clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 prospects for 2018: mid-season review

New, 7 comments

How did the list come out?

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Jordan Hicks
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to the St. Louis Cardinals.

This list was originally published March 10th, 2018, and revised on March 13th, 2018




1) Alex Reyes, RHP, Grade A-/B+: Age 23, came back from Tommy John and looked great, 0.00 ERA in 23 innings with 44/7 K/BB at four levels, made one MLB start then hurt a lat muscle and will be out the rest of the year; talent is obvious and he’s ready to help if his body can hold up, apparently a big if.

2) Jack Flaherty, RHP, Grade B+: Age 22, first round pick in 2014 from high school in Studio City, California; 3.15 ERA in 80 major league innings, 96/28 K/BB, 61 hits; not a fluke and should continue to perform at this level in my opinion, granted the normal health uncertainties as with any young pitcher.

3) Carson Kelly, C, Grade B+/B: Age 24, second round pick in 2012 from high school in Portland, Oregon; hitting .276/.354/.418 with five homers, 23 walks, 27 strikeouts in 196 at-bats in Triple-A; went 2-for-25 during brief MLB trial; reports haven’t changed; excellent defense combined with occasional hitting, just needs an extended opportunity.

4) Andrew Knizner, C, Grade B/B+: Age 23, seventh round pick in 2016 from North Carolina State; hitting .305/.371/.423 between Double-A and Triple-A, four homers, 23 walks, 35 strikeouts in 246 at-bats; solid with the glove, not quite as good as Kelly but certainly decent; steady producer for average and moderate power, should continue to hit; like Kelly he just needs a chance.

5) Harrison Bader, OF, Grade B/B+: Age 24, third round pick in 2015 from University of Florida; hitting .279/.351/.421 with six homers, nine steals, 17 walks, 58 strikeouts in 190 at-bats in the majors; this is exactly what he should be expected to do as his career advances, with more power possible/probable down the line.

6) Tyler O’Neill, OF, Grade B/B+: Age 23, third round pick in 2013 by Seattle Mariners from high school in Maple Ridge, British Columbia; traded to Cardinals for Marco Gonzales last summer; mashing in Triple-A with 23 homers, .303/.369/.683 line, 22 walks, 55 strikeouts in 208 at-bats; 10-for-44 in the majors with three homers but 20 strikeouts; too good for Triple-A and ready for a full trial somewhere.

7) Adolis Garcia, OF, Grade B/B+: Age 25, Cuban, signed last spring for $2,500,000; hitting .253/.283/.451 with 13 homers, 12 walks, 70 strikeout in 297 at-bats, nine steals in 10 attempts; had a bad slump in May (.145) which hurt his numbers but has been strong otherwise, including .339/.359/.581 in July; mashes lefties at .345/.375/.569; seems like he should be useful somewhere but where?

8) Yairo Munoz, INF, Grade B/B+: Age 23, signed out of the Dominican Republic by Oakland Athletics in 2012, traded to Cards in Stephen Piscotty deal; hitting .298/.356/.447 in 161 at-bats in the majors, see more thoughts here.

9) Dakota Hudson, RHP, Grade B/B+: Age 23, first round pick in 2016 from Mississippi State University; 13-2 in 18 starts in Triple-A, 2.36 ERA, 87/37 K/BB in 111 innings, 106 hits, 1.88 GO/AO; would like to see more whiffs but hitters have a hard time lofting the ball on his heavy stuff, has given up just one homer all year.

10) Randy Arozarena, OF, Grade B: Age 23, Cuban, signed for $1,250,000; has split season between Double-A and Triple-A, destroying Texas League pitching (.400/.435/.738 in 65 at-bats) but struggling at the higher level PCL (.238/.326/.351 in 202 at-bats); attractive power/speed combo with 10 homers, 16 steals; part of the outfield crowd, high ceiling tools but skills still developing.

11) Ryan Helsley, RHP, Grade B: Age 24, fifth round pick in 2015 from Northeastern State in Oklahoma; 4.12 ERA with 78/29 K/BB in 68 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, currently on disabled list with “shoulder fatigue,” status unclear.

12) Jordan Hicks, RHP, Grade B: Age 21, supplemental round pick in 2015 from high school in Houston, Texas; brought 800 MPH fastball to the majors much sooner than expected thanks to relief conversion, 3.44 ERA with 43/25 K/BB in 50 innings, just 34 hits, 2.68 GO/AO; has done very well considering the circumstances with no previous innings above A-ball.

13) Austin Gomber, LHP, Grade B/B-: Age 24, fourth round pick in 2014 from Florida Atlantic University; successful starter in Triple-A with 3.42 ERA, 76/20 K/BB in 68 innings; used in major league bullpen and held his own, 3.77 ERA in 14 innings, 10/8 K/BB; as with several of the hitters he’s ready and just needs a full opportunity.

14) Max Schrock, 2B, Grade B/B-: Age 23, drafted by Washington Nationals in 13th round in 2015 from University of South Carolina, traded to Oakland, then on to Cards in Piscotty deal; hitting .266/.312/.356 with four homers, 17 walks, 26 strikeouts in Triple-A; first time in his professional career that he’s not hitting .300+; defense remains very steady and reliable.

15) Oscar Mercado, OF, Grade B-: Age 23, second round pick in 2013 out of high school in Gaither, Florida; looked like a bust as a shortstop who couldn’t hit; moved to outfield and everything changed, hitting .286/.357/.405 in Triple-A with seven homers, 29 steals, 36 walks, 56 strikeouts in 353 at-bats; improved swing, better eye, contact ability, even uses his speed better now, stock up.

16) Dylan Carlson, OF, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, first round pick in 2016 from high school in Elk Grove, California; hitting .254/.349/.391 with nine homers, 41 walks, 60 strikeouts in 284 at-bats between Low-A and High-A; some power development, maintaining command of the strike zone, breakout possible next year.

17) Conner Greene, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, drafted in seventh round in 2013 by Toronto Blue Jays, traded to Cards in January 2018 Randal Grichuk deal; 3.90 ERA in 67 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 55/49 K/BB, 54 hits; I don’t like the K/BB ratio but everything else is better than 2017 and he has no shortage of arm strength; watch for any improvement in the K/BB.

18) Junior Fernandez, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2014; opened season on disabled list but back in action, 2.40 ERA with 10/10 K/BB in 15 innings between High-A and Double-A; throws hard, obviously needs to improve his control.

19) Edmundo Sosa, SS, Grade C+: Age 22, shortstop signed out of Panama in 2012, hitting .271/.307/.407 between Double-A and Triple-A, seven homers, 13 walks, 61 strikeouts in 332 at-bats; capable of better I think but more a future role player than regular.

20) Evan Mendoza, 3B, Grade C+: Age 22, 11th round pick in 2017 from North Carolina State; hitting .297/.346/.389 with 26 walks, 71 strikeouts in 380 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; excellent defense at third base but unclear if he will develop enough home run power to keep people happy there.

OTHER GRADE C+ Prospects

Tommy Edman, SS; .286/.345/.389 with 33 walks, 66 strikeouts, 20 steals in 370 at-bats in Double-A; keep track of this guy.

Jacob Evans, LHP; 5.06 ERA with 38/16 K/BB in 48 innings in Double-A; released on July 12th

Derian Gonzalez, RHP; limited to 19 innings by injuries; 4.19 ERA with 24/8 K/BB at three levels.

Scott Hurst, OF; .295/.381/.411 in 190 at-bats in Low-A, on disabled list with hamstring injury

Connor Jones, RHP; 4.08 ERA in 82 innings in Double-A, 54/44 K/BB; needs better control but 2.63 GO/AO is interesting

Jonatan Machado, OF; Hit just .185/.208/.228 in 92 at-bats in Low-A; sent back to Appy League in June and hitting .294/.360/.373 in 102 at-bats so far

Elehuris Montero, 3B; Hitting .316/.375/.512 in Low-A at age 19; glove needs work but hitting looks potent, stock rising

Mike O’Reilly, RHP; 4.19 ERA in 86 innings in A/AA/AAA; 62/24 K/BB, 79 hits; more probably a reliever at the highest levels

Johan Oviedo, RHP; 5.07 ERA in 82 innings in Low-A, 81/60 K/BB, 77 hits; must lower walks obviously, can hit mid-90s

Delvin Perez, SS; hitting .257/.364/.327 in 101 at-bats in New York-Penn League

Chase Pinder, OF; hitting .255/.360/.362 in 235 at-bats in High-A

Rangel Ravelo, 1B; hitting .286/.369/.472 in Triple-A; nothing left to prove there

Julio Rodriguez, C; hitting .281/.311/.452 in Low-A, solid glovework, stock up

Alvaro Seijas, RHP; 4.83 ERA, 65/42 K/BB in 95 innings in Low-A; another hard-thrower who needs polish/experience

Ryan Sherriff, LHP: hurt most of the year

Jake Woodford, RHP; 4.93 ERA in 102 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 75/41 K/BB, 112 hits; good arm but secondaries need more work

Ramon Urias, SS; strong in Double-A (.338/.398/.615, 148 at-bats) not so much in Triple-A (.221/.274/.426); multi-year track record of good play in Mexican League

Andy Young, INF; sleeper type, older at age 24 but hitting well, .276/.372/.444 in High-A, promoted to Double-A yesterday, solid glove

Wadye Ynfante, OF: just .200/.282/.273 in 110 at-bats in NY-P

Disappointing at the major league level this year overall, but this is still a deep system with plenty of young talent waiting for a chance. Discuss.

Daniel Poncedeleon makes his MLB debut today. He missed almost all of 2017 and wasn’t graded but he has been healthy and excellent in 2018, posting a 2.15 ERA in 92 innings in Triple-A, 103/48 K/BB. I will write a full article on him tomorrow.