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St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 2015 PRE-SEASON prospects in review

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Randal Grichuk
Randal Grichuk
Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Today we continue our summer reviews of the pre-season Top 20 Prospects lists with the St. Louis Cardinals.

This is a review of the pre-season list.
It is not a new list.

These are the pre-season grades.

This list was originally published March 3, 2015

1) Marco Gonzales, LHP, Grade B+: 4.57 ERA with 46/15 K/BB in 61 innings between Triple-A and brief rehab stints in Double-A and High-A, 69 hits. Hampered by shoulder trouble but has building his arm strength back up recently and pitching again in Triple-A.
2) Alex Reyes, RHP, Grade B+:
2.70 ERA in 80 innings between High-A and Double-A with 119/38 K/BB, 59 hits; note excellent K/IP and H/IP marks. Also has shoulder issues.
3) Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Grade B+:
Traded to Cleveland Indians, 2.24 ERA with 83/33 K/BB in 104 innings in High-A. A great return for the Indians for Brandon Moss, one of the better LHP prospects in baseball.
4) Jack Flaherty, RHP, Grade B/B-:
Impressive season in Low-A, 2.52 ERA with 74/28 K/BB in 75 innings, 70 hits. Reports on pitchability very promising, just 19 years old.
5) Stephen Piscotty, OF, Grade B-/B:
Hit .272/.366/.475 in 320 at-bats in Triple-A. Promoted to majors, hitting .348/.389/.455 through 20 games, 66 at-bats. Can’t complain about that.


6) Randal Grichuk, OF, Grade B-/B:
Hitting .282/.327/.556 with 14 homers, 16 walks, 93 strikeouts in 277 at-bats in the majors. More walks would be nice, but the power is completely genuine of course and he should have a long career.
7) Tim Cooney, LHP, Grade B-:
2.74 ERA with 63/16 K/BB in 89 innings in Triple-A, 3.16 ERA with 29/10 K/BB in 31 innings in the majors. A very fine campaign, though he is currently recovering from appendicitis.
8) Luke Weaver, RHP, Grade B-:
Here’s another one having a good year, 1.78 ERA with 70/15 K/BB in 81 innings in High-A, 74 hits. Living up to his college reputation for outstanding command.
9) Magneuris Sierra, OF, Grade C+:
Slow start in Low-A, .191/.219/.247 through 178 at-bats. Sent down to the Appalachian League and has been much better, .338/.381/.433 through 157 at-bats. Struggles in full-season ball not fatal for his chances, just age 19.
10) Jacob Wilson, INF, Grade C+:
Hitting combined .232/.304/.444 with 18 homers, 31 walks, 76 strikeouts in 340 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, solid glove around the infield with more power than typical for a utility type, though average/OBP disappointing this year.


11) Carson Kelly, C, Grade C+
: Hitting .196/.244/.290 with five homers, 20 walks, 52 strikeouts in 317 at-bats in High-A. Defense is quite solid but bat is stagnant at best.
12) Sam Tuivailala, RHP, Grade C+:
15 saves, 1.75 ERA with 36/19 K/BB in 36 innings in Triple-A, 1.80 ERA with 9/6 K/BB in 10 innings in major league pen. Quality relief arm going forward.
13) Aledmys Diaz, SS, Grade C+:
Hitting .251/.303/.398 with eight homers, 22 walks, 58 strikeouts in 347 at-bats in Double-A. Solid glove, but bat isn’t doing much to push him into the larger picture yet.
14) Tommy Pham, OF, Grade C+:
Continues to rip when healthy, .344/.411/.529 with nine steals, 20 walks, 33 strikeouts in 157 at-bats in Triple-A, hit .182/.265/.341 in 44 at-bat big league trial. Power/speed combo with loads of athleticism and has hit quite well when healthy the last few years.
15) Charlie Tilson, OF, Grade C/C+:
Hitting .284/.348/.370 with 42 walks, 58 strikeouts, 41 steals in 438 at-bats in Double-A. Fourth outfielder projection with speed, glove.


16) Mike Mayers, RHP, Grade C/C+:
5.87 ERA with 43/21 K/BB in 54 innings, 59 hits between Double-A and rookie ball rehab, went back on the disabled list after a bad outing in late July. Status unclear.
17) Juan Herrera, SS, Grade C/C+:
Hit .265/.315/.292 in 185 at-bats in High-A, went on disabled list in June, status unclear.
18) Breyvic Valera, 2B, Grade C/C+:
Hitting .249/.310/.309 with 30 walks, 20 strikeouts in 333 at-bats between High-A and Double-A. Makes contact like crazy but hindered by lack of power.
19) Edmundo Sosa, SS, Grade C/C+:
Solid early run in Appalachian League, .288/.343/.405 through 153 at-bats at age 19.
20) Ty Kelly, INF, Grade C/C+:
Older prospect with cold season with Triple-A Memphis (.203/.317/.286 in 227 AB), claimed on waivers by Blue Jays and performing better with Triple-A Buffalo (.292/.365/.369 in 65 AB). Past track record is much better than this, but running out of time at age 27.


Despite some glitches (first base) the Cardinals are 73-40 and in first place; obviously you can’t complain about that. Grichuk has seized an outfield spot and Piscotty looks to do the same in his initial exposure. Carlos Martinez has adapted well to starting and the pitching staff has been strong despite the injury loss of Adam Wainwright, thanks primarily to home-grown players.

The pitchers at the top of the pre-season list have been hurt (Gonzales and Reyes with their shoulders, Flaherty had back trouble early, Cooney with his appendix) or traded (Kaminsky) but the Cardinals have seldom had trouble developing arms when needed. In addition to the usual names, right-hander Arturo Reyes is worth tracking with a solid Double-A season on his resume. I haven’t given up on Nick Petree or Corey Littrell. Keep close track of lefty Austin Gomber, having a fine season in the Midwest League with a chance to develop into a workhorse starter. Also track 20-year-old southpaw Ian McKinney and right-hander Luis Perdomo.

I love Tommy Pham and someone needs to give him a full chance. Some other bats have been disappointing (Carson Kelly, Rowan Wick, C.J. McElroy), but the 2015 draft brings Nick Plummer and Bryce Denton (promising preps) plus college talents Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong into the system.

For detailed Cardinals prospect analysis, you can never go wrong with Viva El Birdos minor league section.