Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

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.

 

Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.

Alex Reyes, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

Tommy John Kills Dreams, out for 2017 Season

Originally a high school third baseman from Elizabeth, NJ, Reyes moved to the Dominican Republic his senior year of high school to live with his grandmother in hopes he’d be discovered. Instead the tall righthander discovered his own raw pitching ability, and the rest as they say is history. After barely sneaking under his limits last year, Reyes has blossomed into the top pitching prospect in the game, surpassing Lucas Giolito and Tyler Glasnow, two pitchers ranked higher this time last year. Reyes brings to the table two double plus pitches, a devastating high 90’s to triple digit fastball, and a 70 grade curveball, as nasty as any in the game. He mixes in an average change, that he’s shown increasingly better feel for each season, and uses effectively to play up his two plus plus offerings. It’s already been announced that Reyes will be a part of the Cards rotation, and he’s certainly a frontrunner for NL rookie of the year.

Luke Weaver, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/AA

A 2014 first round pick out of FSU, Weaver returned from a broken wrist to his non-pitching hand in 2016, and pushed his way to the majors by mid-August. Blessed with number two starter upside, Weaver mixes a mid-90’s fastball with an above average change, as well as average curve and cutter offerings. He throws all of his pitches for strikes, and pounds the zone frequently with double plus control. His swing and miss stuff is present, exemplified by his high K per 9 totals between AA and the majors last season. If he can continue to refine his approach and improve the depth and spin on his curve we could be looking at a very nice one-two punch with Reyes. Should start the season in AAA Memphis with a short path to the majors when needed.

Harrison Bader, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA

After a very good collegiate career with the Florida Gators the Cardinals took the outfielder in the third round of the 2015 draft. Upon his first taste of pro ball Bader immediately impressed, hitting 11 homers and leading all 2015 draftees. He followed up his strong debut with an impressive showing in 2016, despite an aggressive assignment to AA Springfield. There Bader slashed .286/.350/.491 with 13 homers and 9 steals in 318 at bats, before being promoted to AAA Memphis in early July. After struggling in AAA, Bader was demoted back to AA in late August and finished out his season there, adding three more homers and a couple steals. Bader returned a month later in the Arizona Fall League and impressed once again hitting .304/.349/.430 with 2 homers and 4 steals for the Desert Dogs. More than likely Bader should see assignment to AAA Memphis out of camp with a chance for promotion to the majors by June or July. He poses across the board above average offensive skills, with many scouts seeing him as a future lead off hitter. Needs to improve his plate approach a bit, and he’s not the most efficient base runner (13 caught stealing in 26 attempts).

Delvin Perez, SS | Age: 18 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk

After dropping due to a failed PED test the Cardinals showed once again why they’re playing chess when other teams are playing checkers, snatching Perez up with the 23rd overall pick in the first round. He responded by hitting .294/.352/.393 with 12 steals in the Gulf Coast League as a 17 year old. His combination of hit tool, speed, and natural fielding ability give him one of the top 5 upsides in last year’s draft. If the PED stuff bothers you, I’ll gladly take Perez when he drops, and hope the juice is still flowing through his blood stream.

Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.

Jack Flaherty, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+

A former high school teammate of Lucas Giolito and Max Fried, Flaherty is neither’s equal as a pitching prospect. After ranking highly on many Cardinals lists a year ago he tumbled off a few top 10’s most notably Baseball America’s. While he brings a starters build, three above average offerings, and plus control, he’s struggled to put it all together to cement his place as the top arm behind Reyes in the system. Still not one to forget about, and certainly wouldn’t be dropping him.

Carson Kelly, C | Age: 23 | ETA: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/AA

Possibly the most gifted defensive catcher in the minor leagues, Kelly a converted third baseman has studied under the tutelage of current and former Cardinals backstops Yadier Molina and Mike Matheny. While I could go on and on about his receiving skills, game calling, and pitch framing I won’t. I’ll simply say that he’s an excellent defensive catcher and leave it at that. At the plate which is all we really care about for our purposes Kelly is an above average hitter with good bat to ball skills, and average power. Should spend most of the season at AAA Memphis but make no mistake he is Yadier’s heir.

Paul DeJong, 2B/3B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA

An unheralded power bat from the 2015 draft, DeJong hit 9 homers in his first taste of proball. He then handled an aggressive assignment to AA well, connecting for 22 more longballs. He has a quick bat, puts the ball in the air and uses his pull side approach to get the most out of his average raw power.

Austin Gomber, LHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AA/A+

One of the breakout pitchers of the Arizona Fall League, Gomber works off his rainbow curveball, and plus control. He’s one of those prospects where his production outpaces his scouting reports and leaves you scratching your head as to why he’s not more universally liked. Never going to be a superstar, but has a chance to surpass the “5th starter” tags.

Others: Marcos Gonzalez, Andrew Morlaes, John Gant, Connor Jones, Ronnie Williams

Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs

Sandy Alcantara, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A+/A

A big righty with an upper 90’s fastball that could touch triple digits, that mixes an above average change, and a fringe curve. He’s not without bullpen risk, but not due to a lack of innings, as he’s proven quite durable so far. Alcantara’s biggest question marks come in the form of his mechanics repeatability often leading to his fastball working too high in the zone and the walks coming. If he can tighten up his mechanics he has top of the rotation upside, if not he may end up a high leverage reliever.

Magneuris Sierra, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-

A smooth fielding athlete with good bat to ball skills, Sierra showed better in his second run at Midwest League with Peoria. He has a quick compact left handed swing more designed to hit singles than for power, though he has the legs to make that work. Stole 31 bases in 2016 which was a career high, but he’s not exactly efficient as a base stealer having been caught 17 times. If Sierra is to take the next step, and put his skillset to it’s best use he’s going to need to improve his pitch recognition skills and ability to take a walk.

Edmundo Sosa, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A+/A-

A smooth-fielding shortstop with a solid bat, Sosa struggled at times last year in the Midwest league with Peoria, before rebounding somewhat upon promotion to the Florida State League. He’s never going to be a power hitter, but he’s shown impressive understanding of the strike zone at earlier stops in his career. Not the most exciting prospect for fantasy but one to be aware of in deeper setups.

Dakota Hudson, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: Rk

Hudson was one of my favorite arms in the 2016 draft, and I had him going much earlier than he was taken in my mocks. Then again my mocks were based on sense and reason, unlike the actual MLB draft. Here’s what I wrote about Hudson in my first year player draft rankings. “The arm strength and projectability of Hudson has been well known since his time as a Tennessee high school talent. However, he opted to attend Mississippi State, where he honed his plus 94-97 MPH, and nasty cutter/slider breaking pitch. He mixes that with average change and curve offerings, but throws all four for strikes. With a durable frame and deceptive, if not bizarre delivery. He’s one of those players, where you read the scouting reports and wonder, “why didn’t he go earlier”. Scouts are bat shizz, that’s why.”

Junior Fernandez, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A+/A-

Alas a small righty your Uncle Ralph does not like. A player a had a great deal of hope for this time last year, but he’s shown no ability to throw strikes or really do anything but just throw as hard as he can with his eyes closed. Great baseball name though.

Eliezer Alvarez, 2B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A-

A heady hitter with a clean balanced swing from the left side, Alvarez implies an all fields approach. By far Alvarez’s top tool from a fantasy perspective is his baserunning ability. He’s no burner, but his advanced instincts mean he’ll always steal bases at every level.

Randy Ar(r)ozarena, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: N/A

Another Cuban lotto ticket with little game reps since 2014, so it’s tough to project or know just who Ar(r)ozarena is. Hell, I have to put an R in parenthesis because I’m not sure of the correct way to spell his name even. What I’ve heard is he’s a gap to gap hitter with above average speed, and the ability to play multiple positions.

Others: Nick Plummer, Jake Woodford, Dylan Carlson, Bryce Denton, Victor Garcia, Jonathan Machado

Check Out Our Minor League Preview Index for all articles and podcasts on all 30 teams!

   
  1. malamoney says:
    (link)

    Do you know what they call Harrison on England?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @malamoney: Master Bader?

  2. Raoul Duke says:
    (link)

    Who is your preference between Alex Reyes and Julio Urias long term?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Raoul Duke: I think it might be Reyes. His stuff is so over the top electric. He should be dominate from day 1. He’s also a few years older. It’s so close, but I’d rather own Reyes.

  3. Lord Beddict the Elder blessed says:
    (link)

    They say it’s a Cardinal sin to steal another mans whole style and run with it. With that being said, how do my balls taste

    – Lord

  4. Big Odio says:
    (link)

    Prospect Jesus? Sounds like a potential gardner.

    Fucking Cardinals. Their floorboards look like other teams specs.

    Alcantara went in the first round of our rejects draft. Thoughts?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Big Odio: In that draft anything goes. It’s a really bizzaro setup.

  5. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
    (link)

    Hey Ralph! I think I know your answer to this, but in a keep 7 forever, would you trade your $3 Moncada for a $10 JD Mart?

    Other 6 keepers are Rizzo, Betts, Desmond, Story, Dahl, Darvish. Thanks!

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
        (link)

        @Ralph Lifshitz: thanks! That’s why the JD offer is tempting, puts me in a really nice position for a 2017 run…

  6. Branta says:
    (link)

    I am in a keeper league, and Reyes is probably going back into the pool as I only get 8 keepers not 9 like I originally thought. ADP has Reyes going at around the 11-12th round, but in my league the first overall pick is actually the 109th guy off the board. So, my question is…do I target Reyes in the first 4 rounds? Or do you think I can get away with letting him slip to the 6th or 10th? (I don’t have picks in the 5, 7, 8, or 9th rounds due to keepers).

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Branta: If it’s a keeper league is target him early. If you need a pitcher he has to be among the top options.

  7. Danny says:
    (link)

    Hey Danny,

    In a 12 team H2h Dynasty, would you trade away Benintendi for Cespedes or Bellinger for Carpenter?

    • Danny says:
      (link)

      @Danny:

      Oops, I meant hi Ralph! I am Danny! Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Danny: Benintendi for Cespedes

  8. Jason says:
    (link)

    Who would you take in minor league draft (order please): Yuli, Soto, McKenzie, Morejon,.

    Thank you!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Jason: Mckenzie, Yuli, Soto, and Morejon

  9. Lance

    Lance says:
    (link)

    More of a media / morals / theory question here Ralph…

    How much of an impact do you think the failed PED test by Perez will affect his career and perception inside – outside of the STL market if he becomes a staple of this team in 3-4 years?

    Think it’ll dissipate by then? Or linger?

    I almost feel it will just be another knock on the Cardinals franchise as whole, rewarding a PED user early in his career, and make the fanbase even more bitter whenever an non STL-er brings it up.

    Nice column.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Lance: I wouldn’t care honestly. Is there any fan base that hasn’t cheered a PED user in some way, shape, or form over the last several decades?

      If he continues to play hard and make progress, I doubt it sticks around. Look at players like David Ortiz and Nelson Cruz.

      Meh, there’s plenty of teams that have cheated. I’m a Pats fan so you know I care little. He’s extremely talented.

  10. Mark says:
    (link)

    Paul De Jong is moving to SS next year. How does that affect his fantasy value?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Mark: Certainly the bat plays more there than at second or third.

  11. thorbs says:
    (link)

    Nice writeup, I’ve owned Bader since he was drafted and hope to see a bit more patience from him this year…I think he’s got good Kole Calhoun potential (maybe less BB) to be a later round glue guy in fantasy.

    Q about prospects close to the show: The owner of Benintendi and Bellinger in my dynasty league has been offered a top-50 and top-100 hitter for each, respectively. I’d love to get either of those guys, but really struggle to value them. I was thinking of offering Ozuna and a lesser prospect.

    • nick the dick says:
      (link)

      @thorbs: I think Joey’s other offers are better than that.

      • thorbs says:
        (link)

        @nick the dick: Dunno who Joey is, but I was getting at how to value them with league settings. If the Beni owner gives him up, he’s trading a minor league keeper for a major leaguer, and allowing whoever gets Beni to keep an extra major leaguer as well, which skews their value.

        Also worth noting that Beni will most likely lose rookie eligibility, and Bellinger won’t, so there are keeper ramifications to any deal with prospects, esp with the draft coming up.

        • nick the dick says:
          (link)

          @thorbs: I just read through the Razzball comments and remembered a commenter named Joey just asking Grey in the last post about trading Beni for Cespedes or Bellinger for Carpenter in a dynasty and hoping that you were 7 degrees of Razzballing about the same guy with these offers, as they seemed about on par with a top 50 and top 100 player as you said. But yeah, if not, i’ll be over here kicking rocks while you listen to Prospect Tupac’s advice. Ozuna and a lesser spec for Bellinger is worth a shot tho…I know this probably didn’t help!

          • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
            (link)

            @nick the dick: nobody’s safe! Haha

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @thorbs: Id want more than Ozuna for Benintendi, as for Bellinger maybe someone does that. I wouldn’t but maybe someone does

  12. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
    (link)

    i don’t know where yr seeing reyes as “already in the rotation” but nobody told the local STL rag, who is pretty much owned by the cardinals, as of yesterday it was remarked in said rag about a “battle” between reyes and wacha for last spot. i’m sure reyes gets it SOME point, but depthcharts isn’t showing reyes having anything yet either.

  13. Patrick says:
    (link)

    Hey Ralph,

    So I am in our FYPD and this is the second year for the league existence. 240 players were owned going into the draft. Its a 20 team h2h 6X6 (obp and holds). My second pick is approaching. I am looking for best available player. I have an extensive list. Any advice is much appreciated.

    Players available are: Taveras, Woodruff, Sixto, Yuli, F. Perez, Whitley, Mendez, Soroka, Sisco, D. Perez, Buehler, Soto.

  14. Brian says:
    (link)

    6×6 dynasty h2h league with 16 teams. use QS instead of W, k/bb and ops as extra cats. finished 1st 2 years ago, 2nd last year. my closers are oh, melancon, and madson (for the moment at least). other MRs i have to use for ratios and possible closers are thornburg, neris, and bedrosian. I’ve found that 3 closers usually gives me a pretty good chance to win the category most weeks.

    been offered wade davis for my 1st round pick (will be 15th out of 16 teams picking in first rd) in our minor league draft. the draft includes players drafted in 2016, plus intl signees (like maitan) and existing unowned minors players (acuna, keller, leody taveras, juan soto, sandy alcantara, Szapucki, kaprielian are some of the notables). Through promotions and trades my minor league roster is pretty weak at the moment. Whoever i draft will end up being my best prospect. Would you deal the 1st to pick up wade davis or is that too much for an incremental upgrade?

Comments are closed.