The far left column of the table below is the aggregate ranking. To the right of the players' names are our individual votes. (Note that we each ranked well over 40 players to ensure the group's top 40 would be as representative as possible.) Next are the prior years' rankings of the players in the new 2014 Top 40 from 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007, where applicable.
* (Cm) represents the collaborative effort among a group of very knowledgeable Cardinals fans from our Message Board. That group actually went on to rank 60 players. Click here to see the entire community list and their reasoning behind each selection.
|NA=not in Cards org|
|red = YTY decline|
|yellow = YTY flat|
|grn = YTY improve|
I will finish this segment with a look at some of the most notable player changes in 2014 from the 2013 list.
The Cardinals' top two drafted players, both left-handed pitchers, are the highest of the newly-ranked players. In each of the last two years, the Cards' top draft pick entered the top 40 at number four. I have already written about why I placed Kaminsky slightly ahead of Gonzales, but to net it out, there is the potential of a higher ceiling (as well as a better chance of flaming out).
This time, it is another right-hander, Cory Jones, who makes his entry at 14. It would not be fair to expect Jones to replicate Maness' and Rosenthal's MLB success this soon. After all, Jones is still in A-ball. Organization Pitcher of the Year Zach Petrick stormed into the picture to capture of the number 16 spot after being passed over last winter.
(next: Stephen Piscotty - #12 to #4)
Oddly, last winter infielder Breyvic Valera made the exact same jump from number 39 to 19 as did lefty Tim Cooney this winter. I predict that Cooney will continue to earn his ranking in 2014, rather than slow as did Valera, however.
Several players made eight-spot improvements year-to-year, but outfielder Stephen Piscotty accomplished it where the pyramid is getting narrowest – moving into the top 10, and in fact joins the top four in the system.
I have to admit that last winter, I overreacted to one strong season from Garcia in the Appalachian League in 2012. While he still has the talent, the outfielder did not have consistent good health in 2013 and his results represented that. Maybe I have again overcompensated in the other direction by leaving Garcia off for 2014.
On the other hand, Rodriguez fell because he did not progress at the plate and went through a position change. He bounced back down to Palm Beach as he was moved off second base to a corner outfield spot, where his bat will have a tougher time playing. Rodriguez will likely be back at Springfield to open 2014.
Next up: This article series continues as we highlight the newest members of the top 40. Then, the voters highlight the players on our personal lists that did not make the 2014 consolidated top 40. We move next to our All-Prospect Team, the highest-ranked players at each position, dive into the numbers behind the top 40, take a look at our best and worst selections from 2013, the top prospects by level of play and finally those players that left the top 40 from last year to this.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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