2014 St. Louis Cardinals Top 10 Prospects

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Update: The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual finally hit e-book shelves. Check it out!!!

After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days –  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks and working through alphabetically. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Oscar Taveras, Position: CF, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AAA

186

109

.306

.341

.462

4.8%

11.8%

.156

12

0

5

5/6

Profile: Seemingly forgotten about – or at the very least greatly overlooked – Taveras battled ankle issues throughout the season before succumbing to surgery in mid-August. Despite the nagging injury, he still managed to hit .306/.341/.462 as a 21-year-old in part time action in the PCL. This, of course, comes on the heels of his extraordinary campaign in Class AA in 2012: .321/.380/.573 with a wRC+ of 159. 

Analysis: Thirty- to 35-HR power, surprisingly strong contact rates and an above-average hit tool, the only thing keeping Taveras from ascending to the ranks of superstar status is average-ish patience at the plate. The bat becomes an elite force in center, but gets downgraded to above-average in either corner. He could peak as a .300/.375/.540-type hitter.

Ceiling: 6.5- to 7.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

2. Carlos Martinez, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

11.2

2.31

3.16

6.94

0.77

18.8%

2.1%

0.77

51.4%

AAA

68.0

2.51

3.75

8.34

3.57

21.8%

9.3%

0.40

52.8%

MLB

20.1

5.31

4.07

7.08

3.54

17.6%

8.8%

0.44

51.6%

Profile: Long considered among the game’s most lively arms, Martinez became a useful backend reliever for the Cardinals down the stretch and into the playoffs. During his times in the big leagues, the Dominican-born right-hander flashed an upper 90s fastball, a hard mid to upper 80s changeup, and curveball. For his minor league career, Martinez has averaged 9.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 327.2 innings.

Analysis: Gerrit Cole-esque in the sense that both RHs have huge – huge – fastballs and front-of-the-rotation-type arsenals, but neither has missed an extraordinary amount of bats. Since the beginning of 2012, Martinez has fanned 8.02 K/9 – a nice number, but far from impressive.  Not sure if he reached his much hyped peak as a starting pitcher; he should, however, be a very good one nonetheless. That’s assuming, of course, the Cardinals don’t push him into a bullpen role.

Ceiling: 5.0- to 5.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

3. Kolten Wong, Position: 2B, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AAA

463

120

.303

.369

.466

8.9%

13.0%

.163

21

8

10

20/21

MLB

62

-1

.153

.194

.169

4.8%

19.4%

.017

0

0

0

3/3

Profile: Wong had his best season since debuting in low Class A in 2011, the year the club took him in the middle of the first round. Wong topped the PCL offensive average by 20% while batting .303/.369/.466 with 39 extra-base hits. He did, however, flop during his big league debut.

Analysis: A very safe prospect. High floor/low ceiling. Reminds me of a Adam Kennedy-type guy, very solid, well-rounded player without a noticeable flaw or standout tool. Wong should peak as a .300/.345/.430 guy, with 20 doubles, a handful of triples, 10 homeruns, and 20 SB.

Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average to Inevitable

 

4. Stephen Piscotty, Position: RF, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

264

134

.292

.348

.477

6.8%

10.2%

.185

14

2

9

4/9

AA

207

129

.299

.364

.446

9.1%

9.2%

.147

9

0

6

7/10

Profile: Just another above-average regular grabbed by the Cardinals in the draft. Piscotty was a good, not great, collegiate hitter at Stanford, posting OPSs between .840 and .907 during his three-year career. Last season, he hit a combined .295/.355/.464 split between high Class A and Class AA.

Analysis: A Josh Willingham-type ceiling, something along the lines of .280/.350/.490 with 25-HR power. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him up in St. Louis at some point in 2014.

Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

5. Tim Cooney, Position: LHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

36.0

2.75

3.94

5.75

1.00

15.8%

2.7%

0.25

40.7%

AA

118.1

3.80

2.75

9.51

1.37

25.2%

3.6%

0.61

45.5%

Profile: The club’s 2012 draft class could be one of the best in recent memory. Not only did they select one of the top collegiate arms, Michael Wacha, after he slipped to the middle of the first round, the organization grabbed Stephen Piscotty, James Ramsey and Cooney – all of whom profile as at least average big league regulars. For his part, Cooney, the third round pick that year, averaged 8.63 strikeouts and 1.28 walks per nine innings in 2013.

Analysis: Oh, you know, just another tremendous find by the Cards. He could step into the St. Louis rotation tomorrow and produce like a good #5. Cooney’s ceiling resides somewhere near a good #3. Not overpowering, but above-average control. He should peak somewhere around 7.7 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

6. Marco Gonzales, Position: LHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

6.2

5.40

2.58

13.50

4.05

31.3%

9.4%

0.00

57.9%

A+

16.2

1.62

3.91

7.02

2.70

21.3%

8.2%

0.54

32.6%

Profile: Typical Cardinals early draft selection: smart, polished. The lefty from Gonzaga was grabbed at the same spot as Michael Wacha a year earlier, the 19th pick, but signed for $50,000 less. Gonzales was a solid two-way player, doubling as the staff ace while posting OPSs between .764 and .802.

Analysis: Pre-draft evaluation: “More finesse than anything else, Gonzales grades out as a mid to late first rounder. His work with Team USA last summer (29 K’s in 22 IP) adds to his impressive resume. One red flag, however, is the amount of extra-base hits he’s surrendered through his first 106 innings (17 doubles and a pair of triples). He profiles as a good #3/4-type guy.”

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

7. Zachary Petrick, Position: RHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

32.2

0.83

1.92

12.67

2.20

34.8%

6.1%

0.28

52.6%

A+

26.0

0.35

2.49

9.00

0.69

26.0%

2.0%

0.00

44.4%

AA

47.1

3.80

3.59

8.37

2.85

22.2%

7.6%

0.57

40.9%

Profile: Want a feel good story? How about this: Younger brother of a fringy big league pitcher goes undrafted after a nice, yet uninspiring senior year at a small college in, of all places, Ohio. The player gets a phone call to sign as an undrafted free agent and two years later becomes one of the better pitching prospects in the system. Boom! Enter Zachary Petrick, younger brother of Billy.

Petrick split his time between low Class A, high Class A, and Class AA, combining to throw 113.1 innings with a 1.99 ERA while averaging 9.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.

Analysis: Petrick could peak as a lower end #3, but should settle in as an underappreciated backend guy. Good groundball numbers, control, and ability to miss bats. Love him as a prospect. Love the story more.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

8. Randal Grichuk, Position: OF, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

542

116

.256

.306

.474

5.2%

17.0%

.218

27

8

22

9/14

Profile: Grichuk, a first round pick in 2009, was acquired along with speedy center fielder Peter Bourjos from the Angels, in exchange for third baseman David Freese. Grichuk had his best showing since 2010, hitting .256/.306/.474 while topping the offensive average production by 16%.

Analysis: A solid prospect, though one with flaws. Grichuk won’t hit for a particularly high average, nor will he walk a whole helluva lot. But he does have an intruiging power/speed combination.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

9. James Ramsey, Position: CF, Age: 24

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

77

198

.361

.481

.557

15.6%

15.6%

.197

5

2

1

1/1

AA

416

123

.251

.356

.424

12.7%

26.0%

.173

11

2

15

8/12

Profile: The flavor-o’-the-month after a decent showing in the Arizona Fall League (.246/.384/.435), Ramsey spent the majority of the season in Class AA, hitting .251/.356/.424 while topping the TL offensive production by 23%.

Analysis: Don’t buy into the hype. Ramsey struggled against southpaws last season (.208/.333/.250), benefitted from playing half of his games in Springfield and has some borderline red flag strikeout totals.

Now the good: elite eye at the plate and 15- to 20-HR power from center field. He’s not on the same level as Piscotty, but Ramsey should develop into a league average regular (depending how his defense grades out), maybe a touch better.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

10. Rob Kaminsky, Position: LHP, Age: 19

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

22.0

3.68

2.95

11.45

3.68

28.6%

9.2%

0.41

51.7%

Profile: The third left-hander taken last June – and nine picks behind fellow org-mate Marco Gonzales, the second southpaw picked – Kaminsky looked pretty good during his debut in pro ball, striking out 28 in 22 innings while generating a groundball rate north of 50%.

Analysis: Per the usual, nothing much to go on. Not very big, just 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds, so Kaminsky may eventually get pushed into a bullpen role, because, you know, teams like to pigeonhole pitchers too soon.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

 



About

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


'2014 St. Louis Cardinals Top 10 Prospects' have 2 comments

  1. February 15, 2014 @ 4:46 PM Rob

    No Alex Reyes? Do you have scouts on your payroll?

    Reply

    • February 21, 2014 @ 12:33 PM JMWerner

      Reyes just missed the club’s top 10 prospects. It’s difficult for as an analyst to accurately predict what type of player he will be going off of just 58.1 innings in the Appalachian Leagues. I explain it more in-depth in the book.

      Reply


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