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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (1) | 2012 (12) | 2011 (24) | 2010 (29) | 2009 (8)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] NL Central
AAA: [69-75] Pacific Coast League – Memphis
AA: [64-74] Texas League – Springfield
A+: [64-71] Florida State League – Palm Beach
A: [68-69] Midwest League – Peoria
A(ss):  [48-27] New York-Penn League — State College

Graduated Prospects
Matt Adams (1B); Shelby Miller (RHP); Trevor Rosenthal (RHP); Michael Wacha (RHP); Kevin Siegrist (LHP); Tyler Lyons (LHP); Seth Maness (RHP)

The Run Down
In the business of talent procurement and development, the Cardinals are the best.  That’s the only way to explain how an organization can graduate prospects like Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, and Matt Adams, and still come back the following year with a top 5 farm.  The Cardinals churning out homegrown fantasy-relevance is something you should be conditioned to expect by now, and it’ll continue this year with Oscar Taveras, Carlos Martinez, and Kolten Wong… and next year with Stephen Piscotty, and Marco Gonzalez… and the following year with [insert awesome prospects].  You get the idea.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Oscar Taveras, OF:  Taveras has the skill set of a star player and a fantasy monster, with potential to hit well north of .300 while drilling 25-30 long balls per year.  He was set to debut that ability at the big league level last summer, but an ankle injury blocked him from doing so. Taveras had a small opportunity this spring to make the Cardinals 2014 Opening Day roster, but a hamstring injury this spring derailed that thought.  It’s frustrating and worrisome to see an elite-level prospect held back by injury, but even so, it’d be unwise to sleep on Oscar — among hitting prospects, he’s the most most capable of surfacing in the bigs and offering immediate impact.  ETA:  2014

2.  Carlos Martinez, RHP:  Martinez accrued enough service time in 2013 to graduate his prospect status, but he tossed just 28 IP and made only one start, and I’m having a hard time not including him here based on that technicality.  It’s between Martinez and Joe Kelly for the #5 spot in the St. Louis rotation, and while the vibe from Cardinals camp is that Kelly will win that role to begin the season, there’s zero doubt in my mind that Car-Mart will get an extended look in the rotation at some point this year.  Featuring some of the filthiest stuff in baseball (in more ways than one), the 22-year-old draws comps to Pedro Martinez.  He’ll be an exciting mixed league asset as soon as he’s starting games.  ETA:  2014

3.  Kolten Wong, 2B:  The stick-first 2B is ready for his full-time debut.  He ranked #12 in my top 25 for 2014 post, and here’s what I had to say:  “Wong is capable of batting .300+ in the bigs right now, and I don’t think that Mark Ellis will threaten his playing time too significantly. Grey ranks him #21 among 2nd basemen, but there’s potential here to outperform that outlook by a comfy margin.”  ETA:  2014

4.  Stephen Piscotty, OF:  With a plus-plus hit tool and above average pop, Piscotty’s tools profile resembles that of Taveras.  It’s a high-impact package, but overall, it lacks the oomph of Oscar’s.  Still, you can expect a .300 average and 20+ bombs from Piscotty, who posted a .295/.355/.464 line between High-A and Double-A in 2013.  The 23-year-old should be ready for a look in St. Louis before year’s end, but with the Cardinals depth in the outfield, it’s probably unreasonable to expect regular playing time from him at any point this season.  ETA:  Late 2014

5.  Alexander Reyes, RHP:  Reyes is yet to play full-season ball, so there’s a long way to go here, but the 19-year-old showed great promise in the Rookie-level Appy League last summer, whiffing 10.5 per nine in his professional debut.  The frame is projects nicely, and the fastball-curve combo is excellent.  There’s front-end upside here, but we’ll have a better gauge on Reyes’s outlook after his first full-season assignment is in the books.  ETA:  2017

6.  Carson Kelly, 3B/C:  Kelly’s fantasy stock received a sizable boost this offseason, when the Cardinals announced that they’d begin transitioning him from third base to catcher.  The 19-year-old has enough pop to knock 25+ homers at the highest level, and he’s not likely to hurt you in the AVG department.  ETA:  2017

7.  Marco Gonzalez, LHP:  I highlighted Gonzalez as a part of a pre-draft series last May/June. He tossed just 23 pro innings after signing, so we’ll defer to those notes:  “With the 19th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, the Cardinals selected Michael Wacha out of Texas A&M.  Wacha featured many attractive tools at the time, but his main attraction was the changeup, which was graded by most as the best in the 2012 class.  Well, St. Louis was at it again on Thursday, selecting Marco Gonzalez out of Gonzaga with the 19th overall pick.  Like Wacha, Gonzalez features a filthy changeup, the best in this year’s draft pool.  His size and fastball aren’t quite so impressive as Wacha’s, but the secondary stuff, and the change in particular, are weapons that would play above average at the highest level almost immediately.  Gonzalez’s low-90s fastball is the only thing holding him back from projecting like a high-impact starting pitcher, but if he can spot it well, he’ll do quite well given the off-speed stuff.  As it stands, it’s difficult to tab Gonzalez as a high-impact, high-ceiling guy, but he’s certainly a safe bet to reach the bigs as a quality mid-rotation arm.”  ETA:  2015

8.  Rob Kaminsky, LHP:  Nine picks after taking Gonzalez, the Cardinals went after another lefty arm in Kaminsky.  The 19-year-old offers big upside with his bat-missing FB/CB/CH arsenal. There’s still a lot to prove at the professional level, however, as he’s yet to appear above the instructional Gulf Coast League.  ETA:  2017

9.  Randal Grichuk, OF:  Grichuk arrived in the Cardinals org via LA as a part of the David Freese swap.  He was #4 in my Angels top 10, where I had this to say about him:  “Los Angeles took Grichuk with the 24th overall pick in the 2009 draft.  They had the next selection too, and choose Mike Trout at #25.  It’s been tough for the 22-year-old to escape the Trout comparisons, which seem pretty silly considering there isn’t a prospect alive who should be held up to Mike Trout.  In any case, Grichuk brings very real power-potential (22 HR at Double-A in 2013), but if that power is going to translate at the highest level, he’s going to need to improve his plate discipline and pitch recognition.”  The change of scenery should help put to rest the whole “Living in the shadow of Mike Trout” narrative.  ETA:  Late 2014

10.  James Ramsey, OF:  Drafted 23rd overall in 2012, Ramsey brings a polished approach and plus-plus makeup.  He’s not the tooled-up sort of prospect you’ve grown to expect from this Cardinals org, but his 2013 line draws a pretty clear picture of his potential:  .265/.373/.440, 16 HR, 9 SB through 112 games between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A.  ETA:  Late 2014

2013 St. Louis Cardinals MiLB Preview

From Around The Web

  1. Bruce LaBruce says:
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    I guess Mike Oneill is more of a side show than a prospect?
    Would you rather have strasburg at 18$ (plus some 1$ FA pitcher) or Wacha at 9 and Shark at 5 in a fairly deep mixed keeper league?

    • @Bruce LaBruce: O’Neill sure can hit & he brings a mature approach, but with zero pop & only above-average speed, he’s not cracking this T10… perhaps in another org he’d have a chance to be listed, but there’s not too much fantasy appeal…

      I’d rather have Strasburg.

  2. Nelson says:
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    Prospect Question, not about the Cards though- can Billy Burns make a Billy Hamilton type impact at some point in the next year or 2? Thx

    • @Nelson: No. As worried as I am about Hamilton’s hit tool & OBP potential, I’m 10x more worried about about Burns’s.

  3. Edward Scherzer Hands says:
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    Great write up. Should I keep taveras at round 17 this year and 14 next year
    Or Adam eaton around same rounds? 12 team h2h obp, runs, 1b, 2b, 3b, Hr, runs, sbs. I do not have
    A Na spot and taveras would be on my bench. Is it worth it?

    Thanks!

    • @Edward Scherzer Hands: In a keeper, I’d hold Taveras for upside’s sake… if you need OF help now, though, that changes things…

  4. Beastman says:
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    Rich keep getting richer.

    Speaking of rich, need one more team for a $100 RCL that’s drafting tonight at 5 pm est. Win the league, and you’ll be rich! (Sort of. Not really. But not a bad haul).

    Email me to join or for more info: joshua_eastman@yahoo.com

    • Shake N Bacon says:
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      @Beastman: Joined…I have no will power!

      • Beastman says:
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        @Shake N Bacon: haha, none of us do.

  5. John says:
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    Eaton and Straily or Jennings?

    • @John: Unless this is an extraordinarily deep league, I’d go with Jennings.

  6. Shake N Bacon says:
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    I’m excited for Wong this year. Doesn’t seem to be a lot of people are. Right now, I have him on my team to backup Pedroia and to sub in and out at MI with Villar. If he ends up being an everyday player with no horrible platoon splits, I’d like to trade Pedroia. You think Wong will be serviceable if he gets everyday at bats?

    Tavares is on the waiver wire in one of my leagues. I have quite a few OF’s already, but with Kemp and Bourn being two of the, is it worth rostering Tavares and having him take up a bench spot for a month or two?

    • @Shake N Bacon: I’m high on Wong — he’ll be a 3 category contributor if the PA’s are regular.

      The stash question is always a tricky one… my advice is to hold him only if he’s not preventing you from adding a piece that helps you move up the standings now… there’s not a clear path for playing time for Oscar — it’ll likely take an injury to someone — so stashing him might not pay off at all this year… Springer will likely rank ahead of him on my first power rankings stash list…

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @Scott Evans: Yeah, I don’t really have room for him now, as I need someone who will be starting while Bourn and Kemp get healthy. Once those guys are deemed healthy and playing everyday, I may make a move to stash Tavares.

        Thanks for the input Scott!

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @Shake N Bacon: you should be starting wong over villar.

  7. JFK says:
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    Great write-up!

    In two leagues, my infield looks like:
    2B – Carpenter
    3B – Machado
    SS – Bogaerts
    Util – Villar
    Bench – Castellanos

    Worried that Manny may need more time to heal up than initially anticipated – I dig Wong’s upside, but was equally high on Villar because my team needs speed. Arenado is also available in one of the leagues.
    Would you:
    A) Drop Villar, pick up Wong and slide Carpenter to 3B until Machado gets back;
    B) Drop Villar, pick up Arenado and slot him at 3B until Machado gets back;
    C) Hold until Castellanos gets 3B eligibility and slot him at 3B until Machado gets back.

    Castellanos is mostly a hold for me to see how he pans out, but I figure Arenado and Wong are ahead of him in terms of big league development, while Wong edges Arenado in terms of upside. Is this how you’d rank ‘em? Wong, Arenado, Castellanos, Villar

    Thanks!

  8. ididntwinabillion says:
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    With Bruce, Soriano, Victorino, Hunter and Fowler would you rather Melky in there over Fowler?
    I could drop Ryan Howard or Ike Davis for Melky if you think he having a good enough spring

  9. Count de Monetball says:
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    Great read Scott! Sad to see these previews are over but I know you’ve got lots more you’re going to be bringing over the season and I’m excited for each and everyone of those. Power rankings stash list? Dude that’s awesome! Did you read what I say? awesome!!! Excuse me while I go worship at my Scott Evans shrine!

    • @Count de Monetball: Haha thanks, Count. We did the Prospect Power Rankings last year & we’ll do it again this year… a biweekly look at the top 10 stashable MiLB players…

  10. Count de Monetball says:
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    Apparently I was working too much last year if I missed those posts! Totally look forward to them!

  11. goodfold2 says:
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    it was a fun 5 or so months with these.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: i’m putting in waiver claims for NA guys. Why do you have Stephenson lower than both Butler and Heaney?

      • @goodfold2: Because that list is 2014 specific & I don’t see Stephenson making an impact this year… long term is a different story…

  12. goodfold2 says:
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    @goodfold2: also, who’s better long term prospect Moran or Cecchini?

  13. Swfcdan says:
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    Im not happy man your Cards make the wrong call on C-Mart, wrong I tell ya! What is with their obsession over Joe Kelly, the mega-prospblock that he is?

    Grr that’s annoying and made no sense, I’m not likely gonna have to keep him down yet another year when finally he’ll be given his chance next year (because Joe Kelly sucks). Nope not even got a question just wanna express my anger…at least I managed to get Nick Williams after your last post, thats the only positive.

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @Swfcdan: Haha glad you used the ‘filthy’ pun with him in your writeup though.

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Swfcdan: See the Cards have yet another outfielders breathing down the others necks in Piscotty. Something with have to shake out with their OF situation soon, how long is Holliday under contract for? If still multiple years, you’d have to assume they look to shop him soon, maybe for a quality 3B.

        • @Swfcdan: Holliday is signed through 2017, and yeah, he could certainly be a trade candidate if his production begins to dwindle…

    • @Swfcdan: Makes sense if you consider that they might plan to have him finish the year in the rotation & compete in the playoffs in that role — he’s on workload limit this year…

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Scott Evans: True I guess in some sense, but when will they ever think of the fantasy owners (and when will you ever friggin disagree with them!)! Haha…Either way I’ve gotta keep him down on my farm haven’t I? No cutting him for the likes of Mookie Betts or Josh Bell, as long as his future is still at starter (or closer I guess).

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