Cards Prospects: Best of the Rest: Community

The first of three looks at Cards prospects that missed our Top 40 with the message board community.

Editor's note: Our Top 40 St. Louis Cardinals prospect countdown would not have been as successful had two leaders from our message board community not stepped forward once again. "Gagliano" and "BobReed" wrote over 40 player capsules, speaking for the scores of individual voters. They did a tremendous job and I greatly appreciate their contributions.

Following is the overall top 40, with the community's list through #46 next to it. (Remember that we each ranked 46 names to develop a consolidated list of 40.) Highlighted are the unique names from each list.

Group Top 40 Community
1 Oscar Taveras Oscar Taveras
2 Shelby Miller Shelby Miller 
3 Trevor Rosenthal Trevor Rosenthal
4 Michael Wacha Carlos Martinez
5 Carlos Martinez Michael Wacha
6 Kolten Wong Matt Adams
7 Matt Adams Kolten Wong
8 Tyrell Jenkins Tyrell Jenkins
9 Anthony Garcia Anthony Garcia
10 Carson Kelly 10 Carson Kelly
11 Jordan Swagerty 11 Greg Garcia
12 Stephen Piscotty 12 Jordan Swagerty
13 James Ramsey 13 Starlin Rodriguez
14 Seth Maness 14 Seth Maness
15 Ryan Jackson 15 Pete Kozma
16 Greg Garcia 16 Breyvic Valera
17 Starlin Rodriguez 17 Ryan Jackson
18 Patrick Wisdom 18 John Gast
19 Breyvic Valera 19 Stephen Piscotty
20 John Gast 20 Patrick Wisdom
21 Charlie Tilson 21 Kevin Siegrist
22 Kevin Siegrist 22 Charlie Tilson
23 Adron Chambers 23 James Ramsey
24 Sam Freeman  24 Boone Whiting
25 Boone Whiting 25 Adron Chambers
26 Eduardo Sanchez 26 Eduardo Sanchez
27 Eric Fornataro 27 Sam Freeman
28 Maikel Cleto 28 Maikel Cleto
29 Pete Kozma 29 Victor De Leon
30 Seth Blair 30 Dixon Llorens
31 C.J. McElroy 31 C.J. McElroy
32 Mike O'Neill 32 Eric Fornataro
33 Dixon Llorens 33 Tim Cooney
34 Adam Ehrlich 34 Seth Blair
35 Tyler Lyons 35 Lee Stoppelman
36 Colin Walsh 36 Audry Perez
37 Victor DeLeon 37 Adam Ehrlich
38 Audry Perez 38 Steve Bean
39 Tim Cooney 39 Alex Mejia
40 Keith Butler 40 Tyler Lyons
41 Mike O'Neill
42 Silfredo Garcia
43 Colin Walsh
44 Keith Butler 
45 Jorge Rondon
46 Robert Stock

The community had a perfect batting average in the voting process in that every player named to the consolidated top 40 had also been among their top 46. Further, only one of the six players highlighted on their list is unique to it – Robert Stock.

The other five were also named on the other voters' lists as follows: Lee Stoppelman (also CariocaCardinal #40), Jorge Rondon (also Walton #35), Steve Bean (also Walton #43 and CariocaCardinal #39), Alex Mejia (also Walton #45), and Silfredo Garcia (also Walton #46). Despite the considerable support, all five still fell short of the consolidated top 40.

From the six names above, Gagliano will highlight Stock here, the unique community selection, as well four of the other five. Brian Walton will cover Rondon in his companion article to this one (for subscribers).

Commentary from Gagliano follows.

I am a lucky man. With 40 prospects already named, it would have been easy to imagine me stuck writing about five guys who stood no chance of seeing the big leagues. Instead, I can see plausible paths for four of these players and can squint and hope for the fifth. That said, there are prospects about whom I have similar feelings that Brian and Carioca will be covering.

Bottom line, the Cards' farm system is deep. If you are new to following the farm, I encourage you to look not just at the prospects who get the most publicity (though that is great fun at this point in Cards' history!), but at all of the farmhands spread across the whole system. There are guys who don't get much ink yet are great fun to follow, sometimes all the way to the big leagues. Follow them now and you can say you knew of them when!

Lee Stoppelman (Community #35)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA LHR 5/24/1990 6-2 210 L L 2012 24th

School: Central Missouri State University

Selected 2012 stats

BAT 2 1 0.79 1.13 22 0 7 34.1 23 5 0 7 49 1.43 0.183 0.291

Lee Stoppelman was the community's 35th ranked prospect. Drafted out of Division II ball in the 24th round, the native Missourian looks like he might have flown under the radar in that the Cards were able to draft a sleeper.

The 6-foot-2 southpaw simply dominated hitters in the New York-Penn League. In 34 1/3 innings, he allowed only 23 hits and seven walks. And none of he hits was a home run. And, um, Stoppelman fanned 49 batters and allowed only a 0.79 ERA. Lefties only hit .156 against him. Right-handed hitters did better, batting all of .191.

A report on our community's message board was that Stoppelman was throwing in the high 80's to low 90's with a good change up. His breaking ball might become an out pitch, but reportedly needs work. He is going to turn 23 in May, so he will need to move quickly.

Given the early success and Stoppelman's leftiness, he should have the opportunity.

Steve Bean (Community #38)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA C 9/15/1993 6-2 190 L R 2012 1s

School: Rockwall High School, Rockwall, Tex.

Selected 2012 stats

JC 0.125 0.191 80 6 10 4 1 5 15 32 2 0.242 0.263 0.213 0.476
GCL 0.320 0.410 50 8 16 4 0 7 8 11 0 0.399 0.424 0.400 0.824
Total 0.200   130 14 26 8 1 12 23 43 2   0.325 0.285 0.609

Steve Bean was ranked 38th by the community. Have we ever seen someone drafted among the first 100 players who did not make the top 40? Bean was drafted 59th last summer.

He is a lefty hitting catcher who is said to be extremely good on defense. He played last year at age 18. In 50 at bats in the rookie level GCL, Bean managed an one-base percentage of .424 and slugging percentage of .400. If that's all you knew, where would you rank this kid?

But we knew one more thing. Bean had 80 at bats in the Appalachian League with Johnson City, where he managed only a .125 BA and fanned 32 times. My guess is that this (and the presence of some other really good prospects) caused Bean to drop.

But given he plays at a premium position and apparently plays very well, Bean should get a long, long time to develop at least enough of a hitting tool to manage a backup position in the big leagues.

Alex Mejia (Community #39)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA SS 1/18/1991 6-1 200 R R 2012 4th

School: University of Arizona

Selected 2012 stats

BAT 0.250 0.280 96 9 24 5 1 7 2 13 1 0.281 0.265 0.333 0.599

Alex Mejia was the community's 39th prospect. He was drafted in the fourth round from Arizona. Mejia's strengths are reported to be excellent defense and leadership skills. He hit a respectable .250 at Batavia, albeit with just a .265 OBP and .333 SLG in 96 at-bats.

Unfortunately, Mejia tore his ACL and missed the bulk of the season. While some expressed concern about the injury, others talked about the relatively routine recovery from ACL tears in other sports, and I'm inclined to agree with the latter.

The bigger question is whether the 21-year old (he turns 22 on January 18) will be able to hit professional pitching. I see some similarity to Bean here - a reportedly strong defensive player at a premium defensive position, but with some questions about hitting.

Mejia, too, should have some time to develop the swing at least to the point where he could serve as a utility infielder, the sort of player near and dear to my heart given the player for whom I named my presence at The Cardinal Nation!

Robert Stock (Community #46)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR RHR 11/21/1989 6-1 190 L R 2009 2nd

School: University of Southern California

Selected 2012 stats

QC 5 2 4.56 5.48 38 2 0 71.0 61 46 9 48 66 1.35 0.233 0.269


Robert Stock was the community's 46th prospect. I think we might have underestimated him. Drafted in the second round in 2009, Stock struggled as a lefty hitting catcher, with just a .667 OPS across three seasons. But when he was drafted, some saw his pitching as his ticket to the big leagues, though Stock wanted to try catching first.

Now he is a righty pitcher who is reported to throw in the low- to mid-90's with a good changeup. On the downside, Stock (at Quad Cities) walked 48 in his 71 innings, and he managed just a 4.56 ERA, though he did fan 66. The walk rate did not really improve from before until after the all-star break.

But this is a guy with a live arm and limited experience, so there is reason to imagine that Stock might really come on strong as he gains experience. Some posters reported that he had developed late in a way that would have him start the 2013 season in the rotation for Palm Beach, a forgiving league for a pitcher learning control.

Silfredo Garcia (Community #42)

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR  RHS 7/19/1991 6-2 170 R R 2010 FA

Home: Puerto Cabello, Venezuela

Selected 2012 stats

GCL 2 0 1.54 1.70 4 4 0 23.1 12 4 1 0 27 2.00 0.143 0.196
JC 4 2 2.93 2.36 7 7 0 43.0 38 19 3 4 45 3.25 0.226 0.292
Total 6 2 2.44   11 11 0 66.1 50 23 4 4 72 2.71 0.198  

Silfredo Garcia is the Cardinals' 42nd-best prospect according to the community. His stats were extremely impressive. In 66 1/3 innings spread between the Gulf Coast League and Johnson City, he allowed only 50 hits, four home runs, and four (yes, four) walks while fanning 72 and carrying a 2.71 ground out/fly out ratio. This was the Venezuelan righty's third season, and he put up some good stats last year, too.

Of the five on whom I am reporting, I probably see Garcia as having the toughest path to the big leagues. Reports are that he is not a hard thrower, and having turned 21 in July, he was pitching against some fairly young hitters. In that case, he might have benefited from experience. Lefties managed a .429 batting average against him. We willl see how he fares against more experienced hitters.

In closing
And with that, I am done. I want to thank my insightful co-writer for the community, BobReed. And I also want to thank the community. Work took me away from the ranking process for much of this year, but it was great fun to read through all of the contributions. Thanks also to Brian Walton for letting me have this opportunity.

To reference our entire list of top 40 Cardinals prospects for 2013 and read about each individual player, click here. You can also learn about each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections and much more.

Next up: This article series continues with Best of the Rests from Brian Walton and CariocaCardinal, then our All-Prospect Team, the highest-ranked players at each position. We then dive into the numbers behind the top 40, take a look at our best and worst selections from 2012 and the top prospects by level of play.

There's more! Monthly and quarterly subscribers who upgrade to our annual pass will receive in the spring the 2013 FOX Sports NEXT Prospects Guide, a $4.95 value, for FREE. The perfect hardcopy companion to "40 Days" includes the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.

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