TCN Cards Prospect #33: Kenny Peoples-Walls

How will the move from shortstop to the outfield affect the 2013 Appalachian League all-star?

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR OF 8/16/1993 6-0 180 R R 2011 4th

School: Westchester High School, Los Angeles, CA

Selected 2013 stats

JC 0.300 0.408 237 41 71 11 7 35 15 73 9 0.379 0.352 0.468 0.820

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (24): First-time ranked in the community top 40, Kenny Peoples-Walls had by far his best season as a professional baseball player in 2013.

Peoples-Walls really turned the corner with a tremendous offensive showing in which he hit .300/.352/.468 with seven home runs, 35 RBI and stolen bases in only 237 at bats. Though he did have an occasional stretch of not making consistent contact, Peoples-Walls was on the brink of finishing in the top 10 in the Appalachian League in a number of offensive categories, including batting average, slugging, OPS, runs, home runs and RBI.

When reading about Peoples-Walls, the first thing that comes up is his raw athletic abilities - and in 2013 he started to translate some of that onto the field. Because of that ability and several shortstops coming behind him that project to be better, the organization decided to switch him to the outfield during instructs. That move from the shortstop position obviously takes down his value as a prospect but it will be exciting to see how much range he has catching fly balls.

A scout gave me the impression that he was not thrilled with Peoples-Walls' defense at short (before the move to the outfield) or his plate approach. Yet he makes hard contact when he connects. The scout saw him as an organization guy if his approach does not improve.

If Peoples-Walls makes enough progress at one of the corners and impresses in the spring, it seems possible that he could head north with a full-season club. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (39): While I agree with the community that Peoples-Walls earned his first placement on this prospect list following his third year eligible, we differ by a considerable amount as to the best location - 15 spots to be exact.

I do not want to take anything away from what was clearly a standout offensive season in the Appalachian League at the ages of 19/20. It was a strong and consistent campaign. His extra-base strength is evident by his 11 doubles and four triples to go with his seven home runs. He finished strongly, too. In his final 10 games with Johnson City, Peoples-Walls logged five multi-hit games.

Peoples-Walls was named a member of the rookie league's All-Star team and was the July Topps' Player of the Month for the circuit. The Los Angeles native was rewarded by the Cardinals with an end-of-season promotion to State College, from where he observed the New York-Penn League playoffs.

Yet, I cannot ignore the position change implemented by the Cardinals in instructional league this fall. Moving Peoples-Walls off shortstop and into the outfield has tempered my enthusiasm. It does not mean that he cannot continue to progress, but the bar has been raised a bit higher. For that reason, I placed Peoples-Walls at number 39 in the system.

I sense it would be a challenge for Peoples-Walls - the new outfielder - to make the Peoria club out of spring camp. It would not be a hindrance to his development if he begins the season in extended spring training instead. Whenever he reaches full-season ball, he can hopefully focus on his hitting, with his outfield play having become second nature by then.

For more: In October from instructs, Peoples-Walls spoke about his 2013 season, his position change and more. Click here for our exclusive interview.

Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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