ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Cardinals announced catcher Ivan Herrera and pitcher Max Rajcic have been named the team's Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Season Friday.
Rajcic was the Cardinals sixth-round draft pick in the 2022 MLB Draft out of UCLA. Rajcic finished his first season in minor-league ball with unmitigated success, pitching an excellent 2.48 ERA and striking out 123 batters across a combined 123.1 innings across both Palm Beach and Peoria this season. Rajcic is currently ranked as the team's 18th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, though it could stand to see that Rajcic will likely move up the team's Top 30 rankings next season and potentially into the Top 10.
Herrera is a name many Cardinals fans will know, with his name being featured in Top 100 rankings over the years. Herrera had another terrific season in the minors, hitting a .297/.451/.500 slash line over 83 games in Triple-A Memphis in 2023, with his .951 OPS being a significant improvement over 2022, when it was .770 OPS.
Herrera's season earned him a second callup to the MLB this year, an while he only played 13 games in the majors this season, his .297/.409/.351 slash line was an improvement over his 2022 debut in the majors, with his .761 OPS representing improvement over the .302 OPS during his initial 11-game debut in 2022.
With the Cardinals adding Pedro Pages to the 40-man roster this week, the Cardinals currently have 4 catchers on the 40-man. With the tender deadline set for Friday at 7 p.m., it stands to reason that catcher Andrew Knizner might be a non-tender candidate, paving a path where Herrera enters the 2024 season as the leading candidate to serve as the second catcher next year.