St. Louis Cardinals Top MiLB Tools

O'Neill, Mike

With the minor league season officially wrapped up, it’s time to look back at the each organization’s top tools. Note: only everyday players with 250+ plate appearances, starting pitchers with 80+ innings, and relievers with 40+ innings were considered. For more Top MiLB Tools click here.

St. Louis Cardinals Top Prospects for 2013



Hit Tool: Oscar Taveras, CF

Power: Oscar Taveras, CF

Eye: Mike O’Neill, OF

Base Stealer: Kolten Wong, 2B

K-Ability: Mariano Llorens, RHP

Control: Tom Cooney, LHP

[/pullquote] Best Hit Tool: Overlooked because he missed so much time due to a nagging injury this season, Oscar Taveras remains one of the top offensive prospects in the game. Taveras owns a career .320/.377/.518 triple-slash line, despite spending the majority of his career playing against significantly older competition.

Best Power: After slugging 67 extra-base hits as a 20-year-old in Double-A in 2012, Oscar Taveras managed to hit 12 doubles and five homeruns in his injury-shortened season in Triple-A. Taveras has 30- to 35-homerun potential.

Best Plate Discipline: Mike O’Neill owns one of the best strikeout-to-walk – 99-to-222 – rates since his debut in pro ball in 2010. O’Neill, a late round pick out of USC, owns a career .435 on-base percentage and a career walk rate of 15.7%.

Best Base Stealer: Not blazing fast but incredibly efficient on the base paths, Kolten Wong was successful on 95.2% of his attempts last season, grabbing 20 bags in 21 attempts.

Best Ability to Miss Bats: Reliever Mariano Llorens, a smallish right-hander from Miami Dade South Community College, has fanned an incredible 133 of the 337 (39.5%) batters he’s faced through his career. His control/command remains a work in progress, but Llorens could be poised to move quickly.

Best Control: Almost guaranteed to make his big league debut at some point next season, former Wake Forest lefty Tim Cooney, who averaged nearly a punch out per inning, issued just 22 free passes in 154.1 innings. 


Photo of Mike O’Neill Courtesy of



After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: