling up dynamic prospect Masyn Winn with just weeks remaining in the 2023 season.
Winn earns his promotion ahead of Friday’s game against the New York Mets. The Cardinals officially announced his call-up late Thursday evening.
The 21-year-old Winn will make his much-anticipated MLB debut on Friday, batting ninth, starting at shortstop and sporting jersey No. 0. He expects around 15 family members and close friends will watch his first game at Busch Stadium.
“I feel pretty good right now, pretty relaxed, but I’m sure that will change when the game starts,” said Winn ahead of his big-league debut Friday. “Just overwhelmed with emotions.”
A shortstop by trait, Winn was widely regarded as the top prospect in the Cardinals farm system after Jordan Walker entering the year. He has spent the entire 2023 season at Triple-A Memphis working to polish all aspects of his game, and his 128 hits are among the Top 10 for anyone at one specific minor league level this season, per MILBTracker.com.
After turning in a three-hit performance on Thursday, Winn was called to the office of Memphis manager Ben Johnson for a surprise announcement.
“It didn’t really hit me then, but we walked back to the clubhouse, and when he announced it to everybody, everybody went crazy,” said Winn upon learning of his big-league promotion. “That’s when I started tearing up a little bit, with all of those guys celebrating.”
Winn has not only climbed the ranks of the Cardinals farm system through his hitting, but flashy speed, stout defense and rocket arm. He clocked 100 mph with a throw to first base in last year’s All Star Futures Game, one of the fastest tracked infield throws ever through MLB Statcast.
The timing behind Winn’s promotion is certainly intriguing. On one hand, the Memphis Redbirds still have playoff hopes in the International League, which could offer valuable experience and regular everyday at-bats for Winn. On another hand, the Cardinals will not be pushing for postseason this year and could ease Winn into the MLB scene with lower-leverage opportunities.
John Mozeliak, Cardinals President of Baseball Operations, first hinted around the trade deadline that Winn could earn his MLB call later in the 2023 season, though he was hesitant to offer a timetable for it. “You’re trying to balance where Masyn is and his development stages,” Mozeliak said via Bally Sports Midwest earlier this month.
Winn has developed a close bond with Cardinals rookie and fellow 2020 draftee Jordan Walker in recent years, representing a new wave of homegrown talent.
“He always has my back, and I always have his,” said Walker via Bally Sports Midwest. He said Winn was cheering on a bus when he learned Walker would make the big leagues out of spring training, adding, “When he gets his call, I’m going to have the exact same reaction.”
Winn produced a .288/.359/.474 slashline in 105 games this season with Memphis, earning Cardinals minor league player of the month honors in July behind a .359 batting average. He was just two home runs and three stolen bases shy of a rare 20-20 minors campaign.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, Winn was also drafted out of high school with hopes he might be able to hit and pitch. He earned some pitching opportunities with Single-A Peoria in 2021, but shifted his focus primarily to hitting over the last few years.
In a spring training interview with FOX 2, Winn reflected on his baseball experience and noted Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith was one of his baseball idols. He’s spent countless hours watching Ozzie highlight videos and occasionally working with him to model his game.
The Cardinals have 40 games left on their 2023 schedule. With Winn’s callup deep into this season, the shortstop should be able to retain rookie eligibility requirements and contract status heading into the 2024 season, so long as he doesn’t exceed 45 days with the team or 130 at-bats.
In a corresponding move to Winn’s promotion, the Cardinals placed Lars Nootbaar on the 10-day injured list after Thursday’s game.