2014 Cardinals top prospects - The departed

Members of our top 40 St. Louis Cardinals prospects in 2013 no longer on the list for 2014.

As we reach the conclusion, the 49th article in this year's top 40 St. Louis Cardinals prospect countdown, we will delve into why a group of players dropped off our top 40 Cardinals prospect list from last year to this.

After four top two placements, Shelby Miller is gone forever
Turnover was at a record high, as 19 players left our top 40. That compares to 18 the year prior and 14 two years ago. While there was not a big difference in the year-to-year total, not surprisingly, there was a major change in where the departed prospects went.

Of the 19, eight graduated to St. Louis, double the number from the year before. The impressive list includes Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, Matt Adams, Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Pete Kozma and Tyler Lyons. Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Matt Carpenter and Tony Cruz were the Cardinals that left the top 40 for the last time after 2012.

The other 11 that departed the 2013 top 40 did so in several ways, including being lost via free agency and waivers. None were traded, released or retired. The second-most, seven, simply dropped off the list due to performance. To be fair, it may not be a decline in their individual results as much as others doing even better.

The departing individuals are listed below with the reason for them leaving along with their top 40 rankings over the previous years, as applicable. As always, the color indicates year-to-year change.

Graduated (8) 13 12 11 10 09 08 07
Shelby Miller 2 1 1 2      
Trevor Rosenthal 3 12 NR NR      
Michael Wacha 4            
Matt Adams 7 9 33 38      
Seth Maness 14 NR NR        
Kevin Siegrist 22 NR NR NR NR NR  
Pete Kozma 29 35 17 14 12 16  
Tyler Lyons 35 NR NR NR      
Dropped off (7) 13 12 11 10 09 08 07
Anthony Garcia 9 22 29 NR      
Starlin Rodriguez 17 27 NR NR      
C.J. McElroy 31 36          
Dixon Llorens 33            
Adam Ehrlich 34 NR NR        
Colin Walsh 36 NR NR NR      
Victor DeLeon 37 NR NR NR NR    
Lost via waivers (3) 13 12 11 10 09 08 07
Ryan Jackson 15 13 34 35      
Eduardo Sanchez 26 7 4 6 NR NR NR
Maikel Cleto 28 14 NR        
Free agent (1) 13 12 11 10 09 08 07
Adron Chambers 23 17 15 29 NR NR  
Traded (0) 13 12 11 10 09 08 07
Released (0) 13 12 11 10 09 08 07
Retired (0) 13 12 11 10 09 08 07

Pete Kozma's MLB spot is shaky
Let's drill down a bit deeper into the 19 players that dropped off the top 40 to see if there is anything to learn.

Given the reputation of the organization having so many high-end pitching prospects, it is not surprising that six of the eight players that graduated from the 2013 top 40 are pitchers.

Of the eight graduates, it appears the six that were highest-ranked in last year's top 40 will be sticking in the majors. Only Pete Kozma and Tyler Lyons may have minor league time ahead.

After the eight promotions to the majors, 11 names follow. There seems nothing unusual in the positional distribution: four are pitchers, with one catcher, three infielders and three outfielders having left the list from the position player ranks.

Dropped off          
Gone Peak Lost momentum Peak Short-term Peak
Ryan Jackson StL Anthony Garcia PB Dixon Llorens Peo
Eduardo Sanchez StL Starlin Rodriguez Spr Adam Ehrlich Peo
Maikel Cleto StL C.J. McElroy Peo Colin Walsh Spr
Adron Chambers StL     Victor DeLeon SC

Starting at the left of the table, Note that four of the 11 players having left the top 40 and the organization had substantial trials in St. Louis first. Each seemed to have received a fair trial before being allowed to move on. At this point, none of them seem to have a clear major league future ahead elsewhere.

Rebound candidate Anthony Garcia
The center group, labeled "Lost momentum," had been on the top 40 for an average of three years. These players may have reached a career stall and it is unclear if they will be able to pull out of it. Anthony Garcia may have the best chance, while Starlin Rodriguez does not look as competitive as a corner outfielder. C.J. McElroy has yet to translate raw talent into consistent results.

The far right group of players, called "Short-term" in the table, were only on the top 40 prospect list for one year. All are young enough that they could work their way back on. Adam Ehrlich was slowed by injury, while Victor De Leon may still be adapting to his move to relief. Dixon Llorens has the numbers in A-ball, but also has a funky delivery. Colin Walsh was initially slow to take to Double-A.

Reminder: As always, our top 40 prospect lists from each of the last nine years can be accessed via links permanently displayed at the lower part of The Cardinal Nation homepage.

Our 2014 top 40 series concludes: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects and related articles, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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