Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (7) | 2013 (1) | 2012 (12) | 2011 (24) | 2010 (29)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] NL Central
AAA: [79-64] Pacific Coast League – Memphis
AA: [68-72] Texas League – Springfield
A+: [76-63] Florida State League – Palm Beach
A: [72-67] Midwest League – Peoria
A(ss): [48-28] New York-Penn League – State College
Heading into 2015, the Cardinals have another strong farm system featuring interesting fantasy plays for the current season as well as down the road. As always one of the strengths of this system is its pitching, but there are also a handful of attractive outfielders. There’s plenty of young talent emerging on the major league squad as well. Kolten Wong is a sexy pick this year at second base and fellow sophomore Carlos Martinez could break camp in the rotation. It’s hard not to mention Oscar Taveras, who we lost before we really had the chance to see what he could do.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Stephen Piscotty, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015
Piscotty might not be as flashy as some of the other outfielders in the Top 50, but he’s a good bet for a high average and enough power to matter (think 15-20 homers). He handled his business in the PCL as a 23-year-old and his plate discipline numbers really stand out. While he’s a no-brainer in dynasty formats, Piscotty could also get some love in redrafts later this year with a late-2015 ETA. The only fly in the ointment is the arrival of Jason Heyward, who at least temporarily blocks Piscotty’s chance to play right field for the Cards anytime soon.
2. Marco Gonzales, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Gonzales should have some fantasy value in 2015, but he’s going to be on the fringe of the rotation most likely. He might get the Carlos Martinez treatment – bouncing between the majors and minors, starting in Triple-A while getting spot-starts or relief appearances in the bigs. He should be useful in either role this season, but he’s a better play for 2016 when he’ll have a clearer path to the rotation. Long-term, he has #3 starter upside with a double-plus changeup in his arsenal.
3. Alexander Reyes, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Reyes is a farther away than Gonzales which puts some risk into the equation. But he also has more upside with a #2 ceiling and the potential for more strikeouts. If your team is competing now, you’re going to be more interested in the safety and proximity of Gonzales. If your team is in a partial or full rebuild, the upside of Reyes might be more your speed with a bigger payoff down the line. Reyes has a double-plus fastball and a plus curveball and he’ll get a chance to test those pitches against the more advance hitters of High-A in 2015.
4. Randal Grichuk, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Grichuk doesn’t have some of the overall tools as the the other hitting prospects listed here, but his proximity to MLB playing time gives his value a boost. Slated as a bench bat to start the 2015 season, the 23-year-old outfielder has plus power and could make an interesting reserve piece in NL-only formats or deeper dynasty leagues. While we wait for the man behind him on the depth chart (Piscotty) don’t overlook the current value of Grichuk. The big question marks are his approach (could limit his power) and of course just how much playing time he’ll actually see. Steamer’s giving him just under 250 plate appearances with eight homers. That’s not too shabby.
5. Magneuris Sierra, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2018
Magneuris sounds like one of those strong man contestants, better suited for hauling cars around by his teeth whilst juggling maidens than hitting baseballs. But Sierra is pretty damn good at the latter, so he’ll stick with it I guess. Like the Cardinals needed more toolsy outfielders, Sierra led the Gulf Coast League in runs, hits, and total bases as an 18-year-old. He plays center field and hits from the left side, bringing a nice mix of good contact skills and speed. If you like to get in on some specs at the ground floor, Sierra is a name to grab before he plays his first full season in 2015.
6. Aledmys Diaz, SS | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015
This guy is still kind of a mystery and a shoulder injury limited his time on the field in 2014. The 24-year-old shortstop is set to become a free agent in 2018 – the same year as current shortstop Peralta – but he’ll cost the Cardinals much less money since he’s owed only $2.5 million per year. Although he’s younger, Diaz could be in the same boat as the Dodgers’ Guerrero – solid utility type but might not have quite enough to be the everyday answer. He’ll get some at-bats this spring and 2015 should provide more insight into what the Cards actually have here. Dynasty leaguers are best to hold for now.
7. Jack Flaherty, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018
Flaherty has mid-rotation starter upside with three potentially plus offerings in his fastball, slider, and changeup. The Cardinals selected him in the first round of the 2014 draft (34th overall) and he’s a good example of the pitching depth in this years’ dynasty first-year player drafts. He doesn’t have the flashy stuff of Kolek or the upside of Hoffman, but there’s nothing wrong with waiting a bit on an arm this year and taking a guy like Flaherty. He could jump to full season ball thanks to his impressive command.
8. Rob Kaminsky, LHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Kaminksy has the potential for a plus fastball that pairs with a double-plus curve, promising enough strikeouts to be fantasy relevant even in the middle of the Cardinals’ rotation. He’s a smallish lefty with some bullpen risk, but Kaminsky handled his first full season of pro ball in 2014 and should join Reyes in High-A to start this season. I’m partial to lefties – especially when they’re from Jersey – so I’m sure I’ll own shares of Kaminsky at some point for those reasons alone.
9. Charlie Tilson, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Tilson’s big ticket tool is his speed (and defense but who cares), which grades as plus and could lead to 20+ stolen bases at the major league level. He got his first taste of Double-A in 2014 after slashing .308/.357/.414 in 89 games at High-A Palm Beach. He’s likely to return to Springfield to start 2015 and could see another bump in value with a good year there. St. Louis gets a lot of praise for their development of pitching, but Tilson is a good example of the depth the Cardinals system has in the outfield as well. A comp that probably won’t get you too excited is Peter Bourjos (defense, speed).
10. Malik Collymore, 2B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019
I love a good high-upside/distant ETA prospect as much as the next guy, but by the time Collymore makes it to the majors I will have likely overstayed my welcome here at Razzball, ending it all in some epic flame war on a message board after losing my shizz with a commenter. But I digress. Collymore has a nice combination of power and speed to possibly make it worth the wait. Best case scenario he stays at second base and continues to show solid offensive skills as he climbs the ranks. Dynasty leagues with deep farms should grab him before he gets more attention in full season ball.