SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Even with the St. Louis Cardinals closing in on a fourth straight postseason berth, it’s never too early to look ahead to the future of the franchise. The team’s top prospect could be knocking on the door soon after the 2022 MLB season.

Jordan Walker, ranked the sixth-best prospect in baseball per MLB pipeline, just wrapped up an impressive 2022 campaign for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. The 2020 first-round draft pick enjoyed a .306 batting average, 68 RBI and a team-leading 100 runs scored in his first full minor league season, representing the Cardinals in the MLB All-Star Break’s Futures Game in July.

More notably, Walker nearly reached the 20/20 club in his first full minor league season, a metric representing a rare combination of power and speed across baseball. Walker finished the season with 19 home runs and 22 stolen bases, slugging one home run in Springfield’s season finale Sunday to keep the chase alive through the affiliate’s season finale.

While patrolling the hot corner, Walker picked up a pair of multi-home run games and multi-stolen base games to move within striking distance of the milestone. Had he accomplished the feat, it would have been the first 20/20 member in Springfield history.

“He’s a great kid to work with, very down to earth, very humble,” said Springfield Cardinals manager Jose Leger earlier in the season on Walker. “A great talented young man.”

Following Springfield’s season finale Sunday, Walker will not play for any other minor league affiliates in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system this year. However, he is preparing to represent the Cardinals in the Arizona Fall League, a six-week showcase for prospects to tune up their skills before the offseason. Walker is MLB Pipeline’s highest-rated prospect planning to participate in the Arizona Fall League.

“At the end of the day I’m still trying to get to the major leagues, and that’s my goal,” Walker told Springfield media members earlier this year. “I’m not there yet, so I still have work to do.”

Walker’s clearest path to the big leagues will likely depend on how quickly he could learn positions outside his primary third base spot. The Cardinals have defensive phenom Nolan Arenado on contract through 2027, so Walker might see more opportunities as an outfielder or designated hitter when the Cardinals give him a MLB call.

With a several pending free agents at the big-league level and soon-to-retire hitter Albert Pujols, there’s a chance Walker could be mashing home runs and stealing bases in St. Louis by 2023.