Cardinals Rumors: A pitcher to claim, Paul Goldschmidt trade talk, protect this prospect

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cardinals rumors, Tink Hence
St. Louis Cardinals No. 3-ranked prospect and Peoria Chiefs right-handed pitcher Tink Hence wears his heart on his sleeve for baseball, and a tattoo reminder on his leg of his journey toward the major leagues. /

Cardinals Rumors: Tink Hence is a prospect to protect

Tink Hence is rising up prospect charts and for good reason. At just 20 years old, Hence essentially has a full arsenal of pitches at his disposal and has caught the eye of rival scouts:

“He’s 20 years old and throws four pitches, all of which are average or above, and he’s a strike-thrower with command. I saw him in the past when he first signed as a second-rounder in 2020, and he was interesting then. Now, he looks like he’s got a chance to be on the fast track,” one scout told The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan.

Hence’s fastball velocity sits around 94-98 MPH, and he offers up three breaking pitches, including a wicked changeup and curveball. If he continues to progress, he could be the Cardinals ace of the future, and boy do they need one.

As enticing as some of the top pitchers may be around the trade deadline, Hence should remain off limits, as should Jordan Walker, of course. Hence is expected to rise in the next MLB Pipeline prospect rankings, as he’s already a top-65 prospect in the majors. He’s on the fast track to making the big leagues, and could very well find himself in St. Louis by 2025, if all goes right.

With Shane Bieber and Aaron Nola mentioned as potential trade candidates this summer, it’ll be tough to keep Hence out of those conversations. If the Cards can avoid it, they should.