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Quinn Matthews: Baseball's Next Great Lefty

For baseball fans like myself and those who are reading this article, the name “Quinn Matthews” likely rings a bell. He’s the kid who threw a 156-pitch complete game in the Stanford Super Regional against Texas last year, in which he racked up 16 strikeouts while only giving up eight hits and achieving one win.

This performance led the St. Louis Cardinals to pick Matthews in the fourth round of the MLB Draft. He didn’t pitch at all in the 2023 minor league season, but coming into the Cardinals system, he had a legit four-pitch mix of a fastball that sits 91-94, a low 80s changeup, a curve in the low 70s, and a filthy tight slider. This made him the 20th-best prospect in the St. Louis farm system and the third-best left-handed pitcher.

Many scouts projected Quinn to be a back-end starter once hitting the MLB. Still, after nine professional starts between low A Palm Beach and high A Peoria, he has exceeded expectations, which has put some eyes on the southpaw.

In six starts with Palm Beach, he went 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA, striking out 52 batters in 30.2 innings pitched, with batters only hitting .133 against him and a whip at 0.82. This led to a promotion to high A, which, so far, in three starts, he’s 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in a mere 19 innings pitched. Batters are still only hitting .152 against him with a whip at 0.68. He’s already struck out 24 batters and only walked three (compared to 11 in low A).

This brings his overall ERA to 1.99 with a whip at 0.77, and batters are hitting 1.40.

In his first start in High A against West Michigan (an affiliate of the Tigers), he went seven strong, giving up three hits, walking one, and striking out 11. What’s so impressive about his game is the number of whiffs he gets against batters, mixing his fastball with his off-speeds to a science.

Another quirk that has upped his game into being the farm system's highest riser so far this season is the average velocity on his four-seam fastball. It averaged around 91-92 in college, topping out at 94. His velocity averages 95 MPH this year, topping out at 97 MPH.

Suppose he can constantly have his FB sit at 96 while landing his three secondary pitches (which lead to many ground balls, which the Cardinals organization loves). In that case, he will be a top-10 prospect in the organization by the end of the season while pitching in Double-A Springfield or Triple-A Memphis by the end of the year. His quick start has already caught the eyes of the MLB. Today, he’s ranked 98th in Baseball America's top 100 and third in the Cardinals organization.

And to think he almost missed his first High A start due to a wall pad falling inches away from where he was throwing his weighted balls. But minus that, the Cardinals have themselves a special southpaw who will eventually find his way to the big leagues.

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