Melotticus' Top 20 NL Central Rankings

Lets keep making our way through the National League as we look at the Central division; including 2013 Division champs, and owners of the best record in the NL, the St. Louis Cardinals. Since these rankings are not those of Minor League Ball, but my own personal rankings, I'll be keeping this series in the FanPosts.

Chicago Cubs


SS Javier Baez sent 37 baseballs sailing over the fences in 2013 with 20 stolen bases and 75 extra base hits.


Rank Name Pos Age Level
1 Javier Baez SS 20 A+/AA
2 Kris Bryant 3B 21 R/A-/A+
3 CJ Edwards RHSP 21 A/A+
4 Albert Almora CF 19 A
5 Jorge Soler CF 21 A+
6 Arismendy Alcantara SS 21 AA
7 Pierce Johnson RHSP 22 A/A+
8 Ivan Pineyro RHSP 21 A/A+
9 Dan Vogelbach 1B 20 A/A+
10 Kyle Hendricks RHSP 23 AAA
11 Christian Villanueva 3B 22 AA
12 Ben Wells RHSP 20 A+
13 Mike Olt 3B 24 AA/AAA
14 Matt Szczur CF 23 AA
15 Jeimer Candelario 3B 19 A
16 Rock Shoulders 1B 21 A
17 Paul Blackburn RHSP 19 A-
18 Arodys Vizcaino RHP 22 INJ
19 Shawon Dunston CF 20 A-
20 Corbin Hoffner RHP 19 A-
HM Erick Leal RHSP 18 R
HM Tyler Ihrig LHP 21 R

Notes: 3B Christian Villanueva seems like the odd man out in the 3B carousel in Chicago. He made a great case to stay in the fray this year hitting 41 doubles, 19 home runs and a .261 average as a 22 year old in AA. He was tied for 3rd in the entire minor league in doubles. RHP Erick Leal dominated Arizona League hitters this year as an 18 year old. The 6'3 Colombian only walked 8 batters in 48.2 innings with 52 strike outs and a 2.77 ERA and 2.28 FIP. An impressive part of his campaign is his success while working with a .343 BABIP.

Graduations - CF Brett Jackson, 3B Josh Vitters

Cincinnati Reds


RHP Robert Stephenson posted a 2.99 ERA while limiting batters to a .216 average and striking out 3.89 batters to every walk.


Rank Name Pos Age Level
1 Robert Stephenson RHSP 20 A/A+/AA
2 Billy Hamilton CF 22 AAA
3 Phillip Ervin RF 20 R+/A
4 Jesse Winker LF 19 A
5 Nick Travieso RHSP 19 A
6 Michael Lorenzen RHP 21 R/A/A+/AA
7 Drew Cisco RHSP 21 A
8 Seth Mejias-Brean 1B 22 A/A+
9 Yorman Rodriguez RF 20 A+/AA
10 Junior Arias CF 21 A/A+
11 Juan Silva CF 22 A+
12 Kyle Waldrop LF 21 A+
13 Juan Duran RF 21 A+
14 Jon Moscot RHSP 21 A+/AA
15 Sal Romano RHSP 19 A
16 Kevin Garcia LF 20 R/R+
17 Ben Lively RHSP 21 R+/A
18 Ty Boyles LHP 17 R
19 Carlos Contreras RHSP 22 A+/AA
20 Jose Siri CF 17 DSL
HM Francis Azcona 2B 17 DSL
HM Chad Rogers RHSP 23 AA/AAA

Notes: LF Jesse Winker put together one of the best hitting seasons by a teenager in A ball in the non-Buxton division. He hit .281 with an .841 OPS, 63 walks to 75 K, 16 home runs, 18 doubles and 76 RBI. RHP Ben Lively had one of the best debut's by a 2013 draftee. In 13 starts and 41 innings, he posted a 0.88 ERA, .155 batting average against and 12.29 K/9. He also struck out 4.31 batters for every walk.

Graduations - LHP Tony Cingrani, RHP JJ Hoover

Milwaukee Brewers


RHP Jimmy Nelson struck out 9.63 batters per 9 innings while amassing a 3.25 ERA in 27 starts between AA Huntsville and AAA Nashville.


Rank Name Pos Age Level
1 Jimmy Nelson RHSP 24 AA/AAA
2 Tyrone Taylor CF 19 A
3 Victor Roache LF 21 A
4 Devin Williams RHSP 18 R
5 Nick Delmonico 3B 20 A+
6 Michael Reed RF 20 A
7 Clint Coulter C 19 R/R+/A
8 Orlando Arcia SS 18 A
9 Mitch Haniger RF 22 A/A+
10 Hunter Morris 1B 24 AAA
11 Jed Bradley LHSP 23 A+
12 Taylor Jungmann RHSP 23 AA
13 Michael Ratterree RF 22 R+
14 Brandon Diaz CF 18 R
15 Ariel Pena RHSP 24 AA
16 Tyler Wagner RHSP 22 A
17 Taylor Smith-Brennan 3B 21 R+
18 Taylor Williams RHSP 21 R+
19 Clint Terry LHP 21 R
20 Hobbs Johnson LHP 22 R+/A
HM Jorge Quiterio 2B/3B 18 DSL
HM Brent Suter LHSP 23 A/A+

Notes: RF Michael Reed was a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy season on the Brewer's farm. He didn't show any power but he did hit 37 extra base hits with 26 stolen bases and a .286 average. He worked 71 walks which bumped his on base percentage to .385. LHP Hobbs Johnson only threw 21 innings after being drafted in the 14th round but he made them count. Between the Pioneer and Midwest Leagues, the 22 year old southpaw allowed 20 hits but struck out 32 batters for a 13.71 K/9 and only walked 4 batters. He had a 0.86 ERA and 0.87 FIP despite a .392 BABIP.

Graduations - RHP Wily Peralta, RHP Tyler Thornburg, 2B Scooter Gennett, OF Logan Schafer, OF Khris Davis, OF Caleb Gindl, RHP Jim Henderson

Pittsburgh Pirates


CF Gregory Polanco hit .285 this year with 38 stolen bases and 30 doubles while advancing to a cup of coffee in AAA at the age of 21.


Rank Name Pos Age Level
1 Gregory Polanco CF 21 A+/AA/AAA
2 Austin Meadows CF 18 R/A-
3 Tyler Glasnow RHSP 19 A
4 James Taillon RHSP 21 AA/AAA
5 Alen Hanson SS 20 A+/AA
6 Nick Kingham RHSP 21 A+.AA
7 Reese McGuire C 18 R/A-
8 Luis Heredia RHSP 18 A
9 Josh Bell LF 20 A
10 Harold Ramirez 2B 18 A-
11 Andrew Lambo RF 24 AA/AAA
12 Tony Sanchez C 25 AA/AAA
13 Stolmy Pimentel RHSP 23 AA/AAA
14 Jason Creasy RHP 21 A
15 Jin-De Jhang C 20 A-
16 Cody Dickson LHSP 21 A-
17 Joely Rodriguez LHSP 21 A/A+
18 Blake Taylor LHSP 17 R
19 Michael De La Cruz CF 17 DSL
20 Alex Dickerson RF 23 AA
HM Wei-Chung Wang LHSP 21 R
HM Cesar Lopez RHP 22 A-/A/A+

Notes: RHP Jason Creasy was drafted in the 8th round in 2011 and took a huge step forward this year in Low A West Virginia. He threw 108.1 innings while striking out 8 batters per 9 innings and 4 batters for every walk. He finished the year with a 2.74 ERA and 3.15 FIP between 13 starts and 19 relief appearances. LHP Wei-Chung Wang signed for $350K out of Taiwain in 2011 but had to have Tommy John soon after. 2013 was his first pro season and he spent it in the GCL as a 21 year old. The 6'1 160 lb port sider posted a sterling 42 K to 4 BB with just 37 hits in 47.1 innings.

Graduations - RHP Gerrit Cole, LHP Justin Wilson, RHP Bryan Morris, RHP Vic Black

(EDIT- Harold Ramirez added at 10. Wei-Chung Wang dropped to HM. Buddy Borden removed.)

St. Louis Cardinals


CF Oscar Taveras was limited to just 174 AB due to injury but still hit .310 with 18 extra base hits and 32 RBI's.


Rank Name Pos Age Level
1 Oscar Taveras CF 20 R/AAA
2 Carlos Martinez RHSP 21 AA/AAA
3 Alexander Reyes RHSP 18 R+
4 Kolten Wong 2B 23 AAA
5 Tyrell Jenkins RHSP 20 A/A+
6 Rob Kaminsky LHSP 18 R
7 Zach Petrick RHP 23 A/A+/AA
8 Marco Gonzales LHSP 21 R/A+
9 Tim Cooney LHSP 22 A+/AA
10 James Ramsey CF 23 A+/AA/AAA
11 John Gast LHSP 24 AAA
12 Stephen Piscotty RF 22 A+/AA
13 Joe Cuda RHSP 23 A/A+
14 Rowan Wick C 20 R+
15 Mike O'Neill LF 25 AA/AAA
16 Patrick Wisdom 3B 21 A/A+
17 Tyler Lyons LHSP 25 AAA
18 Breyvic Valera 2B 20 A
19 Keith Butler RHP 24 AA/AAA
20 Lee Stoppelman LHP 23 A+/AA/AAA
HM Julio Mateo RHSP 17 DSL
HM Charlie Tilson CF 20 A/A+

Notes: RHP Zach Petrick started the year by allowing 4 ER in 66 innings for a 0.55 ERA between Low A Peoria and A+ Palm Beach. He also walked 12 while striking out 78 in the same span. He "struggled" once he reached AA with a 3.99 ERA, 44 K, 15 BB, and 44 H in 47.1 innings spanning 9 starts. Another starter to keep an eye on is RHP Julio Mateo. Mateo was an all-star in the Dominican Prospect League before signing with St. Louis in August of 2012. The 6'3 180 lb right hander posted a 2.50 ERA in 50.1 innings in the DSL despite having 55% of runners he left on base score. He struck out 10 per 9 innings while only walking 2.9 per 9. He also limited batters to a .561 OPS despite a .292 BABIP.

Graduations - RHP Shelby Miller, RHP Trevor Rosenthal, RHP Michael Wacha, 1B Matt Adams, RHP Seth Maness, LHP Tyler Lyons

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