Coming off a start in which he whiffed a career high 12 batters, Brent Honeywell continued his scorching hot start last night. The righty went 7 innings, allowing 1 run, 1 hit, and striking out 8 in the process. Now at AA Montgomery, Honeywell looks to ride his varied arsenal, including his infamous screwball, to the show by the end of the year. The only real question with Honeywell at the moment is, just how aggressive the Rays get moving him along? His control has always been elite, leading to walk rates in the 4-6% range. And while the ability to generate swings and misses has always been there, it’s noticeably ticked up this season. The time to buy Honeywell might be now as he continues his assault on the AA Southern League. I’m never one to invest much in a pitching prospect, particularly one in the AL East, but Honeywell is the rare exception.

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We’re coming to an end ladies and gentlemen, we’re almost through these damned system reviews, but not before we get through a couple we’ve been dying to talk about. Why are we excited to talk about Cardinals and Mariners? Couple of names for you Alex Reyes, Harrison Bader, Delvin Perez, Tyler O’Neill, Kyle Lewis, and many more. Lot of top 100 names to touch on, and some mixed league relevant guys too. I go on a rant about Tyler O’neill’s lack of love from the industry, and we make fun of Harold Reynolds making fun of the Baseball America guys. It’s our usual hijinks and prospect obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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Wait, what? This doesn’t look like Halph…SIGH, yucky words from Ralph. TL;DR…. Now that we got that out of the way. Yes, this Saturday you get yet another verbose, yet informative minor league rundown from Prospect Jesus himself. Not to worry, we just flip-flopped days, your weekly dose of the prospect podcast is coming tomorrow. Today we dig into the useful but always a little boring St. Louis Cardinals system. Only this time we got some sweet sweet muy caliente at the top of the system, with at least 4 members of my forthcoming Top 100 (dropping February 22nd Shameless plug). With Alex Reyes on the cusp of the major league stardom, and Luke Weaver and Harrison Bader not too far behind, the future remains bright in “The Lou”. Isn’t it always? Seems one generation leaves, and another comes up right behind it. Death, taxes, and the St. Louis Cardinals player development machine just keeps rolling along. It should come as no surprise that the 2016 draft yielded yet another strong crop of players including wunderkind Delvin Perez, and personal favorite Dakota Hudson. Not to worry there’s plenty more to discuss, and a lot of good names to be cognizant of for dynasty league managers. So off we go, let the trumpets blow and hold on because the driver of this mission is a pro. The Ruler’s back. The Top Cardinals Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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So here we are, the final Minor League Preview of the offseason, and just in time for pitchers and catchers. It’s been a long grueling road that spanned four months, two writers, and countless late nights, study, and pizza rolls. Only punk rock pizza rolls, none of that commercial shizz! All of this has led us to today, and your payoff….THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS!!! Okay, so it’s not that exciting, unless you like far away hitting specs, and loads of floorbored material arms. As far as I know the Cards Floorboreds do not cause cancer, but the same can’t be said about the Angels. As for the St. Louie’ system, they’ve certainly churned out their share of high end talent over the years, and 2015 was no different. As the Redbirds graduated two top half of the order type bats in Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. I still can’t help but think that 2015 should have been the year of Oscar Taveres. My prospector eyes still weep for Oscar. Regardless, there’s still plenty to be aware of in the higher and lower levels, and a couple of beachy specs too! No not Brandon Beachy, because then their arms would be falling off. The Cards leave that to the northern most birds, the Blue Jays. Ha! Prospector humor kills me!! Let’s take a look at the St. Louis Cardinals Prospects, shall we?

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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.

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

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [88-74] NL Central
AAA: [57-87] Pacific Coast League – Memphis
AA: [77-61] Texas League – Springfield
A+: [64-72] Florida State League – Palm Beach
A: [68-71] Midwest League – Quad Cities (Peoria beginning 2013)
A(ss): [44-32] New York-Penn League — Batavia (State College beginning 2013)

Arizona Fall League PlayersSurprise Saguaros
Seth Blair (RHP); Kevin Siegrist (LHP); Boone Whiting (RHP); Mike O’Neill (OF); Colin Walsh (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Matt Carpenter (UTIL); Tony Cruz (C); Lance Lynn (RHP); Joe Kelly (RHP)

The Run Down
This is baseball’s best system, and it’s really not that close. The amount of high-impact talent concentrated at the upper levels of this farm system is nothing short of remarkable — I ranked seven Cardinals prospects in my Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects for 2013. Much of the credit here needs to go toward Jeff Luhnow, former VP of Player Procurement in St. Louis, current GM in Houston. But the impact of General Manager John Mozeliak cannot be denied — since he took over in 2007, he’s brought tremendous balance to this mid-market club, which is primed for big league success for the foreseeable future. Mozeliak signed a well-deserved three-year extension just a few days ago. The Cardinals are World Series contenders at Major League level, they possess the best farm in the game, and their fantasy contributions are plentiful, as usual. Swoon.

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