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St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

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Reviewing the pre-season Cardinals prospect list. How does it look now?

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
Paul DeJong
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST.

THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES.

This list was originally published February 13th, 2017

1) Alex Reyes, RHP, Grade A: Age 22, out with Tommy John surgery.

2) Luke Weaver, RHP, Grade B+: Age 23, first round pick in 2014 out of Florida State University; making Triple-A hitters look silly with 1.91 ERA, 69/14 K/BB in 66 innings; just needs a chance, called up July 27th. Superb pitchability.

St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates
Carson Kelly
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

3) Carson Kelly, C, Grade B/B+: Age 23, second round pick in 2012; hitting .283/.375/.459 in Triple-A, power increasing while maintaining plate discipline and strong defense; called up July 21st. Has become one of my favorites.

4) Harrison Bader, OF, Grade B: Age 23, third round pick in 2015 from University of Florida; hit .297/.354/.517 in Triple-A, promoted to majors on July 25th; another favorite and very fun to watch with combination of aggression and solid tools.

5) Jack Flaherty, RHP, Grade B: Age 21, compensation pick in 2014, combined 2.13 ERA in 19 starts between Double-A and Triple-A, 111/26 K/BB in 110 innings, 88 hits; not far behind Weaver in pitching feel, mound presence; another personal favorite.

6) Dakota Hudson, RHP, Grade B: Age 22, compensation pick out of Mississippi State in 2016, pretty smooth transition to Double-A, 2.53 ERA in 114 innings, 77/34 K/BB, 111 hits; heavy ground ball guy with 2.15 GO/AO; Cardinals have had good luck helping guys like this develop.

7) Delvin Perez, SS, Grade B: Age 18, first round pick in 2016 from high school in Puerto Rico; first disappointment on the list, hitting .183/.284/.258 in 93 at-bats between Gulf Coast and Appalachian Leagues; defense has been good so far but has things to prove following positive PED test in the weeks before last year’s draft.

St Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
Magneuris Sierra
Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

8) Magneuris Sierra, OF, Grade B: Age 21, signed out of the Dominican in 2012, hitting .284/.319/.381 in 218 at-bats in Double-A; received surprise major league trial in May and performed well, hitting .365/.400/.365 in 52 at-bats; he’s rawer than that sample size implies but quite talented and will be back.

9) Sandy Alcantara, RHP, Grade B/B-: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013; 4.74 ERA in 101 innings in Double-A, 83/44 K/BB, 109 hits; can hit 100 MPH but still making transition from thrower to pitcher; terrific ceiling obviously.

10) Paul DeJong, SS, Grade B-: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2015 from Illinois State University; hitting .291/.311/.582 with 14 homers, six walks, 60 strikeouts in 189 major league at-bats; hard to argue with production like this even with the aggressive approach; transition from third base to shortstop smoother than expected too; like many of the young Cardinals, he’s fun to watch.

11) Austin Gomber, LHP, Grade B-: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2014 from Florida Atlantic University; 4.48 ERA in 96 innings in Double-A, 91/38 K/BB, 95 hits; impression I get from Texas League sources is that he’s looked better than the numbers indicate much of the time, although he’s had his share of rough outings too. Still like him as a potential fourth starter.

12) John Gant, RHP, Grade B-: Age 24, acquired from Braves in Jaime Garcia deal; 3.63 ERA in 67 innings in Triple-A, 63/14 K/BB, pitched three innings in the majors and is now at 53 for his career, putting him over rookie limits heading into 2018; he might get lost in the shuffle short-term but he’s the kind of guy who comes out of nowhere and wins 15 games when he’s 28.

13) Junior Fernandez, RHP, Grade B-: Age 20, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2014; 3.69 ERA in 90 innings in High-A, 58/39 K/BB, went on disabled list yesterday with Palm Beach; throws very hard but low whiff rate dovetails with reports that he needs to refine his secondary pitches.

14) Edmundo Sosa, SS, Grade B-: Age 21, signed from Panama in 2012; was hitting .272/.315/.342 in 158 at-bats in High-A, promoted to Double-A but went on disabled list after one game with a broken hamate; given that lack of power is his biggest problem, a hamate/wrist injury is very inconvenient.

15) Connor Jones, RHP, Grade B-: Age 22, second round pick in 2016 from University of Virginia; 3.93 ERA in 85 innings in High-A, 55/39 K/BB, 3.74 GO/AO; very heavy stuff, more strikeouts would be nice but as noted previously the Cards have good track record developing pitchers with this profile, though in Jones’ case it would not surprise me to see him in the bullpen long-term.

16) Dylan Carlson, OF, Grade B-: Age 18, first round pick in 2016 from high school in California; hitting .236/.336/.350 with six homers, 39 walks, 87 strikeouts in 280 at-bats in Low-A; Midwest League observers like his approach and youth but wonder if he’ll wind up as a tweener.

17) Jake Woodford, RHP, Grade B-: Age 20, compensation round pick in 2015 from high school in Florida; 3.36 ERA in 86 innings in High-A, 55/25 K/BB, 98 hits allowed; throws strikes but not dominating/overpowering, very young of course.

18) Randy Arozarena, OF, Grade C+/B-: Age 22; from Cuba, signed for $1,250,000 in July 2016; hitting combined .281/.353/.466 with 10 homers, 15 steals, 26 walks, 69 strikeouts in 352 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; got hot after a slow start and has stayed that way; strike zone judgment has improved quickly and power/speed combo could be special; don’t overlook him, stock up.

19) Ronnie Williams, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, second round pick in 2014 from high school in Florida; 6.55 ERA in 65 innings in Low-A, 73/35 K/BB, 72 hits; strikeouts show his potential but quite raw, even for his age, according to Midwest League observers.

20) Zac Gallen, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, third round pick in 2016 from University of North Carolina; combined 2.29 ERA in 114 innings between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A with 102/20 K/BB; excellent command of solid stuff, reached Triple-A just a year after being drafted.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Eliezer Alvarez, 2B: Hit .231/.324/.331 in Double-A, 91 at-bats before injury.
Bryce Denton, 3B: Combined .200/.271/.300 between Low-A and New York-Penn League, just 19 years old.
Tommy Edman, SS: Hitting .272/.336/.391 between Low-A, High-A, Double-A; sleeper potential.
Victor Garcia, OF: Just .159/.269/.205 in Dominican Summer League.
Ryan Helsley, RHP: 2.69 ERA in 94 innings in High-A, 91/30 K/BB, 72 hits; sleeper.
John Kilichowski, LHP: 7.06 ERA in 43 innings in Low-A, went on DL in June with hip injury.
Jeremy Martinez, C: Strong glove but hitting only .171/.265/.184 in High-A.
Nick Plummer, OF: 2015 first-rounder, hitting just .205/.359/.311 in Low-A.
Daniel Poncedeleon, RHP: 2.17 ERA in 29 Triple-A innings, got hit in head by line drive, still recovering.
Alvaro Seijas, RHP: 5.88 ERA in 34 innings in rookie ball, 32/13 K/BB.
Breyvic Valera, 2B: Hitting .303/.358/.397 in Triple-A, nothing left to prove there.

Ask about any other Cardinals prospects or 2017 draftees and I’ll do my best to answer in the comments section.